ARES/RACES Repeaters in Standby

Hi Folks,

New England area ARES/RACES Amateur Radio Operators went into full standby mode late this afternoon as word of the massive power outage filtered in. In the Eastern Mass Section, SEC Mike Neilsen – W1MPN placed all ARES/RACES Stations on Standby at 17:00 Thursday evening.

Several RACES/ARES stations checked in and monitored 3.943 Mhz for Massachusetts communications. WC1MA, the Mass State EMA Headquarters checked in and advised that they were on full alert. The Sturdy Memorial Hospital ARC held their normally scheduled ARES Net and were joined by Rob Macedo – KD1CY, operating W1AEC, the Southeastern Mass ARC club station. Most ARES/RACES Teams had contacted their respective city/town EMA Directors, checked into their local repeaters and awaited further instructions. As word of the gradual restoration of power was made available, most stations were advised to “stand down” and were thanked for their assistance. The response was quick and organized, showing that our recent drills and training sessions have proved beneficial.

Thanks to all the local and regional ARES/RACES personnel that have given of their time to train our people in the techniques required to handle these situations. Also, thanks to the ARRL for their work with the ARECC (Amateur Radio Emergency Communicatons Course) program.

73,

Jim Duarte – N1IV
ARRL Public Information Coordinator
Eastern Mass Section

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Text of original instructions and press release follow:****** MASSIVE POWER OUTAGE ******
***** PLEASE BRING UP RACES/ARES IN STANDBY *****

A massive power outage has been reported in NYC and many Midwest cities including Canada. Media reporting “natural” occurrence not terrorism. It may or may not spread to our area.

NCS please bring up all ARES/RACES repeaters in standby mode. Advice of your presence, and require time between transmissions.

s/Michael P. Neilsen
Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN, EMa SEC
978.562.5662 Voice
978.389.0558 FAX/Secondary Voice
http://ares.ema.arrl.org
w1mpn@ema.ares.org

This is a precautionary move as many cities to our west including midwest and Canada have lost power. Terrorism in NOT suspected, but is felt to be part of an accidental breakdown. ISO New England has declared our power supply secure.

s/Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
Eastern Mass. Section Emergency Coodinator

Hi All!

In the Eastern Mass Section, SEC Mike Neilsen – W1MPN placed all
ARES/RACES Stations on Standby as of 17:07 this evening. Several RACES
Stations are already checked in and monitoring our 75 meter frequency.
Most ARES/RACES Teams have been in contact with their respective
city/town EMA Directors and are awaiting further instructions.

Regards,

Jim Duarte
Public Information Coordinator
ARRL Eastern Mass Section

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CEMARC BBQ, ARES Workshop at SEMARA 8/9/03

combined CEMARC, EMA ARES logosFrank Murphy, N1DHW writes:

Time is getting close for the BBQ at the Southeastern MA ARA on August 9th. If you are planning to attend just the BBQ lunch, please reply to this email, or call me, Frank N1DHW, 617-491-8451 so SEMARA can plan for food. If you plan to attend just the BBQ, arrive about 10:00 a.m.

Spread the word to those in your club who might want to attend. You are on the CEMARC mail list and others in the club depend on YOU to forward CEMARC info. Talk it up on the repeater.

Better yet, attend the all day ARES Workshop being conducted at SEMARA that day, and really have a day out. The Workshop is from 9:00 – 4:30, with a 2 hour break for the BBQ lunch.

Workshop details, and directions to SEMARA can be found at:

http://users.rcn.com/rmacedo/emrgshop.htm

Hope to see you there.

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Cape Cod ARES Summer Exercise 7/19/03

ARES logoMembers of the Cape Cod ARES will conduct a summer communications exercise Saturday, July 19. The exercise, dubbed “Operation Long Haul” will test the ability of “EOCs, three field teams and multiple zone-based home relay stations to provide general communcations and relay coverage of the operational zones.” See http://ares.ema.arrl.org/article.php?sid=105 for the details.

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Cape Cod ARES Drill 7/19/03

Members of the Cape Cod ARES [held its] summer communications exercise Saturday, July 19. The exercise, dubbed “Operation Long Haul” will test the ability of “EOCs, three field teams and multiple zone-based home relay stations to provide general communcations and relay coverage of the operational zones.”

