ARRL American Radio Relay League
Amateur Radio played a crucial role in two recent at-sea rescues. On April 8, sailors Randy (VA3ORT) and Dawn (VA3PBT) Ortiz of Ontario, Canada, ran into heavy seas that led them to abandon their 42-foot sailing yacht Nirvana Now in a remote portion of the South Pacific while en route to the Marquesas. The Ortizes were able to summon help via the Pacific Seafarer’s Net on 14.300 MHz, and the North Carolina-based Continuum, skippered by Bob Jankowski, KJ4ZFP, and his wife Mona, was able to come to their rescue, some 1200 miles from the nearest landfall. The Ortizes were last reported to be safe in Tahiti. Pacific Seafarer’s Net member Fred Moore, W3ZU, in Florida was able to coordinate the request for help. Another vessel, Athos of London, also had been diverted to help, but that vessel did not have an HF radio on board and could not be called off until after Continuum had arrived on the scene and rescued the Ortizes.
Click here for the restof the story> http://www.arrl.org/news/amateur-radio-nets-crucial-link-in-maritime-rescues
Amateur Radio has continued to provide reliable communication in the aftermath of the devastating April 25 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck an area in and around the capital of Kathmandu. The disaster has so far claimed more than 7300 lives.
Amateur Radio’s role has been to provide communication for responders working in more remote regions as well as to help in locating missing people. It also has served to convey information about casualties. Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU, the Amateur Radio Society of India (ARSI) National Coordinator for Disaster Communication, said this week that rescue teams moved into highly devastated areas such as Pokhara and Sindupalchowk, where their work was hampered by rain and blocked roads. “Teams are unable to reach the remotest villages,” he said. “The roads are cut off, and no communication is possible.”
While Nepal’s cell telephone infrastructure has been functional, the batteries in most mobile telephones have discharged. On his own initiative, Bhide was able to secure funds from the Lions Club in Gwalior, where he lives, to buy 500 mobile chargers. “These will be shipped to Nepal soon,” he said.
No Nepali stations were on the air for all of May 4, Bhide reported. “Everyone was waiting to get some updates, but no one was there,” he said. Satish Kharel, 9N1AA, who has been prominent among the hams in Nepal involved with the earthquake response, and Bhide now are maintaining contact every 2 hours.
Nepal has only about 2 dozen Amateur Radio licensees, according to Suresh Ojha, W6KTM, chairman of the CAN-USA Disaster Preparedness Committee. He said the Nepal government’s lack of experience in regulating ham radio has hampered response efforts. Nepali authorities last week arranged for hams from other countries to obtain 9N3-prefix call signs to assist in the earthquake relief effort, and several hams from India are in Nepal.
At least one HF net is reported to be handling emergency and relief-related traffic in the wake of a devastating and deadly earthquake in Central Nepal. The magnitude 7.9 quake on April 25 caused landslides on Mount Everest during the climbing season, killing an unknown number of mountaineers and stranding others. A strong aftershock hit April 26. So far, some 2200 people are reported dead. The earthquake hit an area between the capital city of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara. An emergency net has been running around the clock on 20 meters (14.205 and/or 14.215 MHz), with Jayu Bhide, VU2JAU/AT150ITU, as net control station and other stations in India participating). The net has been attempting to organize relief logistics. Amateur Radio DX.com also has reported activity on 7.100, 18.160 and 21.360 MHz.
Running just 25 W from solar power, Satish Kharel, 9N1AA, was reported to be coordinating his activity with Nepal police and sharing duty with Suresh Upreti, 9N1HA. Both are in Kathmandu. Amir Bazak, 4X6TT, in Israel joined the net and helped to keep the frequency clear. “Our stations are working with no break,” said Bhide, who is Amateur Radio Society of India (ARSI) National Coordinator for Disaster Communication.
Nepal’s first Amateur Radio repeater, set up in 2012 by the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), and at least a dozen ham in various locations were reported on VHF. The 9N1KS repeater (434.500 MHz in/145.000 MHz out) is on the NSET headquarters building on the outskirts of Kathmandu. A drill conducted in 2012 indicated good coverage of the Kathmandu Valley.
The US chapter of the Computer Association of Nepal provided technical and financial assistance for the repeater and supplied equipment to use it. The repeater has a battery back-up power source.
The NGO “Humanity Road” is maintaining an updated summary of damage as well as immediate needs.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Emergency Telecommunications Guide is now available for download from the IARU website. The guide was developed to provide the IARU member-societies with materials suitable for training radio amateurs to participate in emergencies. It also was designed to provide guidance to individual Amateur Radio operators with little or no experience in handling emergency communications but desire to enhance their ability to participate in such events or to simply have a better understanding of the process. The IARU Administrative Council meeting approved the Guide at its 2014 meeting.
“IARU member-societies are encouraged to distribute this guide among its membership and, if necessary, to provide a translation into a language used within their own country,” an IARU media release said. “This guide can also be used in conjunction with other training materials by leaders within the emergency communication community to train radio operators in the basic theory and practice of handling emergency communications traffic.”
The IARU International Secretariat has invited feedback, comments, or suggestions regarding the Guide.
Amateur Radio growth in the US continues to soar. At the end of 2014, the total number of radio amateurs in the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) database reached an all-time high of 726,275. The trend has continued in the first 2 months of 2015, which saw the ham population rise to slightly more than 727,000. The figures exclude expired licenses that are within the 2-year grace period, and club station licenses. Outside of a little dithering last fall, growth in the Amateur Radio Service in 2014 was steady, according to figures compiled by Joe Speroni, AH0A, on his FCC Amateur Radio Statistics web pages. Over the past decade the number of Amateur Radio licenses in the ULS database grew by some 8.1 percent. But 2014 also was a banner year for the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC).
For the rest of the story, click here> http://www.arrl.org/news/us-amateur-radio-numbers-reach-an-all-time-high
The Government of Canada will provide more than $