WORLDWIDE eDISPATCH - 1 JUN 2010 - 1700Z

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                   Dedicated to Emergency Communications by RADIO

EMCOMM  QUARTERLY  
                 
             Official Journal of the World Radio Relay League
 
                                                       www.wrrl.org  

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VOL.  6 -- No. 4                       www.emcomm.org                        SUMMER  2010
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ANNUAL HURRICANE AND WILDFIRE ISSUE

The EQ PHILOSOPHY - NEW SUBSCRIBERS
SHORT CIRCUITS - News and Announcements
BACK TO BASICS - Part II
FEEDBACK,  MUSINGS and SPURIOUS EMISSIONS
The EM ADVISOR - "Q and A"
WRRL NEWS and NETS
TRAFFIC HANDLING
NETWORK NEWS - "N.E.T.S."
QSH - EQ SUMMER 2010 NONCOMM CONTEST
SHOW US YOUR SHACK
FEATURE - WHEN REPEATERS FAIL
EMCOMM SPECIALTY ITEMS - Stuff for Sale
NEW SUBSCRIBERS
and CONTRIBUTORS
REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION

- -
The EQ PHILOSOPHY

NEW SUBSCRIBERS
Some of our over 2400 readers may have wondered why we take the space to list new subscribers in each issue.  One reason is that it provides a list of operators who are serious about emcomm.  We suggest that regular readers review the list each issue and look for operators in their area and contact them to provide local support for one another.  "June One" is traditionally the start of the "Hurricane Season" and the "Fire Season" in North America.  Now is a good time to prepare by "networking" with other operators that you may not have met.
- ∙ ∙ ∙ -
FIRE SEASON IS NOW!  MAINTAIN  YOUR  FIRE AWARENESS AND READINESS
    • Know and obey all fire rules, regulations and restrictions..
    • Monitor for “Red Flag Watches/Warnings”.
    • Survey your location's perimeter/horizon hourly (or more often).
    • Report all suspicious smoke immediately.
    • Carry a shovel, rake, water hose, bucket, radio, and personal safety gear when traveling in rural or remote areas.
    • Keep a dedicated hose of sufficient length ALWAYS ready at home.
    • Tell your family, friends and neighbors to do the same.
    • REMEMBER...EARLY REPORTING MAY PREVENT A MAJOR DISASTER!

- ∙ ∙ ∙ -
SPECIAL FIRE, HURRICANE and TORNADO SEASON
EMCOMM "LICENSE PLATE" OFFER
For your vehicle, shack or mobile emcomm unit.

Special prices (Orders must be postmarked by June 30)
1 for   $9.00  - postpaid  (regular price $10.00)
2 for $16.00 - postpaid  (regular price $18.00)
Or, outfit your emcomm team by ordering:
10 for $60.00 - postpaid (when shipped to one address)
View at:  http://www.emcomm.org:80/products/
Mail check or money order to:  EMCOMM, PO BOX 99, Macdoel, CA  96058

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SHORT CIRCUITS
YAAK ON-THE-AIR
http://www.emcomm.org/yaak

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PERSONAL GO KITS
"I really appreciate all the information shared in the EMCOMM QUARTERLY very much and look forward to the issues to learn something new!  In January 2009 EMCOMM MONTHLY carried an article on a new Yahoo Group called “Radio Jump Kits” which is basically about sharing the design considerations and construction of Radio ‘Jump’, ‘Flyaway’ or ‘Go’ Stations and their support equipment for Emcomm/Portable operations.  The group has been a great success with members from many Emcomm services sharing information and pictures of their portable/transportable radio kits.

"With the increasing interest in personal survival and convenience readiness for numerous reasons including deployed Emcomm support, I have started a companion Yahoo group called “Personal Go Kits” and am hopeful it will be as successful.  As with the startup of the Radio Jump Kits group, when I decided to build a Personal Go Kit, I could not find a central location to find lists of contents and see pictures of existing Personal "Go Kits" or "72-hour Kits’ and learn from others on their successes and failures in building one. This group is an effort to create that central location for all. 