According to Cape and Islands District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O, the exercise will utilize high frequency Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS), VHF/UHF FM and SSB. O’Laughlin adds, “we’ll attempt communications with other ARES districts if the opportunity arises.”

The drill will be the first CCARES exercise in which a field team conducts an NCS operation on the 6 meter band.

A description of Operation Long Haul can be found in the ARES web site links under “Departments/Programs | Training”.

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FCC Declares Communication Emergency

FCC Logo The FCC has declared a Communication Emergency for the Texas Coast. Please see story by clicking link in lower left hand column, or the “read more” link.FCC declares communications emergency for Texas coast (Jul 14, 2003) — The Federal Communications Commission, in cooperation with ARRL South Texas Section Manager Ray Taylor, N5NAV, has declared a general communications emergency for the Texas coastal area due to Tropical Storm Claudette. The FCC Enforcement Bureau issued the declaration under the authority of §97.401 of the FCC rules. Effective immediately, the FCC said, the frequencies 7285 kHz (days) and 3873 kHz (nights) require protection. “Amateurs are required to refrain from using those frequencies, plus or minus 3 kHz, unless they are taking part in the handling of emergency traffic,” said the declaration from James Daily, Chief of Homeland Security within the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. The declaration remains in effect until it’s rescinded.

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ARES Leadership Staff Visits FD Sites

Eastern Mass SEC and DEC’s completed a tour of Field Day sites during this past weekend. Additionally, SEC, W1MPN, showed club members the Amateur Radio Day Proclamation signed by Governor Mitt Romney.

Photos now available on the Section Website at N1BDA car href=http://ema.arrl.org/mod/gallery />http://ema.arrl.org/mod/gallery! And, while you’re there, please view the field day site page for some wrap up maps and statistics!

N1BDA arriving at PART Field Day site after touring. Click on photo to enlarge.
(photo courtesy W1MPN)

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Field Day Weather and Safety Tips

Field Day/NWS collageKD1CY writes on http://ares.ema.arrl.org:

“Since there will be many Amateurs out this weekend setting up these stations, many of which outdoors, we would like to briefly discuss the weather for Field Day weekend.

“At this time, the threat for thunderstorms and the potential for at least scattered severe weather is confined to Friday Afternoon and Friday Night from roughly Noon-9 PM. There is the potential for at least scattered severe weather tomorrow with at the very least pulse type activity. In any event, thunderstorms are a good bet for much of the region. Any Field Day sites planning to do setup on Friday should pay close attention to the weather and if threatening weather approaches seek safe shelter immediately.

“Even if severe weather does not occur at your specific site setup, lightning is one of the biggest threats to setup of these sites. Do NOT take chances. If thunderstorms approach, stop setup work and seek safe shelter. Lightning can strike as much as 20 miles away from the parent thunderstorm. Also, if you have antennas setup make sure they are properly grounded to avoid the loss of antenna equipment as best as possible. The current forecast now has the Saturday and Sunday dry with no threat of thunderstorms. [Full story]

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Falmouth ARA to Host ARES Presentation

Falmouth ARA logoThe Falmouth ARA will feature a presentation by Eastern Mass. Section Emergency Coordinator Mike Neilsen, W1MPN, at its May 29, 2003 meeting. ARRL Section Manager Phil Temples, K9HI will also attend.

FARA meets monthly on the last Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Falmouth Town Hall in the Selectman’s meeting room (downstairs, east end of the building). Ample parking is available. —www.falara.org

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FCC declares general communications emergency for the Oklahoma area

FCC Logo (May 9,2003) — The Federal Communications Commission has declared a general communications emergency for the Oklahoma area. Effective immediately, amateurs are required to refrain from using 3900 kHz, plus or minus 3 kHz, unless they are taking part in the handling of emergency traffic. The declaration was announced May 9, 2003, in cooperation with ARRL Oklahoma Section leadership and under the authority of Section 97.401 of the FCC’s Amateur Radio Service rules and regulations [47 CFR Part 97]. The FCC said the declaration is to support amateur communications on behalf of The Salvation Army’s tornado relief efforts. The order, signed by Technical and Public Safety Division Chief Joseph P. Casey of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, remains in effect until rescinded.

s/Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN, EMa SEC

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ARES Stand-by Activation for Boston Marathon

ARES logoW1MPN writes:

“On Monday, April 21st, the Boston Marathon will be held again this year. For the second consecutive year, all public safety efforts will be coordinated by the Unified Command Center (UCC), which will be hosted in the State Emergency Operations Center in Framingham.

