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                       Dedicated to Emergency Communications by RADIO
        EMCOMM  MONTHLY   
                           
“PREPAREDNESS is our most important PRODUCT”               
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VOL.  2 -- No. 3                    ONLINE: www.emcomm.org/em/                        August  2005
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CONTENTS:
SHORT CIRCUITS
The EM PHILOSOPHY
FEEDBACK
The EM ADVISOR
NETWORK NEWS including "Net of the Month"
EMCOMM TRAFFIC
RETRO REVIEW "Relaying Third Party Traffic"
QSH
STATION & OPERATOR NEWS
SHOW US YOUR SHACK
FEATURE ARTICLE - "Records and Reports" 
EMCOMM SPECIALTY ITEMS
NEW SUBSCRIBERS and CONTRIBUTORS
SUPPORT OUR SUPPORTERS
REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION
 
SHORT CIRCUITS

• NIMS NEWS
It is projected that NIMS (National Incident Management System) compliance requirements will be phased in soon.  2005 has been designated as a "NIMS ramp-up year".  Full NIMS compliance may be required by the end of 2006.  (We have received a few reports that in some states public service agencies are already requiring amateur radio volunteers to take the basic NIMS Training.  EM suggests that all emcomm operators take the NIMS IS-700 Course which is available on line (free) as soon as possible.  The course is relatively easy and can be completed in three hours or less.  Links to NIMS resources and the FEMA training:
http://www.nimsonline.com/
http://www.fema.gov/nims/
http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is700.asp
 
• ARCT NEWS
NIMS Integration Center (NIC) Resource Planning and Coordination Branch is currently reviewing ARCT Resource Typing www.emcomm.org/ARCT/index.html  Since most resources are categorized into four types,  the original five ARCT Types may be reduced to four.  (If so, ARCT TYPE III would be eliminated, TYPE IV would then become TYPE III and TYPE V would become TYPE  IV.)  Stay tuned...  (NOTE:  Read more on this topic in EM ADVISOR.) -- Editor.

• ERRATA  (Corrected from  "MORE TIPS FOR GOOD VOICE AND NET OPERATING" - July EM):
DO - Avoid the "Good Old Boy syndrome".  Sure, many net stations have been regulars for years.  You all know each other by your first names and can recognize each operator by their voice.  A newcomer, who has just checked in for the first time, will feel estranged if he or she feels like they have just stepped into a clique and will rarely stick around...or return.  Being able to recognize each other by voice...does not excuse any of you from always using good net operating practices.
DON'T - DO WHAT (SOME) OTHERS DO!   INSTEAD...SET THE STANDARD FOR GOOD NET OPERATIONS!

• SEARCH and RESCUE
Gary Wilson, K2GW, SEC South New Jersey has brought it to our attention that the GROUND-TO-AIR EMERGENCY CODE formerly listed in EM's REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION at:  http://www.emcomm.org/drawings/Ground_to_Air_Emergency_Code_mid.jpg is obsolete.
For the current GROUND-TO-AIR EMERGENCY CODE and other information go to: http://www.faa.gov/ATpubs/AIM/Chap6/aim0602.html
NOTE: This site lists telephone numbers of RESCUE COORDINATION CENTERS.  Use this information with discretion.  DO NOT CALL AN RCC EXCEPT FOR LIFE AND DEATH EMERGENCIES.  WHEN IN DOUBT CONTACT YOUR LOCAL SAR COORDINATOR OR 9-1-1 CENTER
All serious EMCOMM operators should be aware of this information.  It is suggested that a copy be printed out and kept on file.

• SAN FRANCISCO ARES
Dave Gomberg, NE5EE, ARRL Official Emergency Station San Francisco has asked us to mention that SF ARES® now has items for sale as a  "FUN-Draising" program.  Details are at:  http://www.wcf.com/sfares/fun

• OLD FASHIONED SERVICE STILL EXISTS
Last year I ordered 200 picture QSL cards from Rusprint of Independence, Missouri. http://www.rusprint.com/   I recently discovered that my call sign had been inadvertently omitted from the front side of 100 of the cards.  I contacted the owner of Rusprint, Darryl Harding and 100 replacement cards (at no charge) were on their way to my P.O. Box within two weeks.  It's reassuring to know that good "old fashioned" (and efficient) customer service still exists! - de K6SOJ

• ARRL NATIONAL SIMULATED EMERGENCY TEST DATE "S-E-T" -- OCTOBER 1-2, 2005 
 
• EM AVAILABLE IN PLAIN TEXT
Visually impaired subscribers who use an email-to-audio conversion program, and/or other subscribers whose computer will not process email in HTML format; may request EMCOMM MONTHLY in plain text format.
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The EM PHILOSOPHY

     EM believes that every radio amateur has a moral and patriotic obligation to give something back to his or her community and country.  But we are realistic.  We would be happy if 10% (60,000) of all U.S. radio amateurs obtained the training, skill and experience and be ready to perform this vital service to the public.   EM believes that every EmComm operator should strive to learn all the skills that he or she is capable of, to perfect our art, always practice good operating procedures, and by remaining active (on-the-air); thereby grow and excel in the abilities needed to provide a useful and reliable communications service to the public
OUR GOAL: 60,000 Trained, Skilled, Experienced EMCOMM Operators and Stations Ready and Willing to Serve the Public
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FEEDBACK,  MUSINGS... and SPURIOUS EMISSIONS
 
FROM THE PELICAN STATE
"Greetings, and thanks again for an interesting newsletter.  Liked your section on how to simplify the traffic system.  As manager of central area net daytime I've said for a long time that area nets should be in conformance with time zone boundaries helping folks understand the routing scheme better.  I am a former STM in Iowa when I was KBØRUU.  I now work closely with Frank Thrash, W4DLZ, who is the Louisiana STM.  Our station at University and Charity Hospitals is active on HF through UHF. I activate the station at least two days a week participating in NTS nets from the section to area level both on phone and CW.

