ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-01-07

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    Luzerne County ARES® Digital Bulletin
    "We don't rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training."
    Archilochus - Greek Poet and Soldier

    "Success is not Final. Failure is not Fatal. The only thing that matters is the courage to carry on."
    Winston Churchill


    If you are an ARRL member and you have at least noticed what the ARRL Board is doing then here is the information you need to react to it.
    If you are not aware of what the ARRL Board is doing then it is time for you to get informed!


    • Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    • Luzerne County ARES® Announcements
    • Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    • Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    • Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    • Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 10/2/2017
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • Off and Running Into A New Year...
      • The New ARES process has started...
      • Go-Kits, Masts, and Antennas...
      • Lockout - Tagout...
      • Go-Kit Computer Update Procedure...
      • Talen Drill Comments...
      • Some Updates from OH8STN...
      • Information for 'Would Be' LCADN Net Controls...
    • EPA-ARRL Web site...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: January 7, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 180

    This Bulletin is for all Amateur Radio Operators in Luzerne County and any interested Amateur Radio Station anywhere.

    Note: A copy of this Bulletin is stored on the web site in .wav file format. This file can be replayed by Fldigi and Flamp to get the complete Bulletin.

    Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    Current Versions of Fldigi Suite
    Fldigi Flmsg Flamp
    4.0.13 4.0.3 2.2.03
    Current as of: January 7, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.

    Latest versions available at
    Luzerne County ARES® Announcements
    - Important: The Sunday Night Bulletin is required reading for all LCARES Members.

    Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    The Rotation Schedule for the LCARES Voice net has been posted on the Last update: December 26, 2017

    K3NDB & WB3FKP are temporarily out of the NCS rotation. Please be sure to review the NCS schedule before the upcoming nets.

    Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    (These will be read by the Alternate NCS during the regular weekly session of the LCARES Voice Net.)

    * - indicates that announcement should not be read on the LCARES Net.

    1. N3SRO is looking for shack photos for posting to the LCARES Facebook page. Send your photos to
    2. Fldigi was updated on December 28th. All Fldigi users should update as soon as possible.
    3. We have had some good news. AB3ZI and K3IK have volunteered to try the NCS slots. AB3ZI will be the first up on January 23rd.
    4. The January Monthly Message Challenge is active. WB3FKP was the first one to send a message.
    5. Training topics for the LCARES net are being solicited by the EC. If you have a topic to want to see in the training send a radiogram to the EC or, if you must, an email.
    6. If you have any LCARES/LCEMA equipment please send an email to the EC listing the equipment and the county asset number (if available). Include a general statement of condition in the email. This should be to the EC no later than January 31st.
    7. Reminder - January 9th and 16th - No TM@EOC. Breakfast meeting at the Grill on the 9th. The 16th will have an on the air 10 meter test session. Details to follow.
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 10/2/2017
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses...

    Sunday Night Bulletin for December 31, 2017 Responses
    First Response
    Rich, KC3FKW
    Second Response
    Bob, KB3VS
    Third Response
    Ian, K3IK
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 6
    Weekly Images
    By Stephen Glauser
    uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Teinesavaii - originally posted to Flickr as Samoa 2009 067, CC BY-SA 2.0,

    Samoa will be the first country in the world to experience 2019! It will be 5:00AM here when it happens.

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Off and Running Into A New Year...
    - Here we are. The first Sunday of the New Year. All the successes of 2017 are in the past and the 'oops' are right there with them. We've got a clean slate to work with and I think we'll have some fun. Maybe a few frustrations along the way but that goes with the territory. We can just grin and bear it when it comes to the frustrations. So lets have some fun while we do it.

    The New ARES process has started...
    - I received a note from Steve Ewald, WV1X, at the ARRL today. The new process for the ARRL ARES has started with all the ECs and DECs registering for a Group ID. Looking at the letter I can say that from the top down this makes sense and probably should have been done a long time ago. It probably would have been but the technology to keep track of it just was not available when I first became the EC.

    The letter points out a good example of why the Group ID is needed. "Montgomery County Amateur Radio Emergency Service" relates to 3 different entities. The one in EPA headed by Tom Nolan, W3EX, and others in Texas and Ohio. As far as I can tell we're the only Luzerne County ARES organization. I guess that makes us unique in some respects.

    I completed the form as soon as it arrived and the process was quite easy. Then I put on my SEC hat and sent it on to the DECs and ECs in EPA. It was a little extra work but it was nice that the ARRL included the Section Emergency Coordinators in the process.

    BTW, the entire operation is being called 'ARES Connect' and the idea is to give both the League and the Field Staff a method of managing our organization's membership (I won't miss the spreadsheets) for logistics, event staffing, and reporting. You'll get a chance to register yourselves once the system is up and running. This should be sometime later in 2018.

    The system will be run in "test mode" for 2018 (which means we can make the same mistakes the old way and the new way) and go live in 2019. The concept is great and I hope the execution is just as great.

    The only thing that is different about this is that it is pretty much the only path that will be available. The ECs will have to use it to report to the DECs, the DECs will have to use it to report to the SECs. That means that the members will have to be on-board with it as well.