I am requesting that all RACES/ARES nets in the EMa Section be activated on a standby basis from approximately 0800 to 1800. The sole purpose of the activation is to provide support communications for any incidents to the community at large (outside of the race course) that may occur during the event day, either as a result of an incident within the race, or independent of it. [Full story]

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Special Message from the ARES Leadership

***** Special Message from the ARES Leadership *****
***** Request Widest Dissemination *****

This is a special message from your leadership which we have delayed transmitting until after the President’s address this evening.

There are significant events which seem to be on everyone’s mind, and what we should do about it. War and any domestic ramifications will affect us first as citizens, then as ham radio operators. First, it is important to remember that we are not first responders, as that duty is remains with Fire, Police, and humanitarian professionals such as the American Red Cross. We may, however, be called upon to support those agencies at any time if they are faced with communication issues. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the federal government will require any extraordinary restrictions in our frequency bands, but we may have to sacrifice some of our UHF space as some of it is granted on a shared basis with the government. In view of the circumstances of a foreign war, and the raising of the domestic terrorist warning level to Orange, we are asking you accomplish three important activities as soon as you can.First, secure your home and family. Make sure you have food and water for at least three days for each of your family members. Plan on filling your car gas tanks when your car is about half full, instead of letting it get lower, etc. These are just a few of the many steps you can take to become better prepared for any possible impact on your community. You can learn about this and many other great suggestions on the FEMA website, on http://www.ready.gov , or http://www.fema.gov/library/prepandprev.shtm. There are numerous pamphlets you can pull down for you and your family to read.

Next, make sure your home station is working well. Please remember that the dispersion of our members throughout our districts and the section could come in very handy during any failure of the communication infrastructure providing vital communication links. We now anticipate that hams will be most active as home relay stations as our movements may be restricted within our localities. An emergency can develop very quickly and without any notice. Please focus on your home station making sure it works well, and you have adequate alternative power resources. Then check your mobile station to ensure you can communicate on simplex frequencies properly. You may be needed while you are commuting to and from work, or running errands. Please carry your handheld units with you at all times when the level is raised to Orange, as we anticipate it will be sometime this week [we have been at Orange level since 3/17]. Finally, if the incident lasts for a while or there is a significant restoration element involved such as with the Red Cross, we may be needed to serve away from our homes. In that case, your prior preparations are key. Your technical and personal go-kits will need to be ready before, and not during the emergency. We will have some great information on our website to assist you in the next few days.

In the meantime, go about your lives as best you can. Your leadership has been working with RACES, the Commonwealth, and public service agencies such as the Red Cross to make sure we are ready as we can be for whatever may come along. We can be thought of as the 21st century New England patriots working in our proverbial fields with our proverbial muskets at the ready. We may or may not be asked to serve, but it is high honor to be trained and willing to do so. I speak for the ARES leadership when I say that we greatly appreciate your preparation and commitment.

Here is a brief summary of activities that are scheduled in the next few months. On Saturday, March 29, we will having another ARES workshop on Cape Cod, in Sandwich MA at the Oakridge School. It is just 10 minutes from the Sagamore Bridge, so consider joining us. We’ve updated the program to offer more field related activities, and to better dovetail with the League’s Emergency Communication Course offerings. So, if you’ve haven’t joined us yet, or it’s been a few years since you attended, please plan on joining us. Simply contact your DEC or me to indicate your interest to attend. There is plenty of room at the school, and of course, there is no charge except a
contribution for lunch.

We are also planning a follow on exercise to the February exercise on Saturday April 26. This exercise will allow continual practice of important skills, but will have more emphasis on local operations to allow us to hone skills of communicating with neighboring stations. Some inter-district comms will still be asked for as well, as well as the passing of some NTS traffic. A preliminary message will be released shortly.

We are about to enter the busy Public Service Event (PSE) season. Please consider volunteering for duty with some of these events, as they offer an opportunity to practice communicating in more difficult conditions, and under personal pressure. Its great preparation for any emergency event, particularly if you have little practice or experience. You’ll hear more on this email reflector and on our website.