Re. the operator in the Bahamas who wants to make contact with stateside regularly, I suggest that he can always make contact using the Maritime Mobile Service Net on 14.300 MHz.  MMSN net control operators (of which I am one) have the latest bulletins available whenever tropical storm activity is present in the Atlantic Caribbean
and/or Gulf of Mexico and transmit these bulletins at least twice hourly.  We're always glad to assist any station with emergency traffic.
                                                                                                                  -- Richard Webb, NF5B, New Orleans
 
COMMENT:  C6ASK on Abaco Island was specifically looking for a Florida station to maintain direct contact during hurricane activity.  VHF 2 or 6 meters would be ideal if it would traverse the distance.  If FM VHF does not work, SSB or CW VHF might do the job with the right antenna.  I hope they run some experiments and report back to EM.  The next best option would probably be NVIS on 80 and/or 40M.  (I don't know if 60M is legal in the Bahamas.)

While 20M may work at times the signals would probably go right over Florida under normal conditions.  Of course a MMSN station that is far enough away to have a signal path on 20M with the Bahamas could always relay to Florida via NTS circuits.   If 600 meters (500 kHz) ever becomes a reality...it could well be the best solution.  But we won't hold our breath! -- Editor
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TELEPHONE, INTERNET, GPS SHUT DOWN PLANS?
"During the tsunami warning last month, it was reported to me that many of the landline telephones in San Francisco did not work:  no (or presumably long-delayed) dial tone.  Inasmuch as there was no capability disruption, this had to be a result of blocking traffic.  So, even for a false alarm (tsunami, terrorism, whatever) the phones can be predicted to go down.  As NOAA Weather Radio Stations implement SAME alerts -- Specific Area Message Encoding --  word will get out pretty quickly of a new risk,  which is of course exactly what is supposed to happen.  But this too will likely result in blocking traffic.  When the phones block, public safety radio systems may not be far behind, because there may be events on the ground that end up eating a lot of bandwidth, even on trunked systems.  In this sort of scenario, all the hardware is fine, all the software is operating up to spec, but there is simply too much demand put on the systems.  Radio networks such as ACS, RACES and ARES may be the only available routes for message traffic at times like this -- and these scenarios assume that nothing bad has in fact yet happened.  Food for thought I hope." -- Bart Lee,  KV6LEE, San Francisco

COMMENT:  Thanks for bringing this up Bart.  There has been a lot of discussion, speculation, and rumors about this topic.  I have also heard that plans exist to shut down the Internet and/or the GPS during incidents.  I checked with EM's Associate Editor and ICS Advisor, Jerry Boyd, N7WR (who also is the 9-1-1 Chief of Operations for Baker County, Oregon).  Jerry says: "The government, in concert with the wireless carriers has had in place for a number of years, a process known as "priority restoration".  Key government owned telephones and those used by key government officials (Emergency managers, police and fire chiefs, etc.) will be allowed to remain operational (assuming the system is "up") even when John Q. Public's access is denied.  If the system goes "down" they will be the first back on when the system is restored.  One of the problems is that priority restoration lists are not well maintained.  Customers who were originally placed on the "list", and no longer should be, may still be on it.  And, many who should have been added have not been, and those who have changed their cell phone number or provider and haven't "re-registered" may think they have priority registration...but do not."
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NNX OR NXX?
(Ref. RETRO REVIEW - July EM  "In the article where Ed Trump says: 'In the USA and Canada, use the form NPA-NXX-NNNN that will greatly aid expeditious message delivery.'   I believe it should be NPA-NNX-NNNN where NNX is National Number Exchange." -- Vern Ferris, W4NEK, Orange Park, Florida
 
COMMENT: (by Ed "FB" Trump, AL7N) "As to the "NPA-NXX-NNNN" question...It was originally NPA (Numbering Plan Area), NNX (Local Exchange Identifier) and then NNNN (local dial number). However, with the expansion of the direct dialing network, more number combinations were needed for the local exchange designations so now it is usually considered to be NXX instead of NNX.  A minor point really, since the middle three digit number group still represents the local exchange code.  The NXX is not completely network unique, as there may be the same local exchange codes located within different NPA's. (Example: There may be a 443 NXX local exchange code in NPA 907, and also a local exchange code (NXX) 443 in NPA 406, etc.) Overall, though...the telephone number in the form NPA-NXX-NNNN will be a unique number in the Public Dial Network: Number Plan area, Local Exchange Code, Local dial number."  (Ed is the Alaska Section Traffic Manager (STM) and is employed by AT&T.  I agree that this is a minor point and I'm wondering why I am publishing it...other than it may come in handy sometime for those who enjoy playing the super-duper-advanced version of Trivial Pursuit®!  - Editor)
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ABOUT CALLING / GUARD FREQUENCIES

"3711 is popular with CW operators like myself and many others. If we promote 3711 as a GUARD • MONITOR • CALLING • EMCOMM frequency, it won't be long before people start to tell ops that the frequency is for emergency use.  A mind set will develop and casual use of the 3711 will be discouraged.  I am about to buy a few 3711 crystals for my novice transmitters.  At some point 3711 will probably be reallocated to HF SSB not CW anyway.  Maybe it would be better to have the monitor frequency down the band where CW will most likely still be accepted. (below 3.600 MHz).  Any thoughts on that?" -- Monte Allen, W9BMW/7, La Center, Washington

COMMENT:  When 3711 kHz "and up" was originally listed as a GUARD • MONITOR • CALLING • EMCOMM frequency, we were aware that 3710 kHz was the "old" QRP calling frequency in the "old" novice sub-band.  The idea was to be able to hear stations on 3710 (if one was monitoring 3711 without a narrow filter) and move up a few kHz.  The idea also was that anyone calling for assistance on 3711 might be heard (and helped) by a station monitoring 3710.  I monitored 3710 for days on end and heard very little activity.  I still hear very little on 3710 or 3711.  The use of "11" in all of these (1911, 3711, 7111) is intended to promote quick recall for distress and emergency frequencies (as in "call 9-1-1").  If it ever gets so busy on 3711 that we have to "move up"...I would be ecstatic!  If  the current CW sub-bands are ever approved for voice operation...I will NOT be ecstatic!  The next nail in the coffin of amateur radio (after Morse requirements are eliminated), will be to eliminate the current CW sub-bands.  I would suggest that you go ahead and order those 3711 crystals...with that "channel" being promoted, you may have many more contacts!  The idea is NOT to limit 3711 to emergency use only...it was hoped that it would become a monitoring / calling frequency.  I'm sure that you'll agree that...an active frequency...is the first place we'd go to call for assistance.  And I hope that no one ever tells you that 3711 is for emergency use only.  -- Editor