"The URL for the group site is:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Personal_Go_Kits/.  We are looking for members that have built or are interested in putting together any size of ‘Personal Go Kits’.   Initial response has been very favorable and all are welcome to participate that have the same goal of having a completely self contained "grab and go" personal survival kit while supporting Emcomm missions." -  Gary J Takis, K7GJT, Vancouver, WA

Editor's note.  A comprehensive (everything but the kitchen sink) gear list is at:  http://www.emcomm.org/gear_list.htm
- ∙ ∙ ∙ -

EMCOMM EAST
EmComm East returns to Rochester, New York on September 18, 2010.
From Jeff Wigal, WY7Q:
"We are very excited to host the 3rd annual EmComm East emergency communications conference on September 18, 2010.

"EmComm East is an ARRL-sanctioned amateur radio emergency communications conference, where amateur radio operators involved in EmComm can attend training sessions on technical topics, learn from served agencies, obtain VE testing for license upgrades, and interact with other EmComm operators from all over the area.

"We are currently seeking presentation proposals.  If you have an idea for a presentation, or if you know of someone who might be willing to present, let us know. Just drop us an e-mail at program@emcommeast.org.  The deadline for presentation proposals is July 1.

"Please help us spread the word. Send this announcement to your local amateur radio club, ask your local Emergency Coordinator to spread the word, anything you can do to help promote the conference is most appreciated.

"Please visit our website at www.emcommeast.org for more information, or to sign up for e-mail announcements.  You can also drop us a line at info@emcommeast.org. We look forward to seeing you in September!"

- -
BACK TO BASICS - Part II
Make Good Operating Procedures A Habit!
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REMINDERS FOR OPERATORS WHO CARE ABOUT PROPER 'PHONE PROCEDURE:

It's FOXTROT... not  FOX
It's KILO ... not  KILOWATT
It's QUEBEC ... not  QUEEN

It's ROMEO ... not  RADIO
ROGER means: "I have received and understand your transmission."  It does not mean yes, affirmative, I agree, or I will comply.  (WILCO)
AFFIRMATIVE means: "Yes" (in answer to a specific question), 

 Ref. www.wrrl.org/operating/itu_phonetics.htm  and  www.wrrl.org/operating/icao_radiotelephony.htm     
- ∙ ∙ ∙ -
"HERE AND THERE"
The late Doug DeMaw, W1FB, said it well in his classic book Help for New Hams (ARRL 1994): "Try not to develop the bad habit of using the words "here" and "there when they aren't needed.  You'll hear hams who include those words as often a four or five times in a single sentence.  Example: 'Your signal is good here.  How is my signal there?  My rig here is the same model you have there.'  The words here and there serve no purpose in those sentences.  Dialog of this kind is boring and annoying to those who haven't developed this dreadful habit."
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FEEDBACK,  MUSINGS and SPURIOUS EMISSIONS
THREE ANTI-KUDOS

NR 1
"I found your article (LOWERING THE BAR) totally disgusting.  If you would actually listen to what is going on, you would find that the foul language, splattering signals, and rudeness is coming from the long time licensees, not the new comers.  Your implication that all newly licensed hams are bad is totally unfounded.  The FCC has made their decision and your organization, like the ARRL needs to GET OVER IT." - Doug Aldrich, WØWSP, Portland, TN

NR 2
"OK, raise the bar...then what?  Since I don't hear well and do a lot of PSK31, will you require that I have 20/20 eyesight?  That would raise the bar even higher.  Your suggestion is just plain stupid.  CW is a relic, a quaint mode that continues to grow although there is no licensing requirement to learn it.  As I explore the digital modes which really interest me, are you saying I should give that up and concentrate on being the equivalent of a railroad telegrapher?  I'm a 75 year-old ham who wasn't licensed until I was 69 and took up the hobby to keep the old gray matter perking.  I also worked in broadcasting for 30 years and another 15 in various forms of journalism.  There are many forms of communication.  Don't try to force everyone into some archaic notion of what a 'real ham' is." - Norm Medland, W6AFR, Roseville, CA
EQ COMMENTS:
  When Samuel F.B. Morse* invented and patented the telegraph, it was a visual device.  The "receiver" consisted of the electrical signal moving a stylus on a moving roll of paper.  (Hence, "tele-graph")  Each character was composed of a group of  "shorts" and "longs" and the receiving operator then read the marks and translated them to letters or numbers and finally wrote out the message.  But it wasn't long before the operators began to automatically recognize the sounds the"printer" made when a message was incoming, and they knew what the message was before they even looked at the paper!  Needless to say, the slow visual process was soon replaced by aural reception.

