ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net Active for Paulette and Sally

Update 9/16: Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores, AL at 0445hrs Central time as a category 2 hurricane with 105 mph wind. It is only moving at three miles per hour so much rainfall is forecast. From ARRL:

Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, K4HBN, is requesting that stations not directly involved in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) response to Hurricane Sally please avoid 3.950 MHz (primary) and 7.242 MHz (backup). ARES has activated in four Northern Florida counties. Shelters are open, and power and telecommunications outages are widespread, Martin reports.

From the ARRL:

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) said this morning that it will continue to gather any reports from Bermuda in the wake of Hurricane Paulette, which made landfall on the resort island today (Monday, September 14). Paulette is slowly moving away from Bermuda, a British overseas territory. The HWN is currently active on 14.325 MHz, seeking damage and storm surge reports.

“The Atlantic Basin is very busy today,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “This morning, the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on five tropical cyclones located over the Atlantic Basin. This ties a record set in September 1971.”

Sally now is a category 1 hurricane. Graves said the HWN switched its focus to Sally at 1600 UTC. “We will work to line up report stations along the eastern coast of Louisiana and the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama,” Graves said.

In its 1800 UTC update, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Sally was “meandering over the north-central Gulf of Mexico, expected to resume a slow west-northwestward motion.” Hurricane warnings have already been issued for the coast of Alabama. As of 1800 UTC, Sally was some 125 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 160 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi. With maximum sustained winds of nearly 90 MPH, Sally was expected to resume its west-northwest motion at about 7 MPH.

“It’s really hard to know when and where Sally will make landfall as the forecast track keeps shifting left and right,” Graves said. “As of this morning, Sally is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Port Sulfur, Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi. People in these areas need to follow the directions of local emergency management.” Graves said the HWN would appreciate any weather data, damage reports, and storm surge.

ARRL: 5 MHz (60 m) Interoperability Channels Designated for Wildfires and Hurricane Sally Response

The ARRL has a story about FEMA setting aside two of the 60-meter channels for emergency communication interoperability.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that two 60-meter channels have been made available, as necessary, for interoperability between US Government stations and US amateur radio stations involved in emergency communications related to the wildland firefighting response in California, Oregon, and Washington, and to Hurricane Sally. These interoperability channels will remain active until the need for these channels no longer exists:

  • Channel 1 — primary voice traffic 5332 kHz channel center, 5330.5 kHz USB voice
  • Channel 2 — digital traffic 5348 kHz channel center, 5346.5 kHz USB with 1.5-kHz offset to center of digital waveform.

Frequencies may be modified or added to by FEMA Region 10 for their area or operations due to existing 5-MHz/60-meter interoperability plans for their region.

Amateur radio is secondary on the 5-MHz band and should yield to operational traffic related to wildland firefighting and hurricane response. Although the intended use for these channels is interoperability between federal government stations and licensed US amateur radio stations, federal government stations are primary users and amateurs are secondary users.

The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) is following FEMA’s lead on the interoperability channel designations for the wildfire and hurricane response. Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, says he has alerted all MARS members of the FEMA channel designations and MARS members are prepared to support response efforts as needed.

ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net to Activate as Louisiana Braces for Marco and Laura

Update 8/25/20, Hurricane Laura has strengthened to a Category 3 4 and is expected to at least briefly rise to category 4 later today:

With Hurricane Laura set to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) will activate at 1300 UTC on Wednesday, on its primary frequency of 14.325 MHz, with simultaneous operation starting on 7.268 MHz at 2100 UTC.

“Of course, any change in the forward speed of this storm would change the timing of landfall,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, pointed out. “Laura is expected to be a [major] Category 3 Hurricane, well before landfall. After landfall, Laura is expected to remain at hurricane strength as it moves well inland, possibly as far north as Shreveport, Louisiana.”

Once the HWN activates, it will remain in continuous operation on both frequencies until the bands close, resuming operation on those bands as soon as propagation permits. Graves said that once Laura has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, the net will focus on helping to gather any post-storm reports from affected areas.

“This includes the relaying of any emergency or priority traffic,” Graves noted. Net participants share observed ground-truth data from the affected area. Information that National Hurricane Center forecasters need includes wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, barometric pressure — if available, rainfall, damage, and storm surge. Measured data are preferred, but estimated data are acceptable.