On behalf of my staff, I wish you and your families the best in the coming months. If you have a service member deployed in a foreign theatre as I do, best wishes for their safety and swift return home. 73,

s/Michael P. Neilsen
Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
EMa SEC
978.562.5662 Admin
978.389.0558 FAX/Secondary

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Updating the ARES Membership Database for Readiness

Hello to all…

Some time has passed since most of you submitted your contact and capabilities information. For many of you, that was well over a year ago. Please take a few mintues to submit any updated information since you filed your last application. It is very important that we get your current email address, as we are planning to migrate away from this site and set up new email address list later this year.How you do it is up to you. You can simply submit by return email pertinent updates to home address, email address, pager, cell phone, work phone, etc., brag, I mean, inform us of your changes in equipment, and if you have upgraded your license. We would also like to know what CCE courses you’ve completed or are working on. I prefer email, but you can fax or leave a voice mail 24/7 with your info at 978.389.0558.

Or, if it is more convenient for you, please use the updated EMa ARES application form in the “files” area of this website (Mass RAS Gen) to update any or all of the information requested on it.

Please accept my thanks in advance for your efforts. The leadership will be meeting next Saturday (3/15) to discuss, among other things, our membership and how to reach everybody during a crisis. I would like to have as fresh a list as possible for them.

One more request. When you submit your information, please send to w1mpn@arrl.net putting the word “Update” in the subject area. This will allow my mail program to sort the responses from my other email. Please also copy your DEC and EC as well. Obviously, if we haven’t talked to you in a while, this is a great way to reintroduce yourself.

Thanking you again…73,

Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
Eastern Massachusetts
Section Emergency Coordinator

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ARES Net This Weekend!

Hello to all…

The monthly ARES Net will be held this Sunday 1/19 at 2000 (8pm) on the MMRA network, or after the weekly Youth Net secures. For information on the MMRA network, please press the “EMa ARES Overview” button, and click on the MMRA link within. Please press the “read more” button.Although this change has been announced previously, we wanted to remind you again of the change, particularly the new time. These changes were in response to comments made by many of you, and we hope you like the result. Additionally, our long time net control and congenial host, Bill, N1VUX, is not available at this new time slot. Please join me in thanking Bill for his long dedicated service to the ARES net. I will be Net Control (NC) for the next few months, while we establish a schedule of NC’s. Please consider NC’ing this net on a rotating basis with other volunteers in the months to come.

We are making some changes to the venerable net, and more in the near future. The monthly ARES Net purpose is to practice making an ARES call to volunteers during an emergency/exigency, and then receiving checkins of volunteering ARES members, and other interested hams. As in the real situation, we will ask hams to check in with call, name, location of station or location if mobile/portable, and power source, as we have before. And as with past practice, it is important that you allow pauses in your transmissions to allow priority break-ins, and the network to drop/refresh properly. In a real world situation, you would check in the MMRA network FIRST to relieve congestion on the area RACES repeaters, so this monthly net is practice for that as well. We are exploring the use of internet based protocols such as IRLP and Echolink, to expand our net to the entire section as soon as we can.

We are asking you to add one important new item to your checkin. Please indicate whether you have priority traffic to pass to the net control. In an actual exigency, priority traffic would be involve any important information that must be passed to net control and cannot wait for the completion of check-in’s or a roll call. The traffic could be a fresh incident report, a report of major damage, or a high priority agency request. In a real situation, you must use your best judgment on what is priority information, with net control then deciding how to handle your information and when to continue the checkin. In the real situation, you would receive important information in the net concerning the exigency, directions for mobilization (or standby information), and staging/rendezvous points when the mobilization begins.

Since there will not be this activity in the monthly net (unless we have an exercise), we will substitute other activities. Changes will be announced in the future, but for this month we will:

Run two or more rounds of check-ins
Make brief announcements
SEC’s monthly comments
Contributors comments. KC1US will be a regular contributor of brief PSE announcements with website references for details
Roundtable discussion. This month’s topic will be the February 8th exercise.

A procedural note. If the network experiences problems, we will ask you to shift to the next repeater west of your location to attempt to maintain contact. For example, if Quincy 146.67 would fail, shift to Quincy 224.4 or Weston 146.82. If Stoughton 146.715 would fail, shift to 446.725 or west to Marlboro 146.61, 449.925, 53.81 repeaters. Same procedure for those south using Shrewsbury and Hopkinton repeaters to move north.

