November 2023

DEC Bulletin

When amateur radio operators are asked to define the amateur radio service most of the time, they will respond not by telling what the amateur radio service is today or what it can be. They respond with what the amateur radio service was back in the “good ole days.” Through experimentation and development breakthroughs by amateur radio operators the amateur radio service has been on the cutting edge of technology for years. But for some reason we are putting so much emphasis on outdated technology and as a result technology is passing us by.


Don’t misunderstand me. That outdated technology has an important place in the history of the amateur radio service. But technology has come a long way since those “good ole days.” This generation of the working class knows and understands computers and email, cell phones and text messaging. That is what they trust and are most comfortable with. The amateur radio service must keep progressing with time. Otherwise, amateur radio will die. It will die from lack of interest.


Let me say “Thank You” to those pioneers who brought us to the level of technology the amateur radio service is today. It’s time to hand the baton over and let the younger generation take the lead. Let them start experimenting with and developing the new amateur radio service of tomorrow. I am sure it will be something awesome.


I am convinced that El Paso County ARES® is doing everything right in developing and implementing the new digital technology. If the need for the Rapid Response Teams should happen in El Paso, the infrastructure will be in place when they arrive.


The West Texas Section has been busy developing an alert system for the Section. When something happens somewhere in the section we can be alerted and given instructions to standby on an HF voice frequency. The alert notification will come in the form of an SMS or MMS message on our cell phones. We have six designated Winlink Peer-to-Peer (P2P) relay stations that can receive and forward messages to designated recipients. Each P2P station has its own designated frequency to go to and standby. Other Winlink participants will connect to the P2P stations and pick up specific instructions for them to complete. Only housekeeping traffic will be handled on the voice nets. All stations will come back to the section voice net frequency for any updates using the modified Wilderness Protocol method. All agency messages will be handled by Winlink VARA HF if delivered outside of the counties.


This same process will be used by El Paso ARES® when responding to an activation within the county. We will use the SMS or MMS method for initial activation. We will establish the ARES® Tactical Net, Information net, Liaison net and the Resource net on the UHF/VHF frequencies. All agency messages handled within the county will be by Winlink VARA FM.


Questions and comments are welcome and encouraged. 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

Amateur Radio Emergency Service

DEC, District 6, WTX Section