From the American Radio Relay League, Hurricane Watch Net to Activate as Louisiana Braces for Marco and Laura

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) will activate for Hurricane Marco today (Sunday, August 23) at 2100 UTC on 14.325 MHz, switching to 7.268 MHz at 2300 UTC, where operation will continue until 0100 UTC. Just barely a category 1 hurricane, Marco is forecast to make landfall on Monday afternoon.

“The purpose of this activation is to line up reporting stations for Marco as well as for Laura, which is to affect this same region most likely late Wednesday or early Thursday,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “The HWN will reactivate on Monday, August 24, at 1300 UTC on 14.325 MHz to collect and forward surface reports to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.”

Louisiana Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Coleman, AI5B, reported earlier this weekend that Louisiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) was on alert status, and the LA-ARES HF net was on active standby, set to begin monitoring 3.878 MHz after 0100 UTC on Monday, August 24, [Sunday evening in North America]. ARES will go to stand-by status at that time. One ARES team in Manatee County, Florida, is on stand-by status.

In a message Saturday evening to Louisiana ARES members, Coleman said net coordinators for the Louisiana ARES Emergency Net, the Louisiana Traffic Net, and the Delta Division Emergency Net were being notified that their services will likely be needed this week.

“Emergency [Ham Aid] communications kits from ARRL Headquarters have been pre-positioned in Louisiana in preparation for this event,” he said. “The American Red Cross may need volunteers to provide emergency communications at shelters.”

As of 1800 UTC on Sunday, Marco was about 280 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 440 miles southeast of Lafayette, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 75 MPH. Marco is moving to the north-northwest at 14 MPH.

The National Hurricane Center reported at 1800 UTC on Sunday that Marco is expected to continue on its current track and motion through Sunday night, followed by a turn to the northwest by Monday. “On the forecast track, Marco will cross the central Gulf of Mexico [Sunday] and will approach southeastern Louisiana on Monday. A gradual turn toward the west-northwest with a decrease in forward speed is expected after Marco moves inland,” the NHC said.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and for Lake Borgne. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River

Tropical Storm Laura is not likely to make landfall in Louisiana until the afternoon of Wednesday, August 26. As of 1800 UTC on Sunday, TS Laura was heading toward eastern Cuba. Heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding continue over portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

As of 1800 UTC, Laura was about 55 miles from the eastern tip of Cuba and 80 miles south east of Guantanamo Cuba, with maximum sustained winds of 50 MPH. The storm is moving west-northwesterly at 21 MPH.

ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net Re-Activating as Isaias Approaches Carolinas

Update 8/3/20 from ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net Reactivates as Hurricane Warning Posted for the Carolinas

With the National Hurricane Center (NHC) expecting Tropical Storm Isaias to become a hurricane again later today and make landfall this evening, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) reactivated at 1600 UTC on 14.325 MHz. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said the net will shift operations at 2300 UTC to 7.268 MHz, where it will remain until no longer needed by the NHC. A hurricane warning is in effect from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Surf City, North Carolina.

“The center of Isaias will then approach the coast of northeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina within the hurricane warning area later today,” the NHC said. The center will then move inland over eastern North Carolina tonight, and move along the coast of the mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday and into the northeastern United States by Tuesday night.”

The HWN initially activated on July 31 at 1500 UTC, when Isaias was about 245 miles southeast of Nassau. “During the next 41 hours, we relayed the latest advisories to those in the Bahamas, south Florida, as well as mariners and shortwave listeners, Graves said. “Because Isaias was forecast to regain strength to a Category 1 hurricane, and hurricane watches and warnings remained in effect for the Florida coast as well as areas in the Bahamas, the Net remained activated.” After the NHC dropped all hurricane watches and warnings on Sunday morning, and the storm was no longer believed to become a hurricane, the HWN secured operations on Sunday, August 1.

“During the course of 41 hours, we never received any reports from the Bahamas,” Graves said. “We did hear from many south Florida stations, but the storm was not yet close enough at the time for [that area] to be adversely affected.

As of 1500 UTC, Isaias is forecast to make landfall tonight as a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rainfall from the eastern Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic coast tonight and Tuesday. The storm was some 90 miles east-southeast of Brunswick, Georgia, and some 220 miles southwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 70 MPH, just a shade below Category 1 hurricane strength.