I look forward to talking to you on the net. 73,

Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
Section Emergency Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts Section
Pager: 1-800-759-8888 PIN 1155084
Admin: w1mpn (symbol for at) arrl.net
978-562-5662 Primary/Voice Mail
978-389-0558 FAX/ EFax Voice Mail

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EMa ARES Net Schedule Change

ARES Logo
W1MPN writes:

EMa ARES has now shifted its monthly net to the third Sunday of every month, starting at 2000 (8pm) on the Minuteman Repeater Association linked repeater system following the weekly Youth Net.

73,

Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
Section Emergency Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts Section
Pager: 1-800-759-8888 PIN 1155084
Admin: w1mpn (symbol for at) arrl.net
978-562-5662 Primary/Voice Mail
978-389-0558 FAX/ EFax Voice Mail

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Winter ARES Exercise Call for Players

ARES logo
***** Winter Exercise Scheduled for Saturday February, 8, 2003 *****
***** Announcing a Call for Players from the ARES community,
and from Clubs in the Section *****
***** Proposed Play for the Exercise *****

Happy New Year to all of you, and I hope that the year brings happiness and prosperity to you and your family.

The ARES leadership has scheduled a Winter Quarter exercise for Saturday February 8, 2003. The exercise will be an EOC to EOC emergency communications exercise using a similar approach as the November exercise, but implementing improvements suggested in critique sessions. We will also use a major winter storm scenario to add realism and purpose.Due to the time of the year, the field component prominent in the November SET will not be exercised. Additionally, the relatively quick follow on was in response to many of you who suggested doing a similar exercise as soon as possible.

ARES members, ARESMAT teams, Club Emergency response teams, town and city RACES officers, and individuals are invited to play in this exercise. Official RACES participation is not expected, but always welcome.

** Concept **

Teams and clubs are asked to set up a physical EOC and operators for the exercise. Ideally, several of these will be set up in each district. Due to the time of year, all exercise activities will be carried out in these locations. Obviously, EOC’s must be heated and lighted, and available for amateur use that day. Public Service Agencies are welcome to participate to any extent they wish. Please remember that most EMA personnel may not choose to participate because as it is a Saturday. They are, however, most welcome to participate if they so desire.

The exercise will consist of establishing contact with other EOC’s within and without your district, and then passing various traffic. Most traffic will be from simulated agency officials in each EOC, and some will consist of urgent traffic. We will “pick up” where we left off in November. Most importantly, we will strive to improve our ability to establish communications, set up effective net controls, and efficiently pass NTS traffic. We will implement many of the suggestions you forwarded such as revising the frequency plans with more local emphasis, setting up more planned activities during the day (i.e. “envelopes” or timed activities), and allowing use of some repeater assets. There was some discussion about adding more complexity and extending the exercise period, but no decision has been made as of yet.

** Schedule **

Please discuss participation with your clubs and interested individuals as soon as possible during the month. If you have any suggestions, please forward them as soon as you can. If you would like your DEC or me to answer questions at your meeting, please don’t hesitate to ask.

The DEC’s and I meet a week from Saturday on January 11 to finalize plans. An exercise plan will then be available about a week later. The district frequency plan will appear separately about a week before the exercise.

I will send an update shortly after the staff meeting on the 11th. Let’s work together toward a successful exercise!

s/Michael P. Neilsen

Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN
Section Emergency Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts Section
Pager: 1-800-759-8888 PIN 1155084
Admin: w1mpn (symbol for at) arrl.net
978-562-5662 Primary/Voice Mail
978-389-0558 FAX/ EFax Voice Mail

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New Domain Name for ARES EMa ARRL Site

I’m pleased to report that the League’s internet service provider, Interbridge.net, has agreed to assign a distinct subdomain name for the EMa ARRL ARES web site. Beginning today, this site can be accessed via the address,

http://ares.ema.arrl.org

In addition, the old address,

http://ema.arrl.org/ares

will continue to be supported.

Why did we implement this change? Because it more accurately describes the site from a hierarchical perspective.

73,

Phil Temples, K9HI

ARRL Section Manager,
Eastern Massachusetts Section
and “web host”

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