The Morse Code has never been limited to sound.  For example, a flashing visual light.  The most commonly known is the "Aldis lamp"** which was used extensively in World War II to maintain radio silence.  People have even used a flashlight or automobile headlamps to send a distress message.  No radio or computer needed!  There are many hams who are "handy-capable!"  "20/20" eyesight and/or perfect hearing are not required...but being able to spell is essential to effective communications.  Some of the best traffic handlers (CW and/or voice) are blind, and some even use keyboard/CRT modes using character-recognition-to-voice software.  Some hearing impaired operators use bone conduction via a headset for CW communications.

I read over LOWERING THE BAR again, and couldn't find anyplace where we said or implied that newly licensed hams are the problem.  When newer hams display poor or rude operating habits it is no doubt the result of patterning their habits from older hams.  We acknowledge that the majority of the worst offenders are a bunch of pompous old "know it all" hams, often running full legal power (or more), and expensive antenna arrays.  BTW: I DO listen to what is going on...and often what I hear makes me want to barf.

EQ and the WRRL would never try to "force" anyone into anything.  While LOWERING THE BAR was somewhat "tongue-in cheek," the proposed new license class would be an optional goal to be achieved.

Oh yes, the "hobby" aspect is secondary to the amateur service.  The word hobby does not appear in Part 97.  A few years ago, in a court case (re. antenna restrictions), a ham defended his "hobby" before a Federal administrative law judge.  The judge ruled that his court had no interest or jurisdiction in disputes about "hobbies," and lectured the ham about wasting the court's time. He then threw the case out. - Editor

* The Spring 2010 issue of Invention & Technology has an excellent article on Samuel F.B. Morse and the Patent Office.  Check your library.
**Aldis lamps were widely used for ship-to-ship communication during World War II because they allowed the fleet or a convoy to maintain radio silence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_lamp
Also see Heliographs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliograph
EXCERPT from wikipedia page: For night communications (during the Boer War),  the British used some large Aldis lamps, brought inland on railroad cars, and equipped with leaf-type shutters for keying a beam of light into dots and dashes. In the early stages of the war, the British garrisons were besieged in Kimberley, Ladysmith, and Mafeking. With land telegraph lines cut, the only contact with the outside world was via light-beam communication, heliograph by day, and Aldis lamps at night.

NR 3
"After reading the newest issue of EMCOMM Quarterly, I have a few question regarding your pretty harsh editorial:  How long were you in Haiti and where did you set up your EMCOMM operations?  Are you in Chile now or in route (sic editor) to that country?  In what parts of the Northeastern US were you operating EMCOMM from during the devastating snow storms that interrupted communications for days if not weeks this year?  Is there a bio available somewhere that lists all of the EMCOMM services that you have provided in your lifetime to the Nation? The World?  I simply ask these questions to see the qualifications of the author of this very insulting editorial. Most EMCOMM operators provide their valued service locally without mention in the media. Most of us don't want it for personal reasons.  We do what we do locally because when it comes down to it, this is where we live, work, go to school, retire to and realize that no one else will do it.  Please, tell me again why I should join WRRL?????  With extreme disappointment." - Gene McPhee, N3XUS, Ft. Lewis, WA

REPLY: Sorry to disappoint you Gene, but I have never been to Haiti or Chile.  But if I were younger, and in good health, and could afford to go, I would love to be right in the middle of the action in Haiti or Chile.  However, I would choose to serve on a USAR team or with a medical/health service, because those services are my first love. I spent many years preparing for the services that I have performed.  I've paid my dues, and if you are interested, you may read a partial summary of my personal bio at:
http://www.wrrl.org/staff.asp . 

USAR teams and most medical units that respond to these incidents are either paid professionals and sponsored by agencies that are funded or they are military/naval personnel.  The problem with the ARCT concept is that those who are young and fit enough, are too busy supporting their families, and those who are retired and can afford to go are often too old and decrepit (like me.)  But I still hope that someday someone in the U.S. will be able to form a viable ARCT that could deploy for up to two weeks.  A sponsor would be needed...