NATIONAL HF WATCH • MONITOR • CALLING • GUARD FREQUENCIES
Over the past few years lightweight highly portable HF rigs have become popular and are increasingly being carried into wilderness areas.  HF mobile units are more common than ever.  EM believes that it is high time to implement NATIONAL HF WATCH • MONITOR • CALLING • GUARD FREQUENCIES.  (They were once a reality in the U.S.)  Some operators on the West Coast of North America monitor the RADIO WATCH and CALLING FREQUENCIES listed below.  We would be honored if public service amateurs everywhere were to begin to monitor these frequencies anytime they are in their shacks or mobile.
 
GUARD • MONITOR • CALLING • EMCOMM
• SSB 7232 kHz DAYTIME / 3987 kHz NIGHTTIME
• CW  7111 kHz DAYTIME / 3711 kHz NIGHTTIME
• ALASKA WATCH:  3540  / 7042 kHz/14050 kHz
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THE EM ADVISOR

Q:
"I found your web site tonight and had been asked tonight at a RACES meeting is it possible to get grant money for emergency equipment for the races team for communications with the local EMA?  If it is possible where should we look to obtain this information?  The equipment we have in Tennessee is changing and the cost of the new equipment being put into place is way more than the races group here can afford, but the need to be in contact with the EMA department is a must.  If you have any answers to these questions please let me know."  -- Chris Brazzell, KF4WNB, WTARS President 2005, Madison Co. EOC RACES Officer and Madison Co. AEC
 
A:  Since RACES units operate under the control of (and are supported by) a local or state government agency (Office of Civil Defense and/or Office of Emergency Services);  I suggest you contact your agency's radio or communications officer or manager.  These people usually know what funds may be available for communications gear.  Over the past couple of years there seems to have been plenty of tax payer's money available under the banner of "homeland security".  (And of course the usual subsequent feeding frenzy.)  Much of our hard-earned money has been spent on expensive communications gear (that may never be properly used).  Of course if amateur radio operators were doing their job properly an effective national emcomm / traffic system (ref. July EM ) would be a reality and could save the tax-payers considerable money.  I have no idea if there is any money left in the trough, or if there will be any more available in the future.  - Editor
--
Q: "I have been looking closely at your ARCT information.  I think it is great, and the 2004 fires seem to bear out that it works.  I am considering using this as our ARESMAT model, thinking that the minimum we would want to send out of the section would be an ARCT Type 1.  What do you consider as the minimum training or competency for the Type 1 members, or for all of the team members for that matter?  My first thoughts are ARECC Level 1 course for everyone, possibly also both the ICS and NIMS introductory classes (FEMA self study).  Maybe also the ARECC Level 2 course for the team leads." -- Jerry Reimer, KK5CA, SEC South Texas

A:  Good question, Jerry.  Your thoughts seem pretty close to what I would suggest.  But with this caveat:

The ARCT system http://www.emcomm.org/ARCT/index.html was intended to provide a reasonable level of standardization, and YET remain somewhat flexible and adaptable to various EmComm units (including non-ARES® units).  Specific team requirements were intentionally avoided to allow for local customs and patterns.  Over the past 18 months we have received a few "far out"  and "how we should do it" suggestions.  (Some wanted us to specify certain types of equipment and even brand names!)  The original plan was in development for nearly two years and input from many EMCOMM leaders (both government and non-government) from around the country was solicited and reviewed before it was published in the December 2004 and January 2005 issues of QST.
 
ARCT "typing" is not limited to ARESMAT.  It works well at the local level as well as at the section (and beyond) level.  We encourage all EMCOMM units to use the ARCT model in public service events, drills, and exercises.  (NOTE: Some local ARES® units may have a difficult time putting together a single ARCT TYPE I.)

However, as you and I both know, there is "the ideal"...and then there is "the reality".  As leaders we often have to accept what may less than "ideal".  (This is applicable for both the hardware we use, as well as the human resource factor.  While we should always aim high and promote excellence...often we must work with and accept what is not perfect...but what is available.  I often have compared the ARES® to the "home guard" in Britain during W.W.II.  (A bunch of dedicated old men (and some women) volunteers, doing the best they could with what they had.)  Of course, there must be certain minimum operating standards.

The primary and essential requirement is:   CAN A DEPLOYED ARCT... DO THE JOB?  (AND DO IT RIGHT!)

A certificate and a pedigree are no guarantee that a dog will hunt.   A file full of certificates, and a list of courses completed, and even a fancy title, are no guarantee that an emcomm operator (or even a whole team) can communicate and deliver a high volume of messages accurately and in a timely manner!

While the formal courses have generally been good for the amateur radio public service, there are (more than anyone would like to admit) too many hams that have taken the courses (mostly paid for by the tax-payers of course), received a nice piece of wallpaper, never to be heard from again.

On the other hand, many existing qualified ARES® operators have taken one or more of the courses and learned something new.  Those who were good operators before taking the course(s)...are now better operators.  And, those who were active EmComm operators before taking the course(s)...are still active.  And,  there are those who have taken the courses who were lousy operators before....and they are still lousy operators.  In other words, those who were lids before taking the courses...are now lids with certificates.  I also know ARES® members who have taken all three courses, who (before taking the course) were never available when they were needed.  They still are “unavailable” except for checking to a net to say "howdy".

