Tag Archives: EMCOMM

A Memorable Story From President George Plotkin KF5WFA

Club President George Plotkin, KF5WFA, writes some ‘Food for Thought: Ham Radio is Awesome!’ in the September issue of “The Groundwire” website of the Tyler (TX) Amateur Radio Club. It’s about Emergency communications …  Layne AE1N

Sometimes one is compelled to share a story, particularly one of a timely and life-affirming nature. As you all know by now, we had the Texas QSO party this past weekend, a chance for us to get to know one another and to get on the air and make a few contacts. Not being a contester, I viewed the QSO party as a chance to sharpen my amateur skills.

Terry Gimbel, W5TG, a former Tyler ARC president, and an all-around good guy, was the midwife for this event and was a good one at that.  He and Bill Huston (W5ZK) got us up and running on Friday night, and Saturday went fairly well. Most of the folks who showed were old hands at ham radio. Contacts were made until the bands crashed around midday. The crowd left around 1600 HRS, leaving Terry to watch over things for a bit. What happened next was remarkable, and Terry’s own description is better than anything I can pen. Terry writes:

“Saturday afternoon, after everyone had gone for the day, I was just tuning around on the 10m band for no particular reason when I heard a very faint signal calling ‘CQ’. The operator sounded desperate for any North American station on frequency to answer. Not hearing anyone else answer him, I responded with my call and that’s when things got serious.

“The calling station was in Puerto Rico. The operator said he was on a salvaged wire dipole taped to the roof of a building and was running on generator power. The man’s name was Luis. He said he had very little gas for the generator and was desperately looking for someone to relay health and safety information into the U.S. He asked me if I could just take as many names and phone numbers as possible and to call family, friends and loved ones. Now, my Spanish is rudimentary at best but for the next 90 minutes under very bad band conditions we made it work. I’ll tell ‘the rest of the story’ at the next club meeting.”

Wow! One of the original reasons for radio was to relay messages in times of emergency. The Amateur Radio Relay League had that as a fundamental part of their constitution. What was initially a get-together to meet one another for fellowship and to try our hand at HF radio communications became a life and death issue for an amateur radio operator named Luis and those he was valiantly trying to help. There he was, huddled in the dark without power or water, running his equipment on the only generator for miles around with gas from an overturned car and one of our amateurs rose to the occasion and made a real difference.

Thanks Terry, you made a difference.

Ham radio is awesome.

73 de George KF5WFA

FULL STORY: http://www.tylerarc.org/?p=1112

Communications Interoperability Training with Amateur Radio Community

Elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will conduct a communications interoperability training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a “very bad day” scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cell phone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, in order to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of the impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio Repeaters.

Again this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario.

Contact English for more information or questions about this exercise.

Reblogged from the ARRL website by Matt, N1ZGN