Puerto Rico Disaster Reports, Oct. 16, 2017

Puerto Rico continues to struggle following the recent hurricanes.

Here is a link, to an ARRL report on ham radio operators sent down to assist with communications. Note the references to generator fires, generator failures, hospital evacuations, and shortages of food, fuel and water.

This week, the team relayed a request for Culebra Hospital, which reported that a generator fire had forced relocation to a nearby clinic. In addition, volunteers relayed a request from Culebra Hospital that it needs temporary housing from FEMA for necessary staff members who lost their homes in the hurricane. The team also relayed a message for Hima San Pablo Hospital in Fajardo, which needed specialized IV fluids for a 4-day-old infant.

Rob Landon, KE8AMC, stationed at the hospital on Vieques, learned from the hospital administrator that they needed to evacuate dialysis patients, who require air conditioning that the hospital is unable to provide. “We made their day,” said Hotzfeld. “They were not aware of our presence and were impressed with our communications capabilities.”

Val Hotzfeld, NV9L (left), and ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U.

An Amateur Radio operator has been assigned at Centro Medico (Medical Central) to provide communication between the center and other hospitals. “This happened just in time, because the Menonita (Mennonite) Hospital in Caguas had both generators fail,” Hotzfeld said. The emergency room doctor at Medical Central and the ham embedded there, Juan Trujillo, N0PSF, coordinated with Dennis Perez, WP4Q, at the Mennonite Hospital in Caguas to transfer four critical patients to the Mennonite Hospital in Cayey.

Volunteers at the EOC relayed a request from Guayana Hospital for snacks, water, and a generator. Their second generator was reported to be about to fail. They also relayed requests from hospitals for fuel and water, and they provided communication for fire departments contacting the EOC.

Brushbeater blog posted a short Reflections on Puerto Rico, discussing communications preparations in light of lessons from Puerto Rico.

So upon reading this, a serious skill assessment should be in order. If you’re the communicator in your group:

  • Can you rig your own wire antennas?
  • Do you have the rough calculations to make them resonant?
  • Do you have the current consumption of your various radios written down and a way to monitor it?
  • How long can you operate battery-only?
  • Do you have enough spare equipment to keep your station up if Murphy happens?
  • Do you have a working knowledge of different propagation modes (such as why NVIS does what it does)

But most important- how many people can also do what you do in your group?

Four deaths and ten suspected of infection are being investigated as possible cases of leptospirosis, a disease spread by animal urine, possibly from drinking contaminated stream water.

Meanwhile some desperate Puerto Ricans are reported to be drinking possibly toxic water from superfund cleanup sites. 34% of Puerto Ricans are still without access to fresh drinking water.

Rotting garbage may be the next health crisis there.

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria ransacked this island leaving at least 44 dead, Jose Vargas surveyed street after street lined with mounds of soaking garbage mixed with mud, trees and sometimes dead animals.

You couldn’t make a better breeding ground for rats, roaches and all sorts of nasty diseases, the public health volunteer said. And every day the fetid piles stay there, the risk of an epidemic grows.

“We’re already building the next disaster,” he warned.

ARRL: Radio Amateur on St. Lucia Relays Hurricane Reports

From ARRL.org, Radio Amateur on St. Lucia Relays Reports of Hurricane Devastation on Dominica, a reminder of the usefulness of alternative communications methods during a disaster:

As “potentially catastrophic Hurricane Maria” is headed for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Frans van Santbrink, J69DS, on St. Lucia checked into the VoIP Hurricane Net to relay damage reports he gathered via repeater conversations with hams on Dominica, which was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria.

He recounted a damage report from Kerry Fevrier, J69YH, in Roseau, Dominica. “Trees down, river has flooded half the village, cars are all over, most houses have lost their roofs or are destroyed, the area between his house and the church is just flattened…in his words, ‘devastation is total,’” van Santbrink told the net.

He also heard from J73CI, who has lost his roof; J73WA on the northern end of the island, who lost his tower and was uncertain how he was going to weather the back end of the storm, and J73MH, who also lost his roof and was “just hunkering down and hoping for the best.”

Click here to read the entire article

ARRL: Emergency Net Active in Wake of Central Mexico Earthquake 9/20/17

From arrl.org, Amateur Radio Emergency Net Active in Wake of Earthquake in Central Mexico.

The FMRE National Emergency Net has activated on 7.060 MHz following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the central Mexico state of Puebla at 1814 UTC on Tuesday. The net also uses 3.690 MHz and 14.120 MHz as well as IRLP reflector 9200, channel 08.