Thank you for serving in your local community.  That's more than most hams do.  Sorry, I can't think of any reason why you should join the WRRL. - Editor
- ∙ ∙ ∙ -
THREE KUDOS

NR 1

"Re: Lowering the Bar.  I agree with you. There is no chance of the ADVANCED-EXTRA.  However, there is nothing stopping a group from initiating it from within. Testing could be over the internet, except for the code and that could be worked out. It seems that the WRRL would be the ideal group. - Gary Paar, K7ZNP, Enterprise, OR

NR 2
"I have just recently began reading your great newsletter and I am very impressed. I publish a monthly newsletter for our ARES group and was wondering if I might copy the occasional article or link, with proper acknowledgement. - George Davis, VE3OGP, AEC, Oakville ARES Group

REPLY: Permission is hereby granted per your request.  Please mention this credit: "Reproduced courtesy of EMCOMM QUARTERLY and the WRRL"
Thank you for asking. - Editor

NR 3
"I totally agree with your evaluation concerning ARCT. EmComm needs these trained teams, but we as EmComm operators have become lazy!  Most EmComm ops don’t want to do anything concerning training. But, should an emergency occur, they all want to help out.  While wanting to help is great, training is necessary for effective EmComm communications today. Here in the ARRL EPA Section, Berks County we have only a handful of Emcomm operators who make an effort to stay current and it shows.  Our county officials seldom if ever call on us for help. I suspect that other parts of the country have similar situations.  It’s time we get off out butts, get properly trained and participate." - Edward R. Breneiser, WA3WSJ, Berks County (PA) ARES/RACES AEC
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BROKEN ARROW

(I'm) "Unsure if it was an if over-site on my part or not, but I am also with the Broken Arrow Emergency Management group. Thanks." - Rolland Gene Watson, KE5LTS, Tulsa/Broken Arrow, OK

No problem Gene.  "Broken Arrow Emergency Management group" was left off due to space limitations.  I like to keep each New Subscriber to one line, and if I  had abbreviated it, no one would have known what BAEMG was. - Editor
- -
THE EM ADVISOR
The staff of EMCOMM QUARTERLY is happy to answer your questions to the best of our ability.  Some are "FAQs" (Frequently Asked Questions) and others are of a specific nature.  Each month, we will answer questions that may have value to other emcomm radio operators.  Technical questions are forwarded to our Technical Advisor, Ed Ewell, K7DXV.  Questions about our ARCT program or NIMS/ICS are forwarded to Jerry Boyd, N7WR.  Others may be forwarded to other staff members.  Questions regarding emcomm in general are usually handled by D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ. Some will wind up on our FAQ page at: http://www.wrrl.org/faq.asp   

Before submitting a question, we ask our readers to check the FAQ page first...your question may have been asked before.  Also, please consider checking our site search page at: http://www.emcomm.org/search.htm  to see if your question may have been previously addressed in EMCOMM MONTHLY.  Thank you.


Q:
  "Recently I had the experience of attending a presentation about EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse).   I left convinced that while an EMP event is not a certainty, it is a definite possibility.    So, I'm interested in learning about Faraday cages to protect radio and other electronic equipment.   Do you have, or know of anyone else who has, knowledge of the specs for such a "cage."   There are numerous designs on the web, but who knows how effective they are. Thank you for your time." - John Howell, KC2NHK, New York, NY


A:   EQ has covered the subject in the past.  We "googled" Faraday cage and learned that there is a lot of information available.   You may have also viewed these already, but if not here are three that came up:
http://www.endtimesreport.com/faraday_cages.html
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100211130814AAGmUNZ
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage
To any readers that have first-hand experience with building or using Faraday cages, EQ would like to hear from you. - Editor

* READ MORE ABOUT EMP
(Electromagnetic Pulse)
A recent (2008) update by The Heritage Foundation:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/HomelandSecurity/bg2199.cfm

From EM archives:
http://www.emcomm.org/archives/number112.htm
http://www.emcomm.org/archives/number113.htm

