to Emergency Communications by RADIO
is our most important PRODUCT”
The EM PHILOSOPHY
The EM ADVISOR
NETWORK NEWS including "Net of the Month"
RETRO REVIEW "Relaying Third Party Traffic"
SHOW US YOUR SHACK
FEATURE ARTICLE - "Records and
EMCOMM SPECIALTY ITEMS
NEW SUBSCRIBERS and CONTRIBUTORS
SUPPORT OUR SUPPORTERS
REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION
• 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:
• 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.
"MORE TIPS FOR GOOD VOICE AND NET OPERATING" -
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
DON'T - DO WHAT (SOME) OTHERS DO!
INSTEAD...SET THE STANDARD FOR GOOD NET OPERATIONS!
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.
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
• OLD FASHIONED SERVICE
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
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
The EM PHILOSOPHY
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
FEEDBACK, MUSINGS... and
THE PELICAN STATE
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
and/or Gulf of Mexico and transmit these bulletins at least twice
hourly. We're always glad to assist any station with emergency
-- Richard Webb, NF5B, New Orleans
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
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
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."
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)
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
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
• SSB 7232 kHz DAYTIME / 3987 kHz NIGHTTIME
• CW 7111 kHz
DAYTIME / 3711 kHz NIGHTTIME
• ALASKA WATCH: 3540 / 7042 kHz/14050 kHz
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
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
"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
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
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
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”
Schedules and updates on regional,
national, and international EMCOMM and TRAFFIC nets.
"West Central Florida Country"
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
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
Monday West Central Florida Section ARES Net 9:00
Tuesday Open 7:00
Wednesday Open 9:00
Thursday WCF Technical Net 9:00
Saturday WCF Section HF Net 8:30
AM 3.911 MHz LSB (7.281 MHz alt.)
RADIO WATCH • MONITOR • GUARD •
CALLING • EMCOMM TRAFFIC
• REGIONAL SSB 7232 kHz DAYTIME / 3987 kHz NIGHTTIME
• REGIONAL CW 7111 kHz DAYTIME / 3711
• 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
• IMRA TRAFFIC NET (INTERNATIONAL MISSION RADIO ASSOCIATION) 14.280
MHz USB M-F 1800Z (summer) 1900Z (winter)
• NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AMATEUR STATION:
• 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).
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
“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
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
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic
NUMBER • PRECEDENCE • HX •
STATION OF ORIGIN • CHECK • PLACE
OF ORIGIN • TIME • DATE
RETRO REVIEW - “EMCOMM viewed through the
"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”
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
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
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
QSH -- (I
HAVE HUMOR FOR YOUR STATION)
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
AN EXCITING NEW EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCT!
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
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
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: email@example.com
The “Records and Reports
Officer” - RECORD KEEPING DURING
INCIDENTS (and other times)
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
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
Now, let us "zoom in" on the
ARCT (EMCOMM) unit only. www.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
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
• To provide a quick and accurate
reference system when an official wants some
information. (If kept up to date during an
• For legal reasons. (Keep on file for at least
• 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
• 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
WHEN SHOULD RECORDS BE KEPT?
• ALL traffic...both tactical and formal.
• Volunteer hours (use time cards).
Include home duty, driving time, administration,
• Expense records
• Information for narrative reports,
anecdote, future newspaper and magazine
• "Unusual" incidents (and
• Photographic documentation. Pictures
for public release should show hams in action
(Media is not interested in pictures of rising
smoke, flooding water, or hams sitting around
• 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
ARCT Team Leader
(may or may not be the EC)
ARCT Asst. Team Leader
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Logistics
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Planning
ARCT Asst. Team Leader Records
and Reports (An ARCT will
not need a "finance
officer", but a time keeper,
and other records keeping are
(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
from an actual SEC memo during
a mutual assist/aid incident last
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
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
3. Include travel time to and from the
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
the cost of equipment
- A reasonable (fair) estimate is
Example: Beaver County - Total
volunteer hours for incident:
(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
(Include the last two in the
"Comments" box of FSD-212)
I hope this is all clear. If
Thank you all for your cooperation!
D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ
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• 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
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Send check or money order and shipping address to:
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• Use on plain paper
• Use on front of envelope
• 3/4” x 3” wood handle stamp
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$10.00 each postpaid
($8.00 if ordered with Message Service Cross stamp (below)
• Send check or money order to:
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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 /
• Check TOR (Time Received) or TOD (Time Delivered / Forwarded).
• Available in two styles:
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• Order yours today!
• Specify style, quantity, and shipping address, and send check or
money order to:
P O Box 99
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• Please allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery
• Gary Hollenbaugh, NJ8BB, Eaton, Ohio - ARES®,
RACES, SKYWARN, MARS
• Roger Baldwin, KG6RAS, Encinitas, California -
• 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
• Dan Cameron, KF6HHH, Woodland, California - ARES®, SARCR
• Lyle Cable, K7LWC, Clarkston, Washington -
Asotin County ARES® EC, RACES
• Noel Bertelson, KA7EZO, Rancho Cordova,
• Bart Rowlett, WB6HQK, Torrance, California
• Neil Taylor, N4ION, Clanton, Alabama -
• Ralph Short, AB7FI, Boise, Idaho -
• 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
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Amateur Radio Emergency Service® are
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For permission to reproduce material in EMCOMM
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EMCOMM MONTHLY, P.O. Box 99, Macdoel, CA 96058 U.S.A.
D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ - Editor and
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
• "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.