“We are slowly moving into the heart of the 2020 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season, so, please do not drop your guard,” Graves advised. “If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time to review your Family Emergency Plan and review your Emergency Supply Checklist. We have links to download both on our website.”

South Carolina Amateur Radio Volunteers Ready

Although Isaias hasn’t turned into a monster hurricane, radio amateurs from all over South Carolina have been preparing for days as the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center geared up for the storm. Isaias was predicted to make landfall on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.

“We have been in direct communication with our emergency support function (EFS-2) partners along with many other organizations to ensure our level of readiness is sufficient. Radio checks have been performed at SCEMD (South Carolina Emergency Management Division) and more conference calls among ARES leadership are planned,” said ARRL South Carolina Section Emergency Coordinator Billy Irwin, K9OH. Irwin said information about frequencies in use may be found in the Tactical Guide on the South Carolina ARES website.

From the American Radio Relay League on 7/31/20, Hurricane Watch Net Activating as Hurricane Isaias Approaches US East Coast:

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated on 14.325 MHz on July 31 at 1500 UTC as Hurricane Isaias [pronounced: ees-ah-EE-ahs] heads toward the US on an uncertain trajectory.  The Volusia County, Florida, and State emergency operations centers were reported at a Level 3 (Monitoring) status.

“For years I’ve said, ‘Just when you think you have Mother Nature figured out, she changes her mind,’” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “Shortly after Advisory 11 for then-Tropical Storm Isaias was issued [at 0300 UTC], an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft found that the tropical storm had strengthened to a hurricane. The maximum winds had increased to 80 MPH with higher gusts making the storm a Category 1 hurricane.”

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast for 0900 UTC called for Isaias to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane during the next 24 hours.

“Unfortunately, Isaias appears to be taking a somewhat similar track along the US east coastline, such as Matthew in 2016 and Dorian in 2019,” Graves said. “Interests throughout the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and farther north need to keep a close watch on Isaias. This means the Hurricane Watch Net could be running another marathon activation.”

An NHC Advisory issued at 1500 UTC included a Hurricane Watch for portions of the Florida east coast from north of Deerfield Beach northward to the Volusia-Brevard County Line. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for portions of the Florida east coast from north of Ocean Reef northward to Sebastian Inlet and for Lake Okeechobee.

As of 1500 UTC, the NHC said the center of Hurricane Isaias was located near latitude 21.7 N, longitude 74.5 W, moving toward the northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and a general northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the day or so followed by a turn toward the north-northwest.  On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will continue to move near or over the Southeastern Bahamas today. Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas tonight, and move near or over the Northwestern Bahamas Saturday and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula Saturday afternoon through Sunday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will continue to move near or over the Southeastern Bahamas today. Isaias is forecast to be near the central Bahamas tonight, and move near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula Saturday afternoon through Sunday.

“Tropical storm conditions are possible along portions of the Florida east coast beginning Saturday, and a tropical storm watch remains in effect. While storm surge watches are not currently needed for this area, they may be required later today, if the forecast track shifts closer to the coast. Heavy rains associated with Isaias may begin to affect south and east-central Florida beginning late Friday night, and the eastern Carolinas by early next week, potentially resulting in isolated flash and urban flooding, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas. Isolated minor river flooding is possible in the Carolinas early next week,” the NHC said. “Hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surges are expected in portions of the Bahamas today and Saturday, and hurricane warnings are in effect for these areas. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”

The HWN seeks “observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area,” including wind velocity and gusting, wind direction, barometric pressure, and, if available, rainfall, damage, and storm surge. “Measured weather data is always appreciated, but we do accept estimated,” Graves noted.

ARRL: ARES Standing By After Strong Earthquake Near Puerto Rico

From the ARRL:

A strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Puerto Rico early on January 7 on the heels of a smaller magnitude 5.8 tremor a day earlier. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority reported widespread power outages after generating plants automatically activated protective shutdown systems following the earthquake. Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez Garced urged citizens to remain calm.

“The entire government is active and in action,” Governor Vazquez said in a tweet. “I ask our people to remain calm and urge you to remain safe.” Government offices have been shut down for the day.

The director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, Víctor Huérfano, told The Associated Press that it’s been difficult to obtain reports of damage or injuries because communications are out over much of the island. Geologists had warned of additional seismic activity following the January 6 earthquake. Tremors have been occurring in some areas of Puerto Rico since December 28.