    The paper registrations for ARES will go by the way. Remember, as I have pointed out many times, ARES is owned by the ARRL and they call the tune. However, that does not mean our "added value" requirements will go by the way side. The registration as "EMA Volunteers" will still be part of the process.

    The ARES members, or want to be members, will register with ARES Connect online. The registration request goes to the EC for approval. And that is it. Well, I might be oversimplifying things here but I am hoping that is what we'll get.

    One of the benefits will be called "event staffing". Lets use the Talen Exercise as an example. The EC will create an "event" in ARES Connect and announce it to the membership. That allows the members to enter their availability for the event so that the EC knows who he has as communicators. Again, I can lose the spreadsheets.

    I have seen these types of web sites before and W3TMB has used a web site that does just this for the Ultra Marathon. I really think that it is pretty convenient.

    I know this might cost us ARES members. Some people don't like to be 'registered' for anything. Others will say that they are not computer literate enough to do it. We'll just have to wait and see.

    Go-Kits, Masts, and Antennas...
    - The attachment of the Diamond X-31 Antenna and the MFJ Tripod to the Go-Kit bag leave a lot to be desired. I have mulled it over and could not come up with a better solution so I left it in K3NDB's capable hands. Did not take him long to figure out a solution. The stuff is from McMaster Carr and we'll be acquiring some of them for the Go-Kits shortly. K3NDB's experience pays dividends again.

    The retainer will be bolted to the bag (2 of them) and then the hook and loop material fed through it to secure the antenna to the Go-Kit. This will allow for spreading the attachment points out to both ends of the satchel and hopefully make the load balance out for easier carrying.

    Lockout - Tagout...
    - I am sure that many of you in your careers have been exposed to the "Lockout - Tagout" safety system. For those that have not here is a short explanation:

    Lockout-tagout (LOTO) or lock and tag is a safety procedure which is used in industry and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work.

    The short of it is when ever someone is maintaining or working on a piece of equipment that equipment's power are locked out and tagged by the person working the machinery. The only person who can remove the LOTO is the person who put it in place for safety reasons.

    We really don't need LOTO but this past TM@EOC I had to remove a computer power supply from one of the Go-Kits so I could clean up K3IK's laptop. That really put that Go-Kit out of service as far as being ready for anything. That lead to a discussion and KB3VS came up with a good idea. Use the Lockout-Tagout system on the Go-Kits. Everyone thought that is a good idea. The Go-Kit may still be usable for some functions but if the person grabbing it doesn't know that something is missing it could be a problem. The red LOTO tag will alert folks that the Go-Kit is not in a completely ready state. Simple and effective. Thanks to KB3VS for the idea and K3NDB for supplying the LOTO tags.

    This is also a good reason for having all the equipment in each Go-Kit identified with the Go-Kit number. That way replaced equipment gets back to the right Go-Kit. If you find something in the Go-Kit that does not have an identifying number please get the P-Touch from Dave Elmore, KC3IMJ, and label it. If something shows up in the wrong Go-Kit try to get it back to the right Go-Kit before you leave it.

    Go-Kit Computer Update Procedure...
    - The laptops in the Go-Kits have had the new Update Fldigi scripts installed. The procedure in the Guidelines and Procedures Manual will be written to accommodate the new process. If you have not seen the new procedure please ask the EC or KB3FVF how it works before starting. The old procedure will not work any more. The new procedure is easier and more streamlined than the old way. It also allows the person doing the update to start it and then go work on other things like checking the batteries. That means things get done faster and we can have more time to play. A click on the icon, press enter, check the versions of the fldigi programs, save the file, close the editor, and that is it.

    Talen Drill Comments...
    - Its that year when the Talen Drill happens in October. I have updated the Activities Schedule with all the good stuff so everyone knows when it is going to happen. Just for the record here are the dates for Practice Drill and for the Live Drill.

    Thursday, September 6, 2018 17:00 21:00 Talen Drill – Practice Exercise This is a full scale practice drill for the October Evaluated Drill

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018 17:00 21:00 Talen Drill –Full Scale Federally Evaluated Drill Full Scale Drill
    Maximum Effort Required
    This is the reason for our training

    The first Drill is a practice drill and it works the same way as the September 2017 Drill. The October Drill is the full scale operational test andthat means we'll have the luxury of having the FEMA, NRC, and PEMA evaluators running around watching what is going on.

    There are things that need to be ironed out such as the arrival time at the Municipal EOCs. Look I get tired typing out Municipal EOC all the time. From now on it is MEOC to distinguish it from the County EOC which will be just EOC.

    Last time around we found out that we were supposed to "stage" which means get close but not quite at the MEOC until the drill left the Unusual Event stage.

    There is a "Why" for doing this. In the RERP (Radiological Emergency Response Plan) each type of incident has a measured response. At 'Unusual Event' nothing is happening that needs LCARES and the full title of an 'Unusual Event' is "Notification of Unusual Event".