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WRRL HF NETS 
(ALL SERIOUS EMCOMM OPERATORS WELCOME)

 REGIONAL EMCOMM NETS:
    Pacific (and Mountain) Time Zones:  PTZNN (Jefferson Noon Net/JNN) daily at 1200 PTZ on 7204/± kHz (7214 and 3911± kHz alternate)

    Central (and Eastern) Time Zones:  CTZNN (Lincoln Noon Net/LNN) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1200 CTZ  on 7183± kHz
 WRRL NET on  2nd and 4th MONDAYS on 14.280 MHz USB (listen up or down the band as much as 20 kHz)
   2000Z (When on Daylight Saving Time) and 2100Z (When on Standard Time)
 WRRL STATION MAP UPDATE
   Map showing the location of WRRL stations can be viewed at: http://www.wrrl.org/map     

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TRAFFIC HANDLING

“For want of a letter, a word was lost.
             For want of a word, a message was lost.
                         For want of a message, a life was lost.”

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"Record Message Traffic, by skilled operators, and by RADIO (only)!"   It's all about Dependability, Accuracy and Accountability!

NOTE:  "Record Message Traffic" means that a record is kept of all traffic you handle, (for at least a period of one year), in the event a question comes up later.  It also documents that YOU did your job properly and correctly!   (Assuming that you did...of course.)
- ∙ ∙ ∙ -
EMCOMM and TRAFFIC HANDLING NETS


LINCOLN NOON NET - LNN (CTZNN) M-W-F

MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, and FRIDAYS at 1200 CTZ on 7183 kHz ± LSB.
All emcomm stations in the Central (U.S.) Time Zone, PLUS the Eastern and Mountain Time Zones are invited to check in.

JEFFERSON NOON NET - JNN (PTZNN) DAILY
DAILY at 1200 PTZ on 7204 kHz ± LSB.  (7214 and 3911 kHz alternate)

Stations in the MTZ (and CTZ, if the band is very long) are also welcome!

The LNN and the JNN are for operators who want to learn and/or practice proper net operating procedures and standardized traffic handling skills.  Stations in the MTZ (band conditions permitting) can potentially participate in both of these nets, and thereby provide a relay circuit between the east coast and the west coast on 40 meters three times a week!   It is anticipated that the LNN will eventually become a daily circuit.

- ∙ ∙ ∙ -
THE “TRAFFIC HANDLER’S MANTRA”  (Recite often to help remember the eight parts in preamble):
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
NUMBER 
PRECEDENCE HX (Handling Instructions) • STATION OF ORIGIN CHECK PLACE OF ORIGIN TIME DATE

To help you to memorize the eight parts of the preamble,  RECITE the "Traffic Handlers Mantra" often:
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”

ASSESS
your current traffic handling skill.  Take the "TRAFFIC HANDLER’S CHALLENGE" at: www.emcomm.org    (main page)

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NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE  (N.E.T.S.)

The NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE uses designated watch and calling frequencies.   Public service amateur radio operators everywhere are invited to monitor these frequencies whenever possible.  But when disasters or other incidents occur, emcomm operators are asked to warm up their radios and "light up" the NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE..."24/7".  Active operators know which bands are most likely to be "open" depending upon the time of day, season, etc.

During disasters and for other emergencies, the frequencies are "open nets".  When traffic becomes heavy, they will become "command and control" frequencies with a net control station "triaging" traffic and directing stations with traffic to another (traffic) frequency.  (At least 5 kHz away.)  Proper net procedures are essential.

NETS does not maintain regular schedules and does not handle routine "make work" messages such as birthday greetings, "your license is about to expire", "book messages", etc.  NETS is intended to supplement and fortify other networks by providing a vehicle for emcomm operators to originate, relay and deliver legal radio message traffic (I.e. - "first class mail") of any precedence, at any time, from and to anyone and anywhere--especially during disasters or other crises.  NETS stations will cooperate and use other networks that are known to be capable of accurately and efficiently handling RADIOGRAMS.

NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE (NETS) WATCH • MONITOR • CALLING • TRAFFIC FREQUENCIES
All listed frequencies (except 60 meters) are nominal.  Actual nets may be up or down as much as 20 kHz
SSB:
•   1982 kHz

•   3911 kHz RADIO RESCUE (SSB and CW)
•   5332 kHz "Up" to other 60M channels as necessary. 50W maximum ERP. (Activated during actual incidents.)
•   7214 kHz
• 14280 kHz
ALASKA ONLY: 5167.5 kHz (USB emergency traffic only)

CW:
•   1911 kHz
•   3540 kHz
•   3911 kHz RADIO RESCUE (SSB and CW)
•   7111 kHz
• 10119 kHz

• 14050 kHz
ALASKA -
 3540/7042/14050 kHz
GULF STATES (LA, MS, TX, AL) - 7111 kHz 1100Z-2300Z / 3570 kHz 2300Z-1100Z

  During EMERGENCIES: 7111 kHz daytime,  3570 kHz nighttime.

  (Times approximate depending on band conditions and changes in sunrise/sunset.)


VHF/UHF FM
• LOCAL EMCOMM SIMPLEX - 146.55 MHz
• RED CROSS EMCOMM SIMPLEX - 147.42 MHz
• NATIONAL CALLING SIMPLEX - 146.52 MHz 

Frequencies listed may be on or near other established net frequencies.

As a matter of operating courtesy, always move up or down a few kHz to avoid QRM when a frequency is in use.
- -
QSH --  (I HAVE HUMOR FOR YOUR STATION)
EQ’s Quiz, Survey, and [attempt at] Humor Section...


EQ SUMMER 2010 NONCOMM CONTEST AND AWARDS PROGRAM ANNOUNCED!

WWINLINC* proudly announces their  2010 contest awards program.
(*World Wide International Network of Landline Idealistic Nerds and Cyberoperators.)

award categories:

wwcce:  work 100 counties via email.

wwdxe:  work 100 countries via email.

wwccm:  work 100 email stations in 100 counties using mobile email. (cell phone texting, "black berries" etc.)
wwdxm:
work 100 email stations in 100 countries using mobile email. (cell phone texting "black berries" etc.)

wwdx10-10: work 10 dx email stations 10 times each.

(each e-station must use each of 10 different email aliases.)

other rules:

  1. no radios (this includes amateur radio, gmrs, frs, cb, etc.) may be used to solicit email contacts.

  2. email messages must be printed out and saved for one year in the event the judges wish to verify.

  3. 10 bonus points for each email done on a battery or solar powered computer.

  4. 1 bonus point for every spam message deleted within 5 seconds.

      (spam ads for ciagra, vitallus, letvita, hot chicks, and solicitations from the bank of mwogodogdoo, are exempt.)

  5. 10 bonus point for every email message that actually has some redeeming value.

  6. 1 bonus point off for every mispelled word or use of upper case in first letter of a proper noun.

  7. 10 bonus points for every time your computer locks up during an email contact and you reconnect with

      the other e-station within 10 minutes.

  8. cell phone output power for mobile email is limited to 500 milliwatts.

  9. no elevated outside or roof-top cell phone antennas.

10. 100 bonus points for non-laptop mobile 110 vac computers with crt using a dynamotor for power.

11. 100 bonus points if you make all contacts on the boss' time and using a company computer.

12. 100 bonus points if the internet goes down while you are online.

13. 100 bonus points if all contacts are made using a "vintage" (over 2 years old) computer.

      

Winners will received a virtual certificate.  (Virtually worthless.)  All awards are free and are issued on a first-come-first-served basis.  (But please include a $25.00 processing fee.)  Awards and contest period ends 31 December 2010.  "Good luck in the contest!"

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"SHOW US YOUR SHACK" 
"SHOW US YOUR SHACK" is at: http://www.emcomm.org/em/shacks       
• Send a picture of you AND your shack (all in one frame and in JPG or JPEG format) to: k6soj@wrrl.org     
- -

FEATURE ARTICLE

 