FINALLY:  It is up to the SEC, DEC and/or EC to do what it takes to ensure that his/her team can get the job done!  (And if all members have certificates...all the better.)  The essential question that must always be asked is:   CAN A DEPLOYED ARCT GET THE JOB DONE... AND GET IT DONE RIGHT?
The finest tradition of the amateur radio service is this:  “IMPROVISE...ADAPT...OVERCOME” - Editor
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NETWORK NEWS
Schedules and updates on regional, national, and international EMCOMM and TRAFFIC nets.
NETWORK NEWS is not intended to duplicate other resources such as:
ARRL Net Directory:
  (ISBN: 0-87259-835-7) #8357 $5.00
ARRL Net Search:
www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nets/client/update.html
EMCOMM.ORG NET DIRECTORY PAGE:  www.emcomm.org/netdirectory/
 
NET-OF-THE-MONTH:  K4WCF  "West Central Florida Country"
ARRL West Central Florida Section Nets:

VHF/UHF nets are held on the NI4CE repeater system on
145.29 (St. Petersburg) 146.760 (Holiday) & 145.430, and 442.950 (Verna)
All require 100.0 Hz Sub-audible tone.  

Day(s)    Net Name                                       Time (ET)   Frequency(s)
Daily     Eagle Net   (WCF Florida Section Traffic Net)  8:30 PM     NI4CE/R
Sunday    West Central Florida Section Weekly (VHF/UHF)  7:30 PM     NI4CE/R
Monday    Morse Code Practice                            7:30 PM     NI4CE/R
Monday    West Central Florida Section ARES Net          9:00 PM     NI4CE/R
Tuesday   Open                                           7:00 PM     NI4CE/R
Wednesday Open                                           9:00 PM     NI4CE/R
Thursday  WCF Technical Net                              9:00 PM     NI4CE/R
Friday    Open  
Saturday  WCF Section HF Net                             8:30 AM     3.911 MHz LSB (7.281 MHz alt.)
West Central Florida Section URL: http://www.arrlwcf.org/
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RADIO WATCH • MONITOR • GUARD • CALLING • EMCOMM TRAFFIC
• REGIONAL SSB 7232 kHz DAYTIME / 3987 kHz NIGHTTIME
• REGIONAL CW  7111 kHz DAYTIME / 3711 kHz NIGHTTIME
• ALASKA WATCH - 3540 / 7042 kHz / 14.050 MHz
• NEVADA ARES® MONITOR/CALLING SSB:  3965 ± kHz SSB
• NATIONAL RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK: 7068 / 10122 / 14050 kHz •
• WEST COAST NET (WCN) Slow Speed Traffic/Training Daily 1900 Pacific 3702 kHz
• IMRA TRAFFIC NET (INTERNATIONAL MISSION RADIO ASSOCIATION) 14.280 MHz USB M-F 1800Z (summer) 1900Z (winter)
• NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AMATEUR STATION:  http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/w4ehw/ 
• HURRICANE
FREQUENCY LISTINGS:
http://www.qsl.net/g3yrc/hurricane.htm
• ARES® 146.55 MHz
• ARES®/Red Cross 147.42 MHz
• NATIONAL CALLING (and Wilderness Protocol) 146.52 MHz 
• WILDERNESS PROTOCOL (ref. June 1996 QST, page 85).
Primary frequency: 146.52 MHz (FM simplex). Secondary frequencies: 446.0, 223.5, 52.525 and 1294.5 MHz.  All stations (both fixed, portable or mobile) monitor the primary (and secondary if possible) frequency(s) every three hours starting at 7:00 am local time, for five minutes (7:00-7:05 AM, 10:00-10:05 AM, etc.)  Additionally, stations that have sufficient power resources monitor for five minutes starting at the top of every hour, or continuously."
 
WINCOM NETWORK - 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 1930 Pacific Time  on 3987 kHz (down). 
     WINCOM is primarily for EmComm stations in  Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, Oregon, Montana but stations anywhere within range are welcome.
Scheduled nets are on the  1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 1930 Pacific Time  on 3987 kHz (down). 
     The WINCOM NETWORK may be activated during disasters, communications system failures, and other emergency incidents as a regional SSB network for tactical and/or formal EMCOMM traffic.  WINCOM is not intended to replace local or section ARES® or RACES nets, but rather to supplement and provide regional support across section and state boundaries by skilled operators who know each other and work together on a regular basis.
     EMCOMM stations are encouraged to monitor and/or use these frequencies for routine calling and for a RADIO WATCH during actual or potential incidents.  (During actual events move message traffic at least 5 kHz up or down.)  Nighttime: 3987 kHz (down) 1982 kHz (down) alternate).  Daytime: 7232 kHz (up)
NOTE: These frequencies may be in use for other scheduled state or regional nets.  E.g. - The JNN is daily at 1200 Pacific on 7232 kHz SSB.  
 
REGIONAL EMCOMM NET LIST AVAILABLE
EM maintains a roster of REGIONAL EMCOMM NETS.  These are active ARES and other EMCOMM nets (RACES and club nets are not listed).  It lists VHF and HF  local, district, state and regional nets in Washington, California, Oregon, Nevada, and Alaska.  For a current copy of the list contact: k6soj@arrl.net
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EMCOMM TRAFFIC

“For want of a letter, a word was lost.   For want of a word, the message was lost.   For want of a message, a life was lost.”
THE “TRAFFIC HANDLER’S MANTRA”  (Recite often to help remember the eight parts in preamble):
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
NUMBER 
PRECEDENCE HX STATION OF ORIGIN CHECK PLACE OF ORIGIN TIME
DATE
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RETRO REVIEW  - “EMCOMM viewed through the Retrospect-O-Scope”
 
"RELAYING THIRD PARTY MESSAGE TRAFFIC " - Part 2 of "Trump's Traffic Trilogy" -- Ed "FB" Trump, AL7N

The stated objectives of the ARRL National Traffic System are stated in the Public Service Methods and Procedures Guidelines:

"The primary objective of these methods and protocols is to facilitate transmission of a properly formatted written formal message from point A to point B such that it arrives exactly as written on the original copy, group for group, character for character, space for space. Messages filed in the NTS must be capable of being transmitted by any mode without message alteration being required.  Voice and CW nets must be run with methods and protocols to operate effectively and uniformly so that message traffic may be exchanged with efficiency. Stations operating in the NTS have the responsibility to promptly relay messages along, deliver messages in a timely fashion, or service undeliverable messages back to the originator. Stations must honor this responsibility. Stations operating in the NTS interface directly with the public and served agencies representing all of Amateur Radio. Stations must represent us all well. The methods and protocols of the NTS MPG are intended to facilitate achieving these objectives. "

Recent observations indicate these objectives are not being met at any acceptable level in the National Traffic System today.   There is sufficient evidence that many problems exist in the relaying process from station-to-station, net-to-net, and area-to-area across the country.  The problems are not related to the use of any of the current modes or methods used in relaying third party messages.  The newer digital modes appear to have problems as well as the more traditional CW and SSB or VHF-FM voice modes.

Perhaps part of the problem stems from lack of training or some other lack of understanding among many of the newer amateurs on the air today. Those who engage in third party written message handling in the Amateur Service need to understand that a certain amount of COMMITMENT is required whether it is done for the enjoyment of it or as a part of emergency preparedness planning and training.  There is an indication that the shortcomings have been recognized by the ARRL as is evidenced by the recent emphasis on the ARECC training that is now being offered.
 
Some of the problems that have been noted in the NTS relaying processes are as follows:

1.  Altered texts.  The message text does not arrive at destination exactly as it was sent at origination. It appears the message “content” is being relayed, rather than exactly what was to be sent in some instances.  Omissions in Preambles, Addresses, Text and Signatures are known to occur.
2.  Additions of  “Handling Extra” codes to message preamble during relaying, Changed points of origin, “additions” (such as telephone numbers) to address information, parts of addresses deleted en route during relaying.
3.  Some names and unusual words are relayed inaccurately.
4.  Message check does not agree with number of words/groups in text.

Some of these problems could be due to carelessness or lack of attention to detail during relay work; some could be due to lack of training.  Message handling information certainly is not hard to find. There are numerous publications by ARRL and many others available that adequately describe how to do the work.
There seem to be instances where messages are copied and relayed on without any proper verification that what was transmitted was actually correctly received.  Misuse of the correct way of “signing” for a message correctly and completely received appears to be a factor. Apparently, the word “ROGER” on voice mode, or "QSL" and “R” on CW is being used when in fact the message has not been properly and completely received and copied down. Perhaps not enough emphasis is being placed on the need to stop the sending operator and get repeats, verification or “fills” before completing the relay work.

Voice modes have unique relaying problems that do not exist in the CW or digital modes where character-by character or file transfer is used.  Because of this fact, considerable extra care must be taken to ensure sufficient accuracy is maintained.  Unfortunately, the English language has many words that sound the same but are spelled differently and/or have different meanings. (Example: “Four” vs. “for” etc.) Some names are troublesome. (Examples:  “Cathy” vs. “Kathy” or “Sara” vs. “Sarah”, “John” vs. “Jon” etc.). 

SSB and sometimes VHF-FM can distort the sound of certain words enough to cause them to be copied incorrectly. (Example: “Fifty” vs. “Sixty” etc).
Plural versus Singular can be easily misunderstood. (Example: “Meeting” vs. “Meetings” or “Slide” vs. “Slides” etc.).

Some state abbreviations can be miscopied or misused: (Example: “MA” is sometimes relayed as “Maine”; “PA” becomes “W VA” etc.) All operators need to learn the standard accepted abbreviations for all 50 states and use them. 

Careful message origination can reduce the potential for transmission errors but that is beyond the control of relay operators.  They must relay accurately what they receive no matter how strong the temptation is to “correct” perceived errors.  Message texts must be protected from alteration at all costs.  This is one place where little things DO matter.

If the message text is already messed up, don’t make things worse by trying to “fix” it without proper verification from the operator who sent it to you, or better yet from the originating station if possible.

Proper use of phonetics can aid message relaying in voice modes. However, care must be taken to use the standard ITU phonetic code words, not some cute variation that you dreamed up.  The meaning might be different to the receiving operator.  Learn and use the standard ITU Phonetic Code, always.

Some messages that you relay may not make sense to you.  Resist the urge to “edit” or “change” a message text in any way. Whatever it is the message conveys may make perfect sense to the sender and recipient.  As a relay operator, your only job is to see that it gets through unaltered and intact.  Remember:  “word-for-word, group-for-group, and character-for-character”.  That, and only that is your objective.

If some problem prevents prompt relaying beyond your station for an unacceptable period of time, service the originating station and request instructions...you might be requested to continue to attempt relay, or cancel the message.  However, NEVER throw a message away without direct permission to do so from the sender.  Either relay it or hold it and service it.

NEVER add “Handling Extra” codes in message preambles.  If using a “canned” message form in your computer to handle messages digitally, make sure this is not happening to messages that do not carry “HX” codes from origination.  Adding (or subtracting) “HX” codes is NOT optional with relaying stations. Never “add” information (such as telephone numbers) to message addresses.  The recipient may no longer be using the number in the listing(s) you have access to.  Relay only what the sender puts on the message. Delivering stations may need to look up numbers during the delivery process attempts, but NEVER-EVER “add” anything to a message when you are relaying it.

Never “shorten” or omit items in a message address.  Pass it on exactly as you receive it, even if the addressee is known to you.  There could be some need for all that information in the actual delivery process, which you as a relaying operator may be unaware of.

Keep accurate records of your message relaying work.  File the copies of all messages you handle with proper servicing information recorded on them.  Information such as date/time/frequency/call sign of station received from, and date/time/frequency/call sign of station sent to should be written on the message copy. Then you will be able to properly respond to any inquiry as to your disposition of any message that you handle, should the occasion arise. Note particularly if the message carries an “HXD” handling extra code and respond promptly with the appropriate service message to the originating station.  It is a good idea to keep copies of all messages handled through your station on file for a year, “just in case”.