The epicenter was some 75 miles southeast of Mexico City, which felt the temblor. Preliminary reports indicate a lot of collapsed buildings and missing people.

The FMRE net has been handling traffic to make up for the loss of some cellular networks, FMRE President Al Tomez, XE2O, told ARRL. The earthquake came 32 years to the day after a 1985 magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the Mexico City, killing some 9,500 people in and around the capital city.

Just one week ago, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off Mexico’s southern coast, killing more than 60 people and causing considerable damage.

Mason Dixon Tactical: Fair Is Fair – Helping Your Community Is Job One

From the Mason Dixon Tactical blog, comes this article Fair Is Fair in which the authors lauds community groups (whether they call themselves a militia, a navy (Cajun navy), a brigade (Monster Truck Brigade) that have turned up to help out in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. While he has ridiculed such militia groups in the past, he points out that community support is the real reason such groups should exist. So they better be training for such roles.

Over the last week, we have seen people in Texas, the surrounding states and even other states in the U.S. come together and kick ass to help those who needed it the most. Whether they call themselves the “Cajun Navy”, the “Monster Truck Brigade”, or “Militia” (I don’t know if any group involved in these actual rescue operations called themselves “militia”, but the “militias” out there should take notice of what these guys did and apply it to what they train for), it doesn’t matter, because their deeds have spoken for them.

Fair is Fair post2

If you call yourself a “Militia”, but all you do is play war games in your multicams and plate carriers, you are missing the big picture. You guys actually being able to operate as an effective, offensive military force is slim and none (I’m not talkin’ about your ability to protect your group). Operating as an effective rescue and logistics support group however, is well within your abilities, and has been demonstrated a number of times over the last week.

Fair is Fair post4

Does your group have , or have access to buildings/areas to house victims of a natural disaster? Do you have the means to give them basic bedding while they are in that housing area? What about sanitation?

I have had a number of less than complimentary things to say about a large portion of the people out there that are calling themselves “militia” these days, but in this instance, fair is fair. There are groups that have stepped up in a big way to help with everything that is going on in Texas. Whether they call themselves “militia” or not, they are performing a function that should be the primary focus of those groups that use that title, because the bottom line is that they’re supposed to be there for their community, right?

Continue reading the article by clicking here

ARRL: Emergency Net Activated for Mexico Earthquake. 9/8/2017

From the American Radio Relay League, Emergency Net Activated in Wake of Earthquake in Mexico:

The National Emergency Net of the FMRE — Mexico’s national Amateur Radio association, has activated on 7.060 MHz (the Net also may operate on 3.690 MHz) to handle any emergency traffic after a late evening earthquake occurred off Mexico’s coast. Radio amateurs not involved in the earthquake disaster should avoid those frequencies.

The potent magnitude 8.2 earthquake off Mexico’s Pacific Coast — the strongest in 100 years — has resulted in multiple fatalities so far, including 23 in Oaxaca, seven in Chiapas, and 2 in Tabasco. Rescue and recovery efforts are under way to free victims trapped in the rubble.

The tremor was felt around Central America. At 0500 UTC, Jose Arturo Molina, YS1MS, reported feeling a strong temblor within a few minutes of the earthquake in Chiapas, which is near Mexico’s border with Guatemala. In Honduras, Antonio Handal, HR2DX, located on the North Coast, also reported feeling the quake.

The Central American Network operates at 7.090 kHz, and Guatemala at 7.075 MHz. No reports have been heard yet from Guatemalan radio amateurs. In Southeastern Mexico, FMRE has a link to the WL2K Network with capacity to cover Mexico and Central America. — Thanks to IARU Region 2 Coordinator Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, for some information

ARRL: Amateur Radio Preparations Ramp Up for Hurricane Irma

 

From the American Radio Relay League, Amateur Radio Preparations Ramp Up as Irma Strengthens to Category 5:

Hurricane Irma, making its way through the Caribbean with the possibility of affecting South Florida by week’s end, has, in the words of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), become “an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane.” The NHC urged that hurricane preparations be rushed to completion in areas now under hurricane warnings…

The HWN will activate at 1800 UTC (2 PM EDT) on its primary frequency of 14.325 MHz and will remain in continuous operation until further notice, Graves said. Daytime operation will begin at 1100 UTC each day continuing for as long as propagation allows. Operation on 7.268 MHz will start at 2200 UTC and continue overnight. “If propagation dictates, we will operate both frequencies at the same time,” Graves said. The HWN marks its 52nd anniversary this week.

He noted that HWN operation on 7.268 MHz will pause at 1130 UTC, and, if required, resume at approximately 1230 UTC, to allow the Waterway Net to conducts its daily net…

IARU Region 2 Emergency Coordinator Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, has compiled a list of emergency frequencies, subject to change, for use in the Caribbean in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

  • Puerto Rico: 3.803, 3.808, 7.188 MHz. Radio amateurs in Puerto Rico also will cooperate with the HWN on 7.268 and 14.325 MHz.
  • Cuba: Daylight hours, 7.110 MHz (primary) and 7.120 MHz (secondary); Provincial Net — 7.045, 7.080 MHz, and on other lower frequencies as necessary. Nighttime, 3.740 MHz (primary) and 3.720 MHz (secondary) and on other lower frequencies as necessary.
  • Dominican Republic: 3.873 MHz (primary), 3.815 MHz (secondary), 7.182 MHz (primary), 7.255 MHz (secondary); 14.330 MHz (primary), 21.360 MHz (primary), 28.330 MHz (primary).
  • Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN): 3.815 MHz and 7.162 MHz (when necessary). NOTE: Net will activate continuously starting this evening until the hurricane has passed through…

The FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) reminded licensees this week that FCC rules address operation during emergencies. “These rules allow licensees to provide emergency communications during a period of emergency in a manner or configuration not specified in the station authorization or in the rules governing such stations,” the FCC said.

Read the whole article by clicking here

Hurricane Harvey: Whole Community Response

From The Christian Science Monitor, In all-hands-on-deck response to Harvey, lessons learned from earlier storms:, discussing the hybrid government/community/individual response to the disaster in Texas.

Ahead of the storm, there were questions about whether Texas-style self-reliance or a centralized, civil-defense-era response from the federal government should govern. But as an all-hands-on-deck response to historic floods has unfolded, the all-of-the-above support exemplifies something new, disaster experts say: a template for what the nation’s top emergency managers call “whole-community” response. It’s a dramatic shift since hurricane Katrina in how the United States prepares for natural disasters, encompassing everything from agency leadership in Washington to Mr. Sherrod and his sturdy compatriots from East Texas.

“I do think we’ve seen a change,” says University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, author of “An Army of Davids,” in an email. “But the real difference isn’t citizens getting involved, it’s the willingness of responsible officials to see that involvement as a plus rather than a potential problem. I think the excellent record of civilian volunteer responders in the post-9/11 record is behind that willingness.”…

During Katrina, some rescuers literally had to sneak into the city to help. In Houston, the Cajun Navy has been part of a massive volunteer response, encouraged by officials. Twelve thousand National Guardsman also are being deployed, the government announced Monday.

The Cajun Navy represents both literally and figuratively the importance of neighborhood social networks – what researchers call “social capital” – that has become increasingly part of national response to disaster.

Click here to read the full article

Amateur Radio Prepares for Hurricane Harvey

From the ARRL, Array of Amateur Radio Resources Readying for Hurricane Harvey Response:

Amateur Radio resources are marshaling to assist in the response to Hurricane Harvey, which is expected to make landfall along the Texas coast on Friday (August 25) as a Category 3 storm. It would be the first storm to hit the US coast in more than a decade. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) already has swung into action, as the storm, which bears the threat not only of high winds but extensive and life-threatening storm surge flooding. Nearly 3 feet of rain could fall, if, as predicted, Harvey stalls along the Texas shoreline. ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said he and his staff are keeping close watch on Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Watch Net

The Hurricane Watch Net activated on August 24 at 1500 UTC on 14.325 MHz, subsequently shifting to 7.268 MHz at 2300 UTC. The net planned to operate overnight and will resume daytime operation on 14.325 MHz at 1200 UTC. “Should band conditions dictate, we will operate both frequencies simultaneously,” Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said.

Click here to read the entire story

Click here for ARRL Texas incident plans for Hurricane Harvey, including HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies. There are many frequencies in the plan.

Related:

Harvey Regains Strength, Hurricane Watch Net Plans to Activate

National Hurricane Center – Harvey

Weather.com – Hurricane Harvey

No Guilty Verdicts in Bundy Ranch Trial

From AZCentral, Bundy Ranch standoff trial ends with zero guilty verdicts

 A federal jury in Las Vegas did not return any guilty verdicts Tuesday against four men accused of taking up arms against federal agents during the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014.

Jurors dealt government prosecutors a stinging defeat in the case when, after four days of deliberations, they returned not-guilty verdicts on the most serious charges and deadlocked on a handful of others.

Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma and Steven Stewart of Idaho were acquitted on all counts and walked out of court Tuesday night free after spending more than a year in prison…

Two other defendants, Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler, both of Idaho, were acquitted on the most serious charges of conspiracy and extortion, but jurors failed to reach unanimous verdicts on weapons and assault charges…

This marks the second time a jury failed to convict the defendants on charges related to the standoff…

A jury in April deadlocked on charges against the four men. It convicted two other defendants on multiple counts. But it could not agree on conspiracy charges — a key component of the government’s case — against any of the six.

The government launched its second prosecution last month. The case climaxed Aug. 11 when Navarro abruptly ended court by ordering Parker off the stand and striking his testimony from the record as jurors watched.

The defendant was attempting to tell jurors what he saw during the standoff over a barrage of objections from prosecutors. Navarro ruled Parker violated court orders by discussing prohibited topics. Parker returned to the defense table and started crying while Navarro dismissed the jurors.

Marchese said jurors told him Tuesday the incident was a factor in their verdicts.

“That weighed heavily in their decision,” Marchese said. “They wanted to hear him speak. It was very bothersome to them. They felt like they weren’t getting the whole story.”

Read the entire story at AZCentral by clicking here

South Africa News Roundup

Civil war ‘becoming real threat for South Africa

From World Net Daily

Civil war is looming larger and larger as a threat in South Africa as the once-prosperous nation pursues a race-driven agenda that already has damaged its neighbors to the north, says Charl Van Wyk, a longtime missionary in the troubled nation.

 It’s because of the current government’s aggressive move toward communism, he explains.

“We are going to see the same disaster in South Africa that we’ve seen further north of our borders,” Van Wyk told WND in an interview…

“We’ve had a major challenge with communism in South Africa,” Van Wyk said. “In fact, the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela’s group, was completely communist backed. Both by China and Russia.”

Now, the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, plans to dig deeper into communism, hoping to seize white farmers’ lands without compensation, according to the London Telegraph.

Zuma plans to unite the black parties in the parliament of South African to vote for the plan, as it would require a significant majority in parliament to change the law.

Click to read full story

ANC Member Says South Africa Needs Revolution

ANC Member Tiisetso Makhele writes in a News24 opinion piece that South Africa needs another revolution in order to “crush white monopoly capital.”

The primary interest of white monopoly capital is to ensure that profits are maximized at all costs. White monopoly capital receives its mandate from Wall Street in the US, in the main, and it is very powerful.

Just like Cuba, which has had two revolutions so far; one in 1868 to overthrow the Spanish colonizers, and the socialist revolution of 1959, South Africa needs a second revolution. Given our own unique material conditions, we might not require a military struggle to wage this second revolution. But, no matter what shape it takes, South Africa needs a revolution to crush white monopoly capital. Any hope that the revolutionary movement led by the ANC can negotiate with this powerful force is an illusion. White monopoly capital must be weakened or the county will face a storm.

Click for full story

Zuma Tightens Grip as South Africa’s ANC Censures Rebels

From Bloomberg News:

It’s payback time for South African President Jacob Zuma as his ruling African National Congress censures its lawmakers who openly backed a move to oust him, increasing his sway over who’ll succeed him.

The ANC fired Makhosi Khoza as chairwoman of parliament’s public service committee last week after saying it would punish three legislators who announced they’d back an opposition motion of no confidence in Zuma. It then wrote to Derek Hanekom, the head of its disciplinary committee, rebuking him for his Twitter postings calling for the president’s removal.

Click to read full story

Custer County, CO Puts All County Commissioners Up for Recall

As an example of what citizens can do locally to make a difference in their lives and their community, here is a story from Sangre de Cristo Sentinel  about how the citizens of Custer County, Colorado have delivered recall petitions sufficient to put all three of their county commissioners up for recall this fall.

Monday, August 14, 2017, marked a milestone in Custer County politics as the Take Back Custer County Recall Committee delivered 236 notarized recall petitions with enough signatures to have a recall election for each of the three Custer County Commissioners, Bob Kattnig, Jay Printz and Donna Hood. The recall election would be placed on the regular November 2017 election ballot at no extra cost to the county.

Read the entire article here

The Market Ticker: Editorial on Free Speech

Source: Kart Denninger at Market-ticker.com

To The Press, The Pols And The Rest

Let me say this just one more time:

That someone is a Neo-Nazi, a White Supremacist, KKK member or racist does not render them bereft of the First Amendment.  Just as being a member of BLM or the Antifa does not render them bereft of the First Amendment.

It is not acceptable, legal or excusable to meet speech by any such person with violence.

Period.

To suggest, state, or advocate that such is the case, or to promote the premise that violence is an appropriate remedy for speech you find vile and outrageous is to declare civil war, because there are others who will likely find your speech vile and outrageous and by your statement you have made the claim that just punishment for speech you deem vile is to be found at the hands of a mob.

The press and now lawmakers are openly advocating for the complete breakdown of civil society — they are stating by the droves that violence in response to mere speech that one finds offensive yet has the protection of the First Amendment is not only worthy of said violence the person uttering same is not worthy of having their assailants prosecuted or the protection and investigation of the police forces to interdict violence intended for or served upon them

Continue reading by clicking here

Preparing for Nuclear Disaster (or not) and N. Korea

Civil defenseFrom Herschel Smith at captainsjournal.com comes this article discussing Preparing for Nuclear Disaster and dealing with some myths and bad information involved with the same. He also opines about the possibilities (or lack thereof) of nuclear war with North Korea.

Let’s discuss a few things concerning radiation, radioactivity and nuclear events.  If you’re a layman, most articles you will read on these subjects will either be written way above your head, or by people who only pretend to know what they’re talking about because they lack the proper education and experience to speak intelligently.  Even the man who wrote this article on surviving a nuclear attack is in that category.

I could wax haughty and throw words around showing what I know about photon, electron and neutron shielding, the theoretical and mathematical difference between a Rad, Roentgen and a Rem, committed dose equivalent to organs, total effective dose equivalent, albedos, Keff (criticality) calculations, the Boltzmann transport equation and reactor kinetics.  But it would do you precisely no good.  None.  You wouldn’t be one bit better off after having read an article like that than you are right now.  You would have to take an advanced engineering degree or train in the radiological sciences in order to stay with me in such a discussion, and you can’t right now, so that’s that.  Something else needs to be done because the conversation the “journalist” had with that prepper above is off the charts stupid.

Potassium Iodine, or KI, doesn’t stop the thyroid from “absorbing radiation.”  It isn’t a magic radiation pill, regardless of how pepper and survivalist web sites market it.  There is nothing magic about it.  There is a little bit it can do under the right circumstances, and it can’t do anything else.  If you take it – and be aware that taking KI when you don’t need it can lead to severe health problems, especially in the young and old – it will load your thyroid with iodine and prevent the absorption of any more iodine, radioactive or not.  The intent behind this is to prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid and thus the absorbed radiation dose from such a localized source.

What it doesn’t do is prevent the thyroid from “absorbing radiation.”  The entire whole body, including every organ in your body and the skin (which is treated as an organ by the ICRP) will still attenuate and absorb radiation from external sources, such as immersion in a cloud of radioactive material.  Charged particles (such as betas, or in other words, electrons) can be essentially stopped by clothing, skin and just a little tissue overlying the organs.

You cannot wear enough shielding to stop gammas or neutrons, although being inside a structure deep in the ground could help…

Read the entire article at The Captain’s Journal by clicking here

AmRRON Advances to AmCON 3 – Aug. 8, 2017

Today, AmRRON announced that it had moved the organization to level AmCON 3.  Level 3 means that an incident is considered probable which would interrupt conventional communications, but not necessarily imminent.

*08 AUG 2017 UPDATE: *

Due to the increased probability of armed conflict with North Korea,
which is now nuclear-capable and could strike American cities on the
mainland, we are increasing our readiness levels and the AmRRON
Readiness Condition Level to 3. This means that while disruptions to
conventional communications are by no means imminent, there is an
increased probability.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/trump-warns-north-korea-threats-will-be-met-with-fire-and-fury.html

Trump warns North Korea threats ‘will be met with fire and fury’

* President Donald Trump warns that threats from North Korea “will be
met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
* North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear weapon
that can fit in its missiles, according to NBC News and The
Washington Post.

*Note from JJS: * This is significant. President Trump is warning that
these continued threats must stop and that he is prepared to carry out
military action. Previous attitudes and responses indicate that North
Korea will continue to agitate the US and other nations. Essentially,
Trump must make good on his word. If he does not, it will only embolden
North Korea and increase the danger to US citizens and interests, as
well as our allies. Essentially, it appears the time for talking and
negotiating are over. We’ll see. Boy Scout’s motto: “Be Prepared”

————————————

*Additionally, the previous open source (OSINT) information which
prompted us to raise to Level-4 several weeks ago is still relevant:*
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