Query: "I am interested in emergency service radio.  This past February we had a blizzard which is unusual for this part of the country.  I live in north central West Virginia near the WV. PA. border.  For four days Ham Radio was the only reliable form of communication with the western end of Monongalia county.  We accomplished this through our repeater.  This made me think, what if the repeater went down?  How would we communicate?  Which brings me to the point of this email.  I would like to establish an NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave), net here so when another emergency occurs we will have another tool in our tool box to work with.  The problem is I don't know where to start. Most of the Hams in this area that I have talked to seem to be interested but don't know any more about where to start than I do.  I just discovered your web site and thought you might be able to shed some light on the subject.  Any ideas or information you can provide would be greatly appreciated." - Larry Wiley, KC8AYW, Morgantown, WVA

WHEN REPEATERS FAIL
Reliance upon repeaters or repeater systems for emergency communications is not wise.  It is not uncommon for a repeater to fail, or be knocked out by some external force (e.g.- lightning, high winds, etc.).  Repeaters can also be very "political."

Since the beginning of radio, the focus by most amateurs has been to see how far they can reach out with their signals.  While DXing is an enjoyable pastime, it is rarely needed for emcomm, DON'T RULE IT OUT COMPLETELY FOR PUBLIC SERVICE!  The ability to effectively pass traffic over long distances is often important, even lifesaving!

HF signals propagate either by a) line-of-sight; b) ground-wave (follows the contours of the earth); or c) sky-wave.  Line-of-sight is usually good for a few miles. 
Ground-wave is usually good from about 20 to 50 miles.  NVIS sky-wave takes over at about 50 miles, and depending upon the frequency selected is good out to 500 miles.  Beyond that, we are in the general area of low-angle DX.

NEAR AND FAR
Very often, a 40 meter signal at mid-day, can be heard near and far, all three types of propagation at the same time!  To explain propagation, whether low-angle DX or NVIS, or somewhere in-between, I often use this illustration:  Just as a billiard ball can be bounced toward a particular pocket by controlling the angle that it hits the bumper of the pool table, so do radio signals "bounce" (actually refract is more descriptive) off the ionosphere.  Now, envision the earth as a round pool table with the ionosphere as the circumference or boundary.  This "bumper" is constantly expanding and/or contracting in concentric circles, and varies in density often depending upon the time of day, the season, recent solar activity and/or the sun-spot cycle.  This phenomena is a science unto itself and is not the subject here.  Just know that for local and regional emcomm, NVIS HF (usually in the 40 and 75/80 meter bands) can provide reliable communications over mountain ranges and under the most extreme conditions.  The big advantage is that we are not dependent upon some remote mechanical device.

NVIS MADE SIMPLE
I (and others) have experimented with simple (1/2 wave doublet, G5RV, etc.) wire HF NVIS antennas as low as actually lying on the ground to 3 feet above ground, and they work amazingly well!  A lot depends upon ground (earth) conductivity and how far down below the surface the moisture content may be.  However, I recommend that any antenna be at least 8 ft. above the ground to prevent someone from tripping over it.

Remember that the higher you elevate a flat (horizontal) antenna (e.g. a simple wire doublet or G5RV) above earth ground, the more the NVIS effect will be lessened.  A little height will allow for better line-of-sight and ground-wave propagation. I find that 25-30 ft above the earth works fairly well both near and far.  Also the higher you go, the more directional it will be.   An Inverted V antenna, at any height, will be less directional, but the NVIS effect will be less than a "flat-top."

Reference:  http://www.emcomm.org/projects/nvis.htm

OTHER "REPEATER FREE" OPTIONS
Also, to avoid reliance upon repeater(s), don't rule out VHF simplex.  Don't believe the myth that VHF is strictly "line-of-sight!"  I routinely communicate PTP (Point-To-Point) over 50 miles on 2 meter FM simplex using only a simple ground plane antenna 20 ft. up...and with a mountain range between my station and the other!   And over 100 miles routinely using a 13 element Yagi.  I also communicate 300 miles on 2 meter SSB and/or CW using a 13 element Yagi (horizontal polarized).  A skilled relay operator in the right location doubles these ranges!  Also, consider six meters simplex FM, SSB, CW for emcomm.

REGULAR NETS

There are so many variables, regular participation in nets will provide you with the experience and knowledge of what works and what doesn't!

As far as of lack of interest in serious emcomm by hams is concerned...I wish I had the answer!  All you can do is to try to explain that skilled and disciplined operators become that way and also maintain their skills by regularly participating in regularly-scheduled properly-run (non-repeater) public service nets.  If there isn't one in your area...why not start one?