ARRL Puerto Rico Public Information Officer Angel Santana, WP3GW, said the earthquakes have damaged homes in communities including Guánica and Guayanilla, with aftershocks felt minutes later from today’s event. A tsunami advisory for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands was canceled minutes after being issued. Santana said the PREMA Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated.

Santana said VHF and UHF repeater systems having emergency power carried reports of power outages and other information. ARRL Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, told ARRL that no Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) activations have been necessary, as commercial telecommunication systems remain functional.

“The situation is scary, with houses, schools, and roads collapsing,” Resto said, with many structures — including a school and homes in Guánica — damaged.

Related:

Washington Post: Puerto Rico earthquake Tuesday morning triggers blackout, reports of injuries and at least one dead

Hurricane Watch Net Now (Not) Active for Dorian

Hurricane Watch Net is now active (Update: no longer active) on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz as tropical storm Dorian, expected to reach hurricane strength before landfall, passes to the north of Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and Dominican Republic before heading for the Florida and/or Georgia coast. (Update 8/29/19: Tropical Storm Dorian was upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane around 2pm Eastern time today. It is expected to make landfall in the US as a Category 4. Update 9/3/19: Hurricane Dorian has been downgraded from a category 5 to a category 2 hurricane. Update 9/4/19: Hurricane Dorian has re-intensified to a category 3 hurricane. Update 9/6/19: Dorian is now a category 1 hurricane.)

From HWN:

he Hurricane Watch Net has been in continuous operation since 5:00 PM EDT – 2100 UTC Saturday afternoon and will remain in operation until further notice.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall around 11:00 PM (0300 UTC) Sunday evening along the east end of Grand Bahama Island as a strong Cat 5 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph. After landfall, the storm all but stalled. 12 hours later with little to no movement, the storm still had Cat 5 winds of 155 mph.

After being over Grand Bahama Island as a stalled Hurricane, after 36-hours of barely drifting across the island, Dorian finally began to move away with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph.

Member of the Hurricane Watch Net have been reading the latest bulletins and updates as well as making calls to the islands for any reports…checking on their well-being, any weather data, damage reports, etc. However, when a storm is stalled over an area beginning with sustained winds of 180 mph and slowly dropping to 110 mph, that amount of high wind and continuous storm surge, major catastrophic damage is to be expected.

Video recorded by recon helicopters over Abacos Island on Tuesday began to reveal the extent of damage caused by Dorian. What we saw is just absolutely heartbreaking. Overnight, Dorian pulled away from Grand Bahama Island. I’m sure we will get an idea to the extent of damage to the island by way of recon aircraft today as well as feet on the ground with help.

The Hurricane Watch Net will continue to make calls to the Bahamian Islands for survivors and to collect and pass any and all emergency or priority traffic from the area…

From Florida Division of Emergency Management:

Residents should have 7 days of supplies in preparation of hurricane . A stocked supply kit has water, nonperishable food, prescription medications, flashlights and extra batteries…

From the ARRL:

Over the weekend, on Saturday, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) Commissioner Carlos Acevedo urged the island’s resident to put into effect the Family Plan the agency has suggested for emergencies. This includes ensuring a first line of defense in terms of water, canned goods, medicines, batteries, and fuel for power generators. Residents heeded the advice, heading out to markets around the island to purchase water and supplies, and later that day, hundreds of people went to supermarkets to buy water and other supplies in larger-than-usual quantities. By Sunday, vendors were limiting bottled water to between two and five packages, depending on locale.

The government of Puerto Rico is assuring the public that it’s better prepared than it was for Hurricanes Irma and Maria 2 years ago. New Commonwealth Governor Wanda Vázquez has been meeting with agency heads to make sure storm preparation plans are in place.

“About 30,000 people still have blue roofs installed in the wake of Irma and Maria,” Puerto Rico PIO Angel Santana, WP3GW, told ARRL. He said this situation presents a primary safety concern for those affected residents.

8/29/19 Update: Parts of Florida are already experiencing bottled water and fuel shortages as people prepare for the coming storm.

Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando resident Nicholas Boyd said during the last storm, the art teacher had put off stocking up on supplies a little too long,

“Last time, I put it off a little too long, and there was none left,” the 35-year-old Boyd said, adding that he wanted to be “a little more proactive” this time around. And he isn’t alone: Home Depot said it had already sent some 160 truckloads of various products to stores in Florida so far.

“We have five distribution centers in the Southeast working to get more materials to stores as quickly as they can,” a spokesperson said, adding that the chain is “prioritizing those in-demand items like generators, batteries, water and plywood.”

Reporting from a Publix in Baldwin Park, the Orlando Sentinel noted that shelves of water were left largely empty, and employee were offering customers bottles of Fiji water instead of the large multi-gallon jugs they were looking for.

“We like to get the 5-gallon jugs because we have a dispenser at home, but they’re out of those,” said 37-year-old Orlando resident Shannon Taylor, a professor at the University of Central Florida’s college of business. “So instead I went into the aisle with the bottled water, and they didn’t have any, but right when I was walking out of there, one of the Publix employees came with a cart of a few extra boxes of Fiji.”

ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net Keeping Eye on Tropical Storm Barry

From the Amateur Radio Relay League:

Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said the net is “keeping a very close eye” on Tropical Storm Barry, which could develop into a Category 1 hurricane. The HWN has announced no plans to activate, however, and remains at Alert Level 2 — monitoring mode.

At 2100 UTC, the storm’s center was 90 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi and some 175 miles southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana. The storm is generating maximum sustained winds of 40 MPH with higher gusts and is moving to the west at 5 MPH.

“Although hurricane watches and warnings are now in effect, the National Hurricane Center states that Barry could become a hurricane prior to landfall,” Graves noted. “Even if Barry does not reach Category 1 hurricane status, wind gusts to hurricane force are possible in the warning area. Regardless, if Barry becomes a hurricane or not, this system is looking to be a major rainmaker.”

Forecasters concur that the storm will continue to intensify until making landfall. A danger exists of life-threatening storm surge along the coast of southern and southeastern Louisiana. The storm’s slow movement will result in an extended period of heavy rainfall and the threat of flooding along the central Gulf Coast and inland through the lower Mississippi Valley through the weekend into early next week, forecasters said.

 

Here is the standard HWN activation plan:

When activated, you will find us on 14.325 MHz (USB) by day and 7.268 MHz (LSB) by night. If propagation dictates, daytime operations will be conducted on both frequencies simultaneously. Why do we state these frequencies without a plus or minus amount? Because those who are operating using marine radios have to program in the frequencies – marine radios do not have a VFO or RIT. Furthermore, these two frequencies come preprogrammed into many marine radios. Many non-hams listen in via shortwave radio and know this is where to find us when we are activated…

NOTE: During any Net activation, operations on 7.268.00 MHz will suspend @ 7:30 AM ET to allow the “Waterway Radio and Cruising Club Net – WRCC” (aka, the Waterway Net) to conduct their daily morning Net. If required, due to poor daytime propagation on 14.325.00 MHz, operations on 7.268.00 MHz may be required at the conclusion of the Water Way Net, generally around 8:30 AM ET.

Whenever the Hurricane Watch Net is not active, you can hear the latest information on 14.300.00 MHz.

As a special note to those who monitor when the net is active, we ask that you please honor our request for you remain quiet unless specifically called upon for assistance.

NatGeo: New Orleans Braces for Major Flooding from Tropical Storm Barry Continue reading “ARRL: Hurricane Watch Net Keeping Eye on Tropical Storm Barry”

AmPart: ARRL Field Day 2019

Johny Mac at American Partisan has a nice short article on this weekend’s ARRL Field Day and why people who want to be prepared should get into amateur radio as well as how to do so.

…the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) Field Day will commence at 1400 hrs. Saturday June 22nd and run till 1400 hrs. Sunday. Field Day is a big event for all Amateur Radio operators and clubs across North America.

Looking at the ARRL site they write:

“Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.”

If you have been meaning to get into ham radio take the time to attend one of the many field day events put on by your local area club. To find a Field Day event do an interwiz search for your counties Amateur Radio club. Once found go to their site and if they are participating in the event, I am sure there will be an invitation to the event. The ARRL also has a location finder located here but beware that at this time the ARRL may not have all of the locations for the event uploaded. I would try both – Interwiz search and using the ARRL locator.