Diligence and great care in relaying third party written messages is required of all participants in the National Traffic System.  If due regard is not paid to this requirement, all the effort of the other amateurs involved in the process is diminished or wasted.  Be a helpful part of the process, instead of part of the problem.
Relay properly with accuracy and timeliness!
 
NEXT MONTH: Part III "The Last Mile"

=========================================================================
 
QSH --  (I HAVE HUMOR FOR YOUR STATION)
EM’s Quiz, Survey, and [attempt at] Humor Section...
 
WARNING! -- EMCOMM MONTHLY may be habit forming!
EM
is not advertised "As seen on TV!" and it is not "found in finer stores everywhere", nor is it "available at your local news dealer".

COMING SOON...
AN EXCITING NEW EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCT!

--
EMCOMM STATION & OPERATOR NEWS
Alaska: STM AL7N STM has returned to Fairbanks and resumed radio watch on 3540, 7042 and 14050 kHz as continuously as possible 0200 to 1600Z daily.
after a 10,373 mile road trip to the Yukon, British Columbia,  Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming.
California:
KB6PNT has been experimenting with MMSSTV for transmitting photos during incidents.  TEAM RALLYECOM 2005: N2RSI, N2RSN, WB6AGR, KF6AFF, KB6YTD, K7DXV, KE6MZT, and K6SOJ provided communications for GOLDENWEST 2005 a two-day backcountry road rally in Northern California on July 23-24.  PILOT and SWEEP were on APRS so rally enthusiasts anywhere could follow the progress of the grueling event.
Louisiana:
See "FROM THE PELICAN STATE" in FEEDBACK (above).
Oregon: K7DXV has been busy maintaining multiple repeaters including several portable units for EMCOMM deployment.
Washington:
W7ARC is now a VE.  No, he hasn't moved to British Columbia, he is an ARRL VE (in addition to ARECC Mentor).  And, in spite of a "bum foot", Bill continues to be active in Red Cross Disaster Communications planning.  (And about forty other EMCOMM related activities!)
TO OUR READERS:  Send in short items about some improvement to your station, a recent activity, or some other accomplishment.
--
"SHOW US YOUR SHACK"
• Send a picture of you AND your shack (all in one frame and in JPG or JPEG format) to: k6soj@arrl.net
Our "SHOW US YOUR SHACK" page is at: http://www.emcomm.org/em/shacks/index.html
--
FEATURE ARTICLE

The “Records and Reports Officer” - RECORD KEEPING DURING INCIDENTS (and other times)
(An EM advanced studies training module)

The Incident Command System Organization chart has Incident Command at the top.  Information, Safety, and Liaison are "staff positions" directly under the IC.
The ratio of one supervisor/leader for every 4 (5 or 6 max) "supervisee's" is consistent throughout the ICS.  The second level of "command" has four categories:
Operations. Planning, Logistics and Finance/Administration.  Note that while Planning and Finance/Administration may have less personnel in any operation, it ranks at the same level as Operations and Logistics.
 
The COMMUNICATIONS UNIT is under the Service Branch of Logistics.  Amateur Radio Communications Teams (ARCTS) are under the COMMUNICATIONS UNIT.  While "your results may vary", this is close to the actual structure you will find in most places and on most operations.
 
Now, let us "zoom in" on the ARCT (EMCOMM) unit onlywww.emcomm.org/ARCT/index.html  The ratio of one leader for every 4 to 6 team members still applies).
The ARCT "typing" system requires that some team members to fulfill an extra (in addition to being a radio operator) specialized job.  One of these special (and very important) jobs on any incident is the “Records and Reports Officer”.  (Savvy ARES® and other EMCOMM leaders structure their ongoing day-to-day operations using the ARCT model.)

How should EMCOMM LEADERS approach this dreaded topic and convince others of its importance?  They could use the direct approach and just say "DO IT!"  Or, they could rely upon the old cliché:  "NO JOB IS COMPLETE UNTIL THE PAPER WORK IS FINISHED!"

Record keeping has been an integral part of amateur radio since its beginning.  Serious operators maintain a detailed station log even though it is no longer an FCC requirement.  Traffic handlers keep meticulous records.  DXers, "contesters", county hunters, DXCC chasers, grid square collectors, and "wall-paper" aficionados all keep meticulous records.  Why should "public service operators" be any different?

Record keeping is a nuisance to many.  Others grudgingly comply, calling it a necessary evil.  Yet for others it is rewarding and actually enjoyable.  But, no matter how you regard it...it is not an option for public service and emergency communications stations, operators and teams!  In other words consider it as being part of doing a good job!

Whether it's for a local bike-a-thon, or a major multi-section disaster; this essential task is often being neglected.  With amateur radio fighting for its survival, it's discouraging to read the Field Organization Reports in QST every month and see that less than half of our SECs ever bother to submit a monthly report.  That is a lot of amateur radio public service that is going unreported, and a lot of credit that is not being given when and where it is due!  Add to this all the RACES and other "agency specific" emcomm units and splinter groups, that do not report their public service activities to their local EC (who forwards the data to the SEC) and it is scandalous!  I once heard an ARES leader say:  "Why should I submit a monthly report when there is nothing to report?"  I say:  "If you have nothing to report, then you are not doing your job!"

WHY KEEP RECORDS AND SUBMIT REPORTS DURING INCIDENTS?
• To provide a quick and accurate reference system when an official wants some information.  (If kept up to date during an incident.)
• For legal reasons.  (Keep on file for at least 3 years)
• It promotes efficiency
• It's a mechanism to promote Volunteer Recognition
• Gives credit to amateur radio.  (When reported to ARRL national data base)
• It's just good business and looks "professional"
• ICS / SEMS / NIMS (and whatever it will be called next)  requires it

WHAT RECORDS SHOULD BE KEPT?
• Net Control (and other) Station logs with date/time, frequency/mode, operator, plus concise notes.
• ALL traffic...both tactical and formal.
• Volunteer hours (use time cards).  Include home duty, driving time, administration, etc.
• Expense records
• Information for narrative reports, anecdote, future newspaper and magazine articles
• "Unusual" incidents (and accidents).
• Photographic documentation. Pictures for public release should show hams in action doing communications.
(Media is not interested in pictures of rising smoke, flooding water, or hams sitting around drinking coffee!)

WHEN SHOULD RECORDS BE KEPT?

• All incidents LARGE or SMALL
• All drills and exercises
• All nets
• All training sessions
• Document "negative" occurrences (accurately) that you do not want to publicize.  (For legal reasons.)

WHO SHOULD DO THIS?

On large incidents the ARCT Leader (or an EC, DEC, or even the SEC) will designate a Records and Reports Officer.  On very large events there might even be a "R and R staff", (with a R and R Supervisor for each group of 4-6 clerks)!  On smaller incidents, the R and R function may be performed by the ARCT leader.  (Not necessarily the EC).   Or, he or she might delegate the R and R task to an assistant such an AEC or perhaps a team member who is not skilled enough, or comfortable with on-the-air operating during an incident.  It may even be a non-ham or a "ham in training".  For photo documentation, check with local colleges or photography clubs for amateur photographers who may are interested in doing a little volunteer work.  (They will need a "press pass" issued by IC.)

HOW IS AN ARCT ACTUALLY STRUCTURED?

ARCT Team Leader  (may or may not be the EC)
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Operations
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Logistics
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Planning and Scheduling
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Records and Reports  (An ARCT will not need a "finance officer", but a time keeper, and other records keeping are essential!)
(NOTE: Most of these lucky individuals will also have the privilege of receiving a duty operator assignment either at net control or as field operator!)

HERE ARE A FEW MORE GUIDELINES  (Excerpted from an actual SEC memo during a mutual assist/aid incident last year):
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TO: ARES ECs, AECs, DECs, SECs, OESs and SMs involved in SV fires
FROM: D W THORNE K6SOJ SV SEC
SUBJECT: STATISTICAL REPORTS FIRES
DATE/TIME: 23 AUG 04

We all want to make sure that ALL of the time, money, and energy that was DONATED by our dedicated ARES operators in the recent SV Section fires gets reported.  This is more than one "round of ammunition" in our battle to preserve out amateur radio privileges.  Some of you have asked about how to count volunteer hours for your AUGUST EC REPORTS (FSD-212)

1. Include ALL volunteer hours for those only on your team.  NOTE: Mutual assistance operator's time and expenses from the Nevada and San Francisco Sections should be reported to the appropriate SEC.  BUT I would like to have those hours, etc. copied to me, to provide a GRAND TOTAL for the SV fire incident(s) for a report to ARRL HQ.  (Please indicate if the hours are being reported by another section.)

2. Include time spent at home including time spent in planning sessions, packing for field assignment(s), monitoring and/or net control duty, (but only IF assigned and/or scheduled by an EC or AEC).  Be sure to include your own administrative hours!

3. Include travel time to and from the incidents.

4. ALL hours spent on duty at an incident. (don't count sleeping, etc.)

5. We only want to count a person's volunteer hours once.  In the case of mutual assistance workers, each EC (or whoever is doing the report) reports the hours for members from their own county.   E.g. - Volunteer hours of an ARES Operator who responded from Beaver County to Otter County, is reported by the EC from Beaver County.

6. Although it is not usually reported on FSD-212 please also add a list of:
- Total miles traveled on these incidents by your team members.
- Total "out-of-pocket" expenses (meals, lodging, etc., but don't include
  the cost of equipment purchased etc.)
- A reasonable (fair) estimate is acceptable.

Example: Beaver County - Total volunteer hours for incident:   921
(Should match "Emergency Operations this Month - Volunteer Hours on FSD-212)
         Beaver County - Total miles traveled by volunteers:   873
         Beaver County - Total out-of-pocket expenditures:  $1,300
(Include the last two in the "Comments" box of FSD-212)

I hope this is all clear.  If not, ask.

Thank you all for your cooperation!

D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ
SV SEC

====================================================================================================
EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCTS

!COMING!  A NEW EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCT!

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EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS  “License Plate”:
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•  View this item at:  http://www.emcomm.org/products/
•  Raised  BLACK letters on WHITE background
•  Durable Metal
•  6” x 12” with usual holes for mounting
•  Mount on vehicle
•  Place on visor or  in window
•  Space to "customize" with your county or city's name, or your call sign using one inch vinyl letters
   (available at hardware stores)
•  Use at fixed or field EMCOMM stations
•  MADE IN U.S.A!
•  $10.00 each or two for $18.00  [Postpaid to one address includes all applicable taxes]
Send check or money order and shipping address to:
       EMCOMM
       P O Box 99
       Macdoel, CA  96058
• Allow 2 weeks for delivery
 
TRAFFIC HANDLING SUPPLIES:
  
RADIOGRAM   RUBBER STAMP
• Use on plain paper
• Use on front of envelope
• 3/4” x 3” wood handle stamp
   Order: WRGS -  Wood handle (traditional) rubber stamp $10.00 each postpaid
   ($8.00 if ordered with Message Service Cross stamp (below)
• Send check or money order to:
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       P O Box 99
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• Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery
• View this item (in use) at:  http://www.emcomm.org/products/
 
"MESSAGE SERVICE CROSS"   RUBBER STAMP
• Makes the “record” part of record message traffic handling easy and efficient.
• Use on any message form or on plain paper.
• A message received and forwarded should be stamped twice (L lower / R lower).
• Check TOR (Time Received) or TOD (Time Delivered / Forwarded).
• Available in two styles:
     Order: SIRS   -  Self-inking rubber stamp - $15.00 each postpaid.
     Order: WHRS -  Wood handle (traditional) rubber stamp - $12.00 each postpaid.
• Order yours today!
• Specify style, quantity, and shipping address, and send check or money order to:
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• Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery
• View this item (in use) at:  http://www.emcomm.org/products/
 
NEW SUBSCRIBERS
• Gary Hollenbaugh, NJ8BB, Eaton, Ohio - ARES®, RACES, SKYWARN, MARS
• Roger Baldwin, KG6RAS, Encinitas, California - ARES®
• Jeff Chambers, KK7MQ, Chula Vista, California - RACES
• Brian A. Winslow, N7QLN, Auburn, Washington - City of Auburn, WA
• Eric Christianson, KE7DZZ, Sparks, Nevada
• William Hatfield, W3QX, Silver Spring, Maryland - Volunteer Staff OEM for Montgomery County and founder of County's CERT
• Dan Cameron, KF6HHH, Woodland, California - ARES®, SARCR
• Lyle Cable, K7LWC, Clarkston, Washington - Asotin County ARES® EC, RACES
• Noel Bertelson, KA7EZO, Rancho Cordova, California
• Bart Rowlett, WB6HQK, Torrance, California
• Neil Taylor, N4ION, Clanton, Alabama - SKYWARN, ARES®
• Ralph Short, AB7FI, Boise, Idaho - RACES, ARES®
• David Blankenburg, KD7CMA, Las Vegas, Nevada - Clark County ARES®, RACES
• Chuck Minton, KG6FFK, Meadow Vista, California - ARES®
• Win Matten, KO6UG, Portola, California
• James Fuller, N7VR, Billings, Montana - ARES® (SEC), SAR, DHS/FEMA, MARS

RECENT CONTRIBUTORS - Thank you for your support!
(The individuals listed below have made recent donations to help EMCOMM MONTHLY and EMCOMM.ORG survive.)
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  P.O. Box 309
  Silver Springs, NV 89429
(Amateur Radio Books, ARRL patches, decals and other supplies)
 
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(503) 531 4081
665 SW 167th Ave.
Beaverton, OR  97006
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(Manufacturer of the RADS 9-11 Rapid Antenna Deployment System)
  
The Wireless Store
Manufacturer Distributor Niljon Antennas
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EMCOMM.ORG and EMCOMM MONTHLY do not accept commercial advertising.  However, we list vendors who offer products specifically of interest or value to EmComm and who make periodic contributions.  If you would like your company to be listed in SOS - SUPPORT OUR SUPPORTERS send a brief mention of your company and it's products (see examples above) and a donation to: EMCOMM, P. O. Box 99 Macdoel, CA  96058 - If you have further questions just ask.

REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION
 
• ICS-ARCT GUIDE: 
www.emcomm.org/ARCT/
• TRAFFIC HANDLER’S CHALLENGE:  www.emcomm.org (click bar on main page).
• TRAINING ARCHIVES:
www.emcomm.org/svares/training/index.html
• PHONETICS: www.emcomm.org/svares/training/itu_phonetics_10_30_2001.htm
• NVIS PROPAGATION MAPS - http://www.w0ipl.com/ECom/NVIS/NVISprop.htm
• GEAR AND EQUIPMENT LIST: www.emcomm.org  (Click on GEAR LIST)
• ARRL FSD-218.  The famous “pink card” that contains (almost) “everything you ever needed
to know about RADIOGRAMS”.  An electronic version of the FSD-218 is available at:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/#fsd-218
• NATIONAL TRAFFIC SYSTEM (NTS) Methods and Practices Guidelines (MPG):
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/
• NTS page by W7ARC: http://www.w7arc.com/nts/
• NATIONAL RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK (NREN)
www.aa8vs.org/nren/  (or)  http://68.43.101.244:81/nren/
• PACIFIC AREA TRAFFIC NETS:  http://home.earthlink.net/~k7bfl/nwnets.html
• NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SKYWARN www.emcomm.org (click on NWS or links) or
Contact your EC or local SKYWARN coordinator for local net information.
• HOSPITAL DISASTER SUPPORT COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM (HDSCS): http://members.aol.com/emcom4hosp/ 
• AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION MANUAL Chapter 6 - GROUND-TO-AIR EMERGENCY CODE and GROUND-TO-AIR (close-in) VISUAL SIGNALS
http://www.faa.gov/ATpubs/AIM/Chap6/aim0602.html
• 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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EMCOMM MONTHLY and EMCOMMWEST BULLETIN  archives
www.emcomm.org/svares/archives/
 
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EMCOMM MONTHLY and EMCOMM.ORG are private (non-government) volunteer organizations funded solely by donations from EMCOMM operators who are concerned about preserving the ability of amateur radio operators to be prepared to provide skilled, accurate and efficient emergency communications during times of disaster or other events where normal channels of communication may be interrupted or overloaded.  EMCOMM.ORG is advertisement and “pop up" free.  If you have benefited from our efforts, and would like to support this work in a tangible way; you may do so by sending a check or money order payable to: EMCOMM.
Mail to: EMCOMM, PO Box 99, Macdoel, CA  96058. -- Your donation is an outright gift and is NOT tax-deductible.
The opinions expressed by individual contributors do not necessarily reflect the EM philosophy, the editorial position of EM or its staff.
 
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For permission to reproduce material in EMCOMM MONTHLY
contact: D. W. Thorne at: k6soj@arrl.net or write:
EMCOMM MONTHLY, P.O. Box 99, Macdoel, CA  96058  U.S.A.
 
STAFF:
D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ - Editor and Publisher
Bill Frazier, W7ARC - Associate Editor and Webmaster
Ed Trump, AL7N - Associate Editor and Alaska Correspondent
Jerry Boyd, N7WR - Associate Editor and ICS Advisor
Ed Ewell, K7DXV - Technical Advisor
Dave Nicholson, KB6PNT - SAR Advisor
 
IN THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF EMCOMM MONTHLY LOOK FOR:
• ANNOUNCEMENT OF AN EXCITING, NEW, EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCT!
• "TRUMP'S TERRFIFIC TRAFFC IC TRILOGY" -- Part III
• PLUS...NEWS... FEATURES... FEEDBACK.... QSH... and MORE!
 
EMCOMM MONTHLY -- The Official Journal of the World Radio Relay League - WRRL
Copyright (c) 2005 - All rights reserved.
--