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EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCTS

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RADIOGRAM TRAINING DVD
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REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION
 
• ICS-ARCT GUIDE:  www.emcomm.org/ARCT/    
• WRRL ARCT Page www.wrrl.org/arct_program/

• TRAFFIC HANDLER’S CHALLENGE: http://www.emcomm.org/thc  
• OPERATING PROCEDURES:  www.wrrl.org/operating  
• PHONETICS: www.wrrl.org/operating/itu_phonetics.htm  
• RADIOTELEPHONE PROCEDURES: www.wrrl.org/operating/icao_radiotelephony.htm      

• GEAR AND EQUIPMENT LIST: www.emcomm.org       (Click on GEAR CHECK LIST)

• FEMA TRAINING COURSES:  http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/IS/crslist.asp       
• FEMA TRAINING COURSE IS-700 (NIMS): http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is700a.asp  
• ARRL FSD-218.  The famous “pink card” that contains (almost) “everything you ever needed to know about RADIOGRAMS”.
  An electronic version of FSD-218 is at: http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/#fsd-218       
• NTS page by W7ARC: http://www.w7arc.com/nts       
• NATIONAL TRAFFIC SYSTEM (NTS) Methods and Practices Guidelines: http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/       
• PACIFIC AREA TRAFFIC NETS:  http://home.earthlink.net/~k7bfl/nwnets.html       
• MARITIME MOBILE SERVICE NETWORK: http://mmsn.org/    
• BEAUFORT WINDSPEED SCALE:  http://www.zetnet.co.uk/sigs/weather/Met_Codes/beaufort.htm       
• NOAA/NWS WINDCHILL CHART: http://www.weather.gov/os/windchill/index.shtm       
• STANDARD TIME ZONE SCALE:  http://www.travel.com.hk/region/timezone.htm  
• HOSPITAL DISASTER SUPPORT COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM (HDSCS):  http://www.hdscs.org       
• U. S. AIR FORCE Search and Rescue SURVIVAL MANUAL MIRROR SIGNALING (AFM 64-5 Aug. 1969)
   http://www.emcomm.org/drawings/Mirror_Signaling_mid.jpg       
 
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ABOUT ADDRESS CHANGES:  Every month, a varying number of EQ are returned as "undeliverable addressee unknown" or "rejected due to containing possible objectionable material".  Our very limited, all-volunteer staff does not have the time, energy, or desire to track down everyone who changes their email address and forgets to notify us.  Also, if a subscriber installs a "spam filter" or a "parental control device" and neglects to tell the filter that it's "OK to let  EQ  pass through", we do not have time or patience to jump through secret hoops, or solve puzzles, to allow us to send email to you.

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SEARCH FEATURE AT EMCOMM.ORG  www.emcomm.org       
 

The opinions expressed by individual contributors do not necessarily reflect the EQ philosophy, the editorial position of EQ, or its staff.

 

ARES® and Amateur Radio Emergency Service® are registered service marks of the

American Radio Relay League Inc., and are used with permission.


For permission to reproduce material in EMCOMM QUARTERLY and EMCOMM MONTHLY
contact: D. W. Thorne at: k6soj@wrrl.org    or write:
EMCOMM, P.O. Box 99, Macdoel, CA  96058  U.S.A.


EQ STAFF (also WRRL Board of Directors):
D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ - Editor and Publisher - k6soj@wrrl.org   
Jerry Boyd, N7WR - Associate Editor and ICS Advisor - n7wr@wrrl.org       

Bill Frazier, W7ARC - Associate Editor and Webmaster - w7arc@wrrl.org       
Ed Ewell, K7DXV - Technical Advisor - k7dxv@wrrl.org       
Ed "FB" Trump, AL7N - Traffic Editor and Alaska Correspondent - l.trump@att.net 
(View "bios" at: http://www.wrrl.org/staff.asp pictures at: http://www.wrrl.org/shacks/default.asp

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EMCOMM QUARTERLY -- The Official Journal of the World Radio Relay League - WRRL®

EQ is published four times a year (March, June, September and December) and is copyrighted (c) 2010 - All rights reserved.
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