    The RERP details when the response is geared up and we have to move which is usually the 'Alert' Stage.

    The complete 'Emergency Classification' list is available from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) web site.

    I have the list and I'll be working on making up a complete order of when, where, who, and what. If I can figure out 'how' I'll be sure to add that. I want to make this as easy for all the LCARES members as I can. I know that there will be bumps in the road that I don't foresee but I a depending on the LCARES members to be versatile, flexible, and resourceful enough to overcome them.

    The Fldigi issue needs the most work. I will start with KC3HLT to start acquiring the laptops as quickly as I can. The process for the laptop users will be as simplified as we can make it. All the communicators should have to do is:

    1. Connect the power supply.
    2. Connect the USB microphone.
    3. Turn on the laptop.
    4. Get their radio in place and ready.
    5. Call and check in with the County EOC.
    The laptops should be ready to go at that point and when they hear the MT63-2KL signal they should start copying it. I hope. Those who are experienced with the Go-Kits should be ready to set up their Go-Kit and get it operational. We'll be working on that in the upcoming months. I would like to say that the communicators at the MEOCs can do the process in their sleep. I have high hopes.

    Those folks who are not the more active people will need to have some training. That means some nights at the EOC and probably some Saturdays. The training will not contain any fluff or deviate from the primary goal of copying the message using Fldigi. The fun stuff will have to be delayed until October 17th.

    If we have the laptops I hope to visit each of the MEOCs and if there is a network printer available configure it into the LCARES laptop. The Laptop will then be earmarked for that particular MEOC. That way the communicator should have automatic access to the printer when the laptop powers up. That is a hopeful cure for the printer issue.

    In August I envision 2 sessions at the EOC to train any volunteers who come on board. I think 2 hours should be sufficient for each session. This includes all of the regular members of the LCARES. This is really a "put up or shut up" time for Amateurs.

    Remember, if we don't pull this off successfully and have enough people to man all the MEOCs we have, in essence, failed.

    Some Updates from OH8STN...
    Julian has been at it but I have been a little busy to list them.

    First an update on the Solar Powered Field Station version 01.

    The SuperAntenna MP1 is an antenna that some of us own. I know that K3NDB has one and likes it. Julian goes through setting up the antenna for MARS and Civil Air Patrol (CAP). I know that we have MARS members but I don't know of any CAP members. Still and all it is a good video about the SuperAntenna.

    Julian had a posting on testing batteries to insure that they were giving you what you expect. Here is the link to the post:

    This last one is a "perfect example" of Off-Grid & Field Radio Operator. That is according to Julian.

    Oh Julian! - This one hits the nail right on the head for me! The "Love-Hate" Relationship with FT-8! Julian echos my thoughts exactly!

    Information for 'Would Be' LCADN Net Controls...
    - After doing this I fully realize that I need a script, a better voice, and practice. I am by no means a radio announcer. It is true. I have a face for radio and a voice for print. But I did promise to attempt this so I did. It does get the information across if you can stay awake while it plays. The is now a video on how to do the logging for the LCADN using the logging functions of Fldigi. It was easier for me to do than to explain.

    The video has been uploaded to the web site. It is located under the ARES Manuals and Reference Information. Take a view or a look. What ever works for you.

    There is one thing that I forgot to mention that you might need to configure in Fldigi. I think it is a default setting for contesting. If you have to double click to capture the call then go to configure-->Miscellaneous-->Misc and find the "contesting" tab. At the bottom there is a checkbox for "capture call with single click." Just enable it.

    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
    Luzerne County ARES Facebook Page <-- New
    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. Total prep time for this bulletin - 5 hours.
    wedgar likes this.
  2. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Good article on the new ARES process.

    Members should share their thoughts, if any, on what the ARRL Board has on its agenda...
  3. W.T. Jones

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

    Well, it seems the my arrl voice facebook page is burning up.

    I had to interrupt getting my SEC report in several times to explain what I THINK the Board is doing.

    It is a heavy responsibility when a member writes "I am confused about all of this but I'll trust you to tell me what I should do."

    I can't tell them what to do. I can only tell them what I think and try not to persuade or direct them. It is more important that they get the facts and make their own decision.

    Too many ARRL members have listened to what they should do and not decided what is the best for them.

    And too many have done nothing at all for too long.
  4. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    It is important for members to learn about the organization and to share their views with leadership.

    I believe that a majority of the board members have lost touch with their members -or- don't care what their members think.

    In the long run, I think it is detrimental to the organization because members will leave and find something else.
  5. W.T. Jones

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

    That quote contains two sad facts....

    Members will leave and with them goes any hope of changing the ARRL.

    And find something else is equally sad because there is nothing else with the history and standing that the ARRL has.

    Destruction of the League because of the selfish purposes of some of the Directors will push Amateur Radio back to its status it had at the 1932 Radio Conference.
  6. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    If the board doesn't keep the members in mind with their actions, someone will need to turn the lights out.

    I suspect Hiram Percy Maxim would be spinning in his grave.

    If not long before 1932's Radio Conference.

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