ARRL continues to explain the objective of the event as…

“To work as many stations as possible on the 160, 80, 40, 20,15 and 10 Meter HF bands, as well as all bands 50 MHz and above, and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.”

Okay, with that all reported, how many American Partisan readers have their amateur radio ticket? If you do not, it is time to stop adding to your gun safe and seriously think about working towards getting it.

I have a very good friend who is a prepper, not part of my group, who keeps telling me that he has a transceiver and when the SHTF happens he will figure it out – Bovem de stercore!

It’s like running a gun, practicing patrols, or testing TC3 techniques; you will fall flat on your face unless you learn now before the bullets start flying…

AmRRON Goes to AmCON 2, Activates for Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael has strengthened to a category 4 storm with winds of 145 mph as of Wednesday morning, October 10th. AmRRON has moved to AmCON 2 and activated for a regional imminent incident.

AmRRON incident plan. (pdf)

AmRRON Hurricane Michael Updates.

AmRRON list of hurricane resource links.

Related:

ARRL Headquarters on Alert of Hurricane Michael

The Cuban Federation of Radio Amateurs has announced that emergency nets for Hurricane Michael are already active in Cuba on 40 and 80 meters. Announced frequencies are 7,110 kHz (primary) and 7,120 kHz (secondary), and 3,740 kHz (primary) and 3,740 kHz (secondary). Operation is expected to be on SSB and digital modes as required. The NHC said western Cuba could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of 12 inches. “This rainfall could lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the NHC said.

Team Rubicon – Disaster Response Veterans volunteering to help others.

ARRL HQ Emergency Response Team Activates, 9-12-18

From the ARRL:

The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team will activate on Wednesday, September 12, ARRL Emergency Response Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, has announced. The team already has taken some steps to help prepare Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) groups in advance of Hurricane Florence, poised to strike the US east coast along the Carolinas and Virginia.

ARRL will ship seven Ham Aid kits to South Carolina by way of Georgia today (September 11) to assist with emergency preparedness needs in advance of Hurricane Florence. The kits will fly out of Hartford to Atlanta, because airports in South Carolina are already closed with flights suspended. ARRL Georgia Section volunteers have agreed to get the kits to South Carolina for delivery to the state emergency operations center (EOC) in Columbia, South Carolina. These kits are the same ones that ARRL volunteers took to Puerto Rico a year ago to assist with disaster communications following Hurricane Maria.

“Amateur Radio emergency networks, including those connected to the National Hurricane Center, are active and ready to assist first responders and others with their communication needs before and after Hurricane Florence impacts the Carolinas,” ARRL said in an announcement. “In addition, they continue to monitor activity in order to respond when needed during the 2018 Atlantic and Pacific hurricane season.” Ham Aid kits also may be deployed to Virginia.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), now at Alert Level 3, is closely monitoring three systems: Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Invest 95L, currently in the Gulf of Mexico. The net will activate on Wednesday, September 12, at 1500 UTC, as Florence closes in on the US east coast. The net traditionally uses 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and 7.268 MHz after dark. “With propagation being extremely poor to nonexistent on 20 meters, we may be forced to operate on both bands simultaneously,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said this week…

Read the entire story at arrl.org by clicking here.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service Volunteers Assist in California Fire Response

From the ARRL,

[UPDATED 2018-08-08 @ 1210 UTC] Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers have pitched in to assist where needed to provide or support communication as catastrophic wildfires have struck California. Volunteers from multiple ARRL Sections in the state have stepped up to help, as some fires remain out of control. The fires have claimed several lives, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and forced countless residents to evacuate, including radio amateurs. ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, said this week that things have calmed somewhat compared to the past couple of weeks, with American Red Cross shelter communicators stepping down after 10 days of support. Initially, there were four shelters in Redding. On August 5, the Shasta-Tehama ARES team was able to take its communications trailer to Trinity County to support a shelter in Weaverville opened for Carr Fire evacuees, he said.

“This relieved the Sacramento County ARES volunteers who had been up there for several days,” Kruckewitt said. “For mutual assistance to Weaverville, it is a 4.5- to 5.5-hour drive for the Sacramento Valley Section people who helped out. Communications at the shelter have been important, as power and cell phone coverage is often spotty, with power going off for hours at a time.” All ARES activations for the Carr Fire ended the evening of August 7.

