Emergency Coordination

                                                      Emergency Coordinator's Page                                                                     
(Previous articles can be found on the sub-pages at the bottom of this page)
Direct all questions about this page to kb5hpt@arrl.net

++++++ARES® Membership++++++

Qualifications for membership in El Paso County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (EPCARES) are as follows:

  1. Have the following credentials:

a.       ICS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System

b.      ICS-200 ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents

c.       IS-700 NIMS, an Introduction

d.      IS-800 National Response Framework (NRF), an Introduction

e.       Intro to Emergency Communication (EC-001). New time and location to be determined. See EC-001 Announcement below from ARRL.

"ARRL has been informed that the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC), the provider of the online platform though which ARRL offers its EC-001 course, is being dissolved, effective July 1, 2018.  That decision was announced today by Charter Oak State College, the parent organization of CTDLC. CTDLC officials cited the fiscal challenges faced by the Connecticut State College and University System and the State of Connecticut as a whole for the decision to close the CTDLC platform. 

ARRL is working on steps to address the dislocation that this decision will cause our members and others who planned to take this course. While we look at moving our course content to a new delivery mechanism, new registrations for EC-001 will be suspended effective immediately. Those who signed up for the EC-001 session starting on May 30 will receive a refund. 

ARRL had already been in the process of developing new content for the EC-001 course, and now we will intensify the process of selecting a new platform on which to post this material.  

More information on the new course content and new host site for the EC-001 course will be available in the near future as soon as a decision is made on an alternative delivery mechanism."

Candidates should submit an ARES® Registration Form (fsd98) along with copies of the above certificates of completion. Send them to kb5hpt@arrl.net.

By submitting your application for membership in ARES® you have indicated the following:

  1. You have registered your qualifications and communications equipment for use in public service during a communications emergency.
  2. You can work in a controlled environment.
  3. You have a desire to make a contribution to your community.

++++++Our Mission Statement Is:++++++

To provide backup emergency communications in the absence of the agencies primary communications infrastructure and;

To provide timely, accurate and concise communications.

We will accomplish our mission through organized training and preparedness.

Our Core Values Are: 

 Confidence             Commitment         Excellence

Respect                   Integrity

++++++EPCARES Data Operators++++++

ARES® Digital Operators: Positions are available for ARES® Digital Operators within the El Paso County ARES® (EPCARES). Required stations are as follows:
                        a. Winlink 2000; VHF Packet Station capable of Winlink Express and Paclink
                        b. Winlink 2000; HF Station capable of WINMOR
                        c. Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System (NBEMS); VHF/HF Station

++++++ Amateur Radio Communications Teams (ARCT) ++++++

ARCT Type 2 (2 each for American Red Cross & 2 each for Salvation Army)

4 licensed and registered Amateur Radio Operators with two vehicles. Team leader (General class or higher). Capable of VHF/UHF & HF digital/voice communications for tactical, logistics, health/welfare, administrative, and other radio traffic.

ARCT Type 3 (Multiple)

4 licensed and registered Amateur Radio Operators with two vehicles. Team Leader (Technician class or higher). Capable of VHF/UHF digital/voice communications for tactical, logistics, health/welfare, administrative, and other radio traffic.

ARCT Type 4 (Multiple)

For assignment to agency or supplemental/relieve an existing multi-agency ARCT. 2 licensed and registered Amateur Radio Operators with two vehicles. Technician class or higher. Capable of VHF FM (minimum) equipped. HF desired (General class or higher required).

ARCT Type 5 (Multiple)

For assignment to agency or supplemental/relieve an existing multi-agency ARCT. 1 licensed and registered Amateur Radio Operator with a vehicle. Rarely ordered singly. 1 VHF FM (Minimum) with vehicle (Technician class or higher).

++++++SKYWARN® Coordinator Wanted++++++

Person/s interested in the SKYWARN® Coordinator position must have the following qualifications:

  • Active in the  SKYWARN® spotting program.
  • Two years active SKYWARN® field spotting.
  • Must travel to the National Weather Service in Santa Teresa, NM when activated and for bimonthly SKYWARN® nets.
  • Must be General class or above.
  • Must be D-Star/D-RATS qualified.

Interested person/s must contact Lew, KB5HPT at kb5hpt@arrl.net 

July 2018

DEC Bulletin

Why are you still using that commercial ISP email system to communicate with your amateur radio friends? You can use your amateur radios to accomplish the same thing. Use your amateur radio privileges and frequencies to stay in touch with each other.

Winlink 2000 (WL2K) is primarily a donated, dependable, transparent, back-up E-mail system that bridges any distance. It is donated by us, the amateur radio operators that use the system. It can be used in your everyday hamming needs as well as EMCOMM needs. 

The purpose of Winlink 2000 is to supply de facto e-mail (IETF REC 2821) using the End Users existing e-mail programs, on the End Users own computers in their own offices, with no additional invasive software. It must be seamlessly transparent, from user-to-user, from inside the End Users own County or around the world from inside a disaster area, and without normal e-mail servers or Internet links.

The Winlink 2000 system has demonstrated 99% system availability since Nov. 1999. Since 2000 the radio users are about 15,000, with Internet recipients at 100,000 worldwide, in 4 Radio Mail Server (RMS) Service Classes: Public, EMCOMM, Army MARS, and UK Cadet Forces offering each separate service class their own operation. Radio users are pushing an average of 150,000 messages monthly. Average connection time duration of 3.3 minutes and 3,600 bytes/per message. Typical message latency sender to recipient delivery …1-2 minutes. Many agencies have proven that WL2K is a viable primary source for Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multi-point communications where accuracy, speed and a permanent record is required.

The “last mile” is an important concept in Emergency Communications. The “last mile” is the path across an area where conventional communications have been disrupted or overloaded by an incident. If a community “Last Mile” internet link is broken, or the agency e-mail server is down, e-mail cannot flow.

For the end user it must look like e-mail and use familiar software like Outlook or Windows Mail. It must have an address book and a spell-checker and allow multiple recipients (to: cc:). We must be able to send multiple attachments as well as be able to use tactical email addresses, and NOT add to the stress or learning curve when in an emergency situation.

The system requirements require it to work on multiple computers on a LAN without additional desktop software, and not invade security, it must be automated, use available and future digital radio modes, interface with commercial communications systems like telephone, cellular telephone, the Internet, etc., have speed, performance and accuracy, and immediately deliver emergency traffic seamlessly, end-to-end.

In the 21st Century we must have accuracy, consistency, and record tracking. The traditional role of Amateur Radio supports health and welfare of affected public, voice communications among served agencies (EOC's, hospitals, shelters, and incident command.), Site tactical support – Incident Command, search and rescue, damage and storm reporting (SKYWARN), and “Formal,” Structured written emergency traffic handling.

Our traditional methods fail for complex message handling in today’s agency environment. Since the advent of e-mail the need for delivering written procedures, lists, graphics, images, and Pre-defined, formatted, documents to multiple recipients. As well as, multiple recipient e-mail with binary attachments is the de facto standard to carry written information. Also, hand-written message forms are seldom used, and are not transparent to normal operations. For complex messages, voice, Morse code, Radiograms, and traditional Packet radio won’t do…  they are way too slow, translation required, inflexible, prone to error, no permanent record, not self-originating, not point-to-multipoint. They don’t go end-to-end from user-to-user on their own computers in their own offices and no attachments and no automatic distribution.

The ARRL implemented a National Plan in July, 2003 in cooperation with its partnership with Homeland Security, and at their recommendation, the ARRL Board has agreed to provide a nationwide digital system to enhance the communications capability of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®). There are situations, the Board said, when ARES® "must have the capability to pass digital traffic across the nation quickly and accurately.” It must also be transparent, seamless, end-to-end, and take only minutes from origination to destination.

In the state of Texas, the de facto method of emergency communications is Winlink 2000.

So, I ask again. Why are you not using your amateur radio privileges, skills, and equipment to send and receive email from your amateur radio friends? We have two Radio Mail Servers (RMS) on the air 24/7 here in El Paso county. They are the AE5HE-10 and KB5HPT-10 stations on 145.010 MHz. To find out more about Winlink 2000 go to www.winlink.org.

Yahoo Group:  https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ardop_users/infoQuestions and comments are welcome and encouraged regarding the content of this article. Send an email to the address shown below.

The terms ARES® and Amateur Radio Emergency Service® is both registered trademarks of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. and are used by permission.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT
DEC, District 6 – Far West Texas
Email: kb5hpt@arrl.net

June 2018

DEC Bulletin

This month let’s have an exercise. How much did you pay for the following radios? Dual band mobile, dual band base or an all band radio for the base, APRS station, packet station, slow scan TV station, and don’t forget those handy talkies. What if I told you that you can do all these fun things with only one radio? Plus, analog FM. Well…you can. One D-Star radio along with your personal computer, Android, or iOS devise can do all these fun things.

When we talk about handy talkie radios of course we are talking about having a repeater in sight. But the repeater is not a cost that we are considering in this exercise. If you connect an amplifier to the output of the handy talkie you can reach out on the simplex frequencies without using a repeater. A DV handy talkie along with a Digital Voice Access Point (DVAP) or DV Mega and a laptop is an affordable way to get into D-Star. You can link to any repeater or reflector worldwide with a tenth of a watt if you have an Internet connection. The most affordable way to link to any D-Star system is with a computer and a Digital Voice Dongle (DV Dongle). You use a headset and a mic attached to the computer and a DV Dongle plugged into a USB port. No radio is needed. Again, you connect to the Internet. Now that D-Star has been around for a while there have been many hot spots (Raspberry Pi, blue stack, Shark RF Open Spot, etc.) that have come on the market. There are about twenty different hot spots out there now. So many options to pick from. Some hot spots allow you to use other digital modes. Such as C4FM and DMR. All these devices work well. With these devices you can bypass the local repeater and connect directly to other repeaters or reflectors worldwide.

With any D-Star radio you can send a short text message with each transmission. The radio also ID’s digitally for you at the end of each transmission. So, you don’t have to do it verbally. However, I would recommend continuing to ID verbally because in some foreign countries digital IDing is not permitted. D-Star is worldwide so, as a technician connecting to any country in the world with a D-Star system can be done legally.

A nice thing about digital voice is that it is crisp and clear. It sounds like that person is sitting in the room next to you. You don’t have to worry about if the band is open or not. The person’s call sign is displayed on the radio’s screen for you. So, there is no guessing who you are talking to. GPS tracking is accomplished as well, but it is called DPRS in D-Star lingo. Positioning date is sent with each transmission, so you can see where the person is at when you are talking to them.

Low speed data (4.8kbps) is done with third party software. You can send form messages back and forth. You can create your own forms and share them with friends for your local use. You can have a live chat page. You can exchange files with others. You can send and receive email with attachments. Voice and data are done on the same frequency simultaneously, so you don’t have to change frequencies all the time. You can do Slow Scan TV by simply connecting an IP camera to the computer and downloading a program called D-Star TV.

Another fun thing to do is use your Android phone or tablet with the RS-MS1A Android App to send text messages, pictures, and DPRS positioning data using a map application. You can use the ID31A, ID51A, ID51A PLUS, ID51A PLUS2, IC-7100, radios with the OPC-2350LU cable, or the ID5100, and the ID4100 using the Bluetooth. For the iPhone users you can use the RS-MS1l App. This App will only work with the ID4100 radio at the time of this writing. Watch the Announcement page or the calendar on www.hamradioelpaso.com for times and dates for the practice session.

If you want to check-in to a net somewhere outside your area you can do so. There are anywhere from two to four or five D-Star nets going on any night of the week. It’s great to see what amateur radio activities are being done elsewhere. Go to www.hamradioelpaso.com/d-star-nets for a list of the different nets. This list is a work-in-progress as there are new nets popping up all of the time. 

I know – I know. The first thing you’re going to say is “what if there isn’t an Internet connection?” I have been using D-Star since 2007 and have never experienced that problem. Even if the Internet is down you can still use the radio and repeater locally. If you have the HF D-Star radios you can still go anywhere in the world that the bands will allow.

All the fun things that we have talked about can be done with one radio. Whether it’s a handy talkie or a mobile radio it makes no difference. When you hear the comment that D-Star is expensive stop and ask yourself the question. How much did I spend on all those analog radios and equipment to be able to do all these fun things? If you want to do the fast scan TV, surf the Internet and check your Internet email, use the high-speed data (128kbps) then you will need to buy another radio - the ID-1. This is done on a 1.2 GHz module in the repeater.

You might be thinking that this is not amateur radio. This is amateur radio because everything that we can do with D-Star is governed by Part 97 of the FCC Rules and Regulations. D-Star is for the second century of amateur radio. It is built to support 21st century tools – the Web, networking, Ethernet and TCP/IP.

So, how many radios did you purchase, and how much money did you spend?

You can check out and compare the radios at any distributor's website that sells amateur radios. Some also carry the DVAP and DV Dongle plus some of the other hot spots. For more information on the DV Dongle see the article in the February 2009 issue of QST written by Gary Pearce, KN4AQ titled "DV Dongle D-Star Adapter” or go to http://www.dvdongle.com. More information on the DVAP can be found at http://dvapdongle.com.

Some of the software that I have talked about is found at the following websites:
D-RATS: http://www.d-rats.com
D*Chat: http://www.d-starusers.org/solutions.html
DStar TV: http://dstartv.com/

I wonder what amateur radio is going to be like in the year 2100? I’ll bet it’s really going to be a fantastic hobby and service. Everything will be digital or something else. Some will say "Analog? I wonder what that was like?" Kind of like AM and SSB of today.

Questions and comments are always welcome and encouraged regarding this article. Send email to the address shown below.

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT 
DEC, District Six – Far West Texas 

 Previous articles can be found on the subpages links towards the bottom of this page.

The terms Amateur Radio Emergency Service and ARES are both registered trademarks of the 
American Radio Relay League Inc. and are used by permission.  

Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT  
DEC District 6 - Far West Texas
Email: kb5hpt@arrl.net  
Lewis Maxwell,
Sep 28, 2016, 6:16 PM
Lewis Maxwell,
Jan 30, 2017, 10:09 AM
Ham Radio El Paso,
Jun 8, 2013, 7:34 AM
Lewis Maxwell,
Oct 18, 2016, 11:36 AM
Lewis Maxwell,
Jul 27, 2017, 1:04 PM
Lewis Maxwell,
Sep 28, 2016, 6:18 PM
Lewis Maxwell,
Sep 28, 2016, 6:12 PM
Lewis Maxwell,
Apr 18, 2011, 5:51 PM
Lewis Maxwell,
Sep 28, 2016, 6:34 PM
Lewis Maxwell,
Sep 28, 2016, 9:25 AM