ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-09-10

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

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    Not "Patriots' Day" - Remember 9/11

    An ARRL ARES® Communicator's Comments
    September 7th SSES Practice Drill (Follow-up and the form!)...
    - This has been one trying week. Up to Thursday night that is. It kind of went downhill today for a little while but Thursday night was one of those YAHOO! moments for me. The good LCARES members stepped up and made my "hoped for" idea come through to fruitition. The "proof of concept" went right by a successful proof to a "we want more" response from many of the EMCs. And I have all of you who put up with my urging, nagging, testing, pushing, talking, preaching, and went out to the municipalities and made it happen.

    - K3DBG, stationed at Shickshinny, had the Talen Evaluator ask to see "this digital stuff that the Hams are doing." Brian Black, from Luzerne County 911, said this it was simply amazing technology. Well, it is. And, in my opinion, the people operating the radios are simply amazing as well.

    - Aside from the great Fldigi success there were other successes. N1ZZZ performed as the entire ESF-2 operation at his location. N1ZZZ sent in his report and I am going to forward it on to Ron Remski and Pat Gilligan at Talen. They need to see what we are capable of doing. It is all Incident Command System folks!

    - I think the funniest thing was the fact that we had gotten the "incorrect" emergency notification report out so fast that it surprised the Operations Table staff. And the fact that we did it digitally and did it by voice was just surprising every one.

    - We caught errors that no one else noticed too. At least 2 were reported back to Ron R. during the drill. I didn't revel in saying "you're wrong" and I did it on the side when no one else could hear what we were talking about. I think Ron appreciated that diplomatic approach.

    - Here is the outgoing log from the Fldigi computer in the EOC...

    enr01.k2s 2211
    enr01.k2s 2211
    enr01.k2s 2213
    ENR02.k2s 2247
    ENR02.k2s 2249
    fu01.k2s 2300
    fu01.k2s 2302
    WN3LIF-29.213 2309
    WN3LIF-30.213 2318
    WN3LIF-30.213 2320
    fu02.k2s 2326
    fu03.k2s 2346
    ENR03.k2s 0009
    ENR04.k2s 0018
    WN3LIF-35.213 0030
    WN3LIF-35.213 0032
    ENR05.k2s 0055

    The time is UTC so don't get flustered.
    - The time to send the messages was usually less than 1 minute. There was one message that I did not send in full and that was the governor's proclamation. That was a mistake. I reverted back to the "voice mode" mentality and said "that's too long!" Well, I just logged into Knowledge Center and brought up the Proclamation. Ctrl A to select all the text, Ctrl C to copy, select the blank form in Flmsg, Ctrl V to paste it. Flmsg says that using MT63-2KL it would take 2 minutes and 30 seconds to send the ENTIRE PROCLAMATION! Dang! (Actually I said something else but this is a family oriented bulletin.) So even the messages we used to have to paraphrase could have been sent in less than 3 minutes.

    - I would be very remiss here if I did not recognize those stations who operated on Voice during the SSES Drill. KA3EEO, the Voice of W3LUZ, and K3TOW, the fellow who manages to be of help all time, did a fantastic job on the EOC side. I listened to those requesting fills over the radio and the procedures were great! K2PG did is normal superb job. The "Lowest Common Denominator" is the operator and his radio. Nothing more and nothing less. It will always be the fallback for every emergency operation. Every U.S. Marine is a rifleman and every Amateur Radio Operator needs to be a traffic handler.

    - I am still receiving reports from the LCARES operators. I'll be putting them together next week. Friday I crashed and took time out to attend a memorial service for my Aunt. Saturday I got the chance to be a match director again for our local IDPA match. So I herded 31 shooters through 6 scenarios of shooting fun. And in the process took a tumble. Not while shooting but while carrying a target stick (4 foot 1x2 board) up the ramp into the storage trailer. No damage but I am going to be stiff tomorrow. So the final summation will come some time next week.

    - Last word for this for now. There was nothing done wrong and as far as I can see what we did we did absolutely right. There are only two things that we have to think about. First, we really need to increase our numbers. There are 18 locations and we need a minimum of 18 operators. Second, some of our procedures need to be ironed out to be inline with Emergency Support Function 2. Our logging of messages and streamlining of our voice procedures are two of the prominent ones. I am sure we'll see a few more when we get into the reports but the goal of making Fldigi the way to send the messages was a complete success thanks to you folks. I can't say it enough.


    The Post Bulletin Transimission...
    - The Post Bulletin Transmission (PBT) will be significantly trimmed going forward. It has become rather bloated over the past months. The idea is good as suggested by K3IK but the PBT as it is has served its usefulness as a training and testing vehicle. The PBT will send one Flmsg using a different form each week for example purposes. A file transmission will be scheduled whenever the CUSTOM files change. Those transmissons will happen BEFORE the SNB transmission.

    The Radiological Energency Notification Report (RENR) and the Follow-up Notification Report worked for the drill but our operator, KB3TZD, in Salem Township noticed some incompatibilties in the HTML. I have sent the files to W1HKJ to test and in the mean time I have started the process of cleaning up the HTML in the files. To be very honest about this - they were done from the MS Word files used by Talen and they contained a lot of things that were not needed. The RENR has already been cut from 45Kb to 39Kb and I only spent time removing style entries that were not needed. So when new versions are ready I will send them out using a file transfer Flmsg BEFORE the SNB and follow the SNB with a test message.

    Message Sending by our Friends at Luzerne County 911...
    There was a very marked improvement in the voice message sending by the Luzerne County 911 Dispatchers during the drill. A quick listen on an HT while they were sending was a rewarding experience. Slow steady "writing speed" cadence and very clear speaking voice was being used. I don't know who was doing it but they deserve a pat on the back for a really good job. A very good job by our friends at 911.

    PA Squad 1...
    - At the Drill on Thursday Night I spoke with Martin Berry from PA Squad 1. First words out of his mouth were "when are we going to get together?" So I am scheduled to talk to the PA Squad 1 group at the end of October (I hope it is not on Halloween Night!) to explain what we are able to do. My friend, Joe Novak, said that Ham Radio is really needed since what they have now is not working. When the meeting is scheduled I will invite any of you who wants to come along to do so. The more the merrier.

    Training Meeting...
    There is a training meeting on September 12 at 1:00PM at the EOC. I will be attending the meeting.

    If there is any training you are interested in for the upcoming year please let me know so I can suggest it at the meeting.

    Irma Update....
    [​IMG] - Hurricane Irma as of today will not be a threat to us. We may get some rain out of it but it is going Northwest. It will be over land after it leaves Florida which means it will lose its "food source" and slowly lose strength. That does not mean that we let our guard down. It just means that the chances are greating diminished that there will be any problems.
    Click on the image for a larger view.

    Patriot Day...
    - Beware the mistake I almost made. It is not "Partriots' Day" but just "Patriot Day" which also called "National Day of Remembrance". And like everything else there are many "National Days of Remembrance" listed. Since Mark Wahlberg's movie came out it has been difficult to find the real Patriot Day images. I am not knocking Mark Wahlberg's movie and I happen to think it is great especially since they added John Goodman to it. I happen to like John Goodman as an actor but not for his politics.

    The question has been "where were you on 9/11?" I know where I was and thankfully it was not where I was scheduled to be which was Tower 7. But 9/11 is fast overtaking "Remember Pearl Harbor" as a reminder of American Patriotism. By that I mean it is being forgotten. I guess that is just the way Americans are today.

    Beware the Barracuda Triathlon...
    - We've had some volunteers for the September 16th and 17th. I'll be there. K3DBG, KC3FKW, KC3BXS, and K3NDB will be there on Sunday to play NCS. He is not allowed to drive but he wants in so I'll go get him. I need more people. I know this isn't in our back yard like all the others but it is in Luzerne County. Lets get with it folks. Two more of you are needed to help out.

    This is a two day event. The Saturday portion is the monitoring the young cyclists over their course. You want a smile? Then this is fun because you'll see all the tyke bikes out in force.

    Sunday is the big boys and girls portion. High speed cycling at its best.

    I'll be sending out the details to those who volunteered so far. I need more. At least 3 more but more would be welcome. It is an easy day but an early start. We'll be done well before noon if last year is any indication. I will need a net control station at the beach area and a person to follow Susan, the announcer, around with an ear bud so the person can hear what is going on. More details will follow up I really need to drum up the people right now.

    The BTB will be our last public service event for the year. Lets make it a good showing at it.

    (LCARES Challenge - True or False - long wordy explanations are the best thing to say on the air during an emergency? email your answer to

    EPA-ARRL Web site...
    - If you have not done it yet then what are you waiting for? Get to the EPA-ARRL web site and either submit your email address or like it on Facebook. It is the place to get the information and news about the EPA Section.

    Ham Radio Links
    N3LLR's Ham Radio Forum
    ARRL Eastern PA Section Web Site
    Luzerne County ARES®
    Harris County Texas ARES® - A great training resource
    Lake County (OH) RACES Personal Go-Kit for Emergency Operations - KE7LHR
    MecklenBurg County ARES® and RACES
    K0BG - The Website for Mobile Amateur Radio Operators (Perhaps the best web site on mobile operations I have found!)
    Origins of Ham Speak - Fact, Legends, and Myths??? - Compiled by AC6V from the Internet and other unreliable sources
    The Petite Prepper
    The VOA Radiogram
    Thank you for copying our weekly digital information Bulletin to all Amateur Radio Operators.

    Send reception reports and comments to

    Have a good week everyone!


    ARRL EPA Section Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL EPA District 3 District Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL ARES® Emergency Coordinator
    Luzerne County ARES®
    ARES and "Amateur Radio Emergency Services" are registered service marks owned by the American Radio Relay League, The National Association of Amateur Radio. Use of these service marks is by permission only.
  2. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Sounds like the drill went well with some things learned...
  3. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

    More to follow this Sunday....
  4. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Ok... patiently waiting. .. :cautious:
  5. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

    It is up! The 9/17 bulletin.
    wedgar likes this.

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