CalFire reports that the Carr Fire in Shasta and Trinity counties covers more than 167,000 acres and is 47% contained. Evacuations and road closures are in effect. At one point, more than a dozen ARES volunteers from Shasta, Sacramento, Butte, Placer, and El Dorado counties were working at shelters opened in the wake of the Carr Fire.

“Sacramento Valley ARES member Michael Joseph, KK6ZGB, is the liaison at the Red Cross Gold County Region Disaster Operations Center (DOC) in Sacramento,” he noted, adding that Joseph has been in the DOC since the fire started. “When the fire in Sonora started, we scrambled to get some ARES members to that location to see what communications the shelter needs.”

Kruckewitt said Winlink continues to be the go-to mode, as fire has damaged several repeaters and no repeater path exists to the Gold County Region of the Red Cross in Sacramento.

“One difficulty we ran into this weekend was that the Red Cross needed [ARES Emergency Coordinator and SEC] contact information for various counties that also are experiencing fires and having to open shelters,” he said. Completing that task involved lots of phone calls. “We encourage all ARES members to get to know their neighboring ARES groups and…check into their nets.”

Kruckewitt told ARRL that demand for ARES communicators is rising as the fires continue to grow…

 

ARRL Field Day, June 23-24, 2018

Field Day is ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

Field Day is a picnic, a camp-out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN! It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public.
Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday. Field Day 2018 is June 23-24.
The Yakima Amateur Radio Club will be operating out of West Valley Community Park.
The N7YRC (a group supporting Yakima Red Cross) will operate from somewhere SW of Naches.
The Spout Springs Repeater Association will be operating from a private residence in the Finley area. The Spout Springs group is inviting non-licensed persons to come get on the air.

ARRL: 2017 Hurricane Season After-Action Report

The ARRL released their after-action report on the 2017 hurricane season. Click here to download the pdf. (11MB file)  This is actually a bunch of separate reports glommed together, so it doesn’t read very smoothly. Much of it does not get into very good detail on what went wrong and what could be improved, but it looks like they spent more time on that at the ARRL level rather than the responder level.

From the Puerto Rico response, what amateur radio equipment did you need but not have?

Items mentioned included electrical tape/duct tape, volt-ohm meter, cable ties, SO-239 connectors, insulators, soldering iron, 50′ runs of coax and barrel connectors, mini mag-mount VHF/UHF antenna, VHF/UHF J-pole antenna, compass, headset with boom mic and footswitch, extension cords, power strips, hook-up wire, wire strippers, end-fed antenna, cheat sheets for radios.
From the Puerto Rico response, what did you add to your kit and where did you get it?
Generally, additional equipment was acquired through the Red Cross, FEMA, fire stations, local radio amateurs, or home improvement stores. Items acquired were left with the Red Cross in San Juan. Items included: Extension cords, antenna wire, car battery, hex nuts (used as weights for antennas), rope, notepads, pens, markers, electrical tape, crimpers, wire connectors, pulleys, shackle, slingshot, power strip, coax seal, HP OfficeJet printer, printer paper, headphones, batteries, terminals, PVC pipe, hose clamps, tape measure, power inverter.
The key observations offered on lessons learned included (Puerto Rico):
  • Clearer chain of command
  • ARRL representation at the staging point
  • Deployable VHF repeaters
  • Better screening of volunteers
  • Screen out those who have no experience in Amateur Radio disaster communications
  • Screen out those who have no experience in the needed forms of communications
  • Factor in personality to the screening process; some personalities are not suitable for such deployments
  • ARRL needs to provide education to Red Cross on the capabilities of Amateur Radio
  • ARRL representative on site during deployment (at JFO/EOC)
  • Form a national response cadre that is pre-screened for deployments such as this
  • Smaller and lighter Ham Aid kits
  • Encourage radio amateurs to volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Services Technology
  • Language was a barrier; being bilingual is important
  • Clearly defined list of capabilities of all deployed volunteers
  • Substantive pre-deployment briefing
  • Substantive debriefing
  • Better net structure
What do we need to change? (Irma and Maria)
  • Radios worked well. Possibly replace Icom IC-7200s with IC-7300s for consistency and ease of use.
  • Make sure every radio is digital-capable, with all needed cables and accessories.
  • Vetting process.
  • Improve training, especially with digital communications.
  • Multiple band antennas or several antennas for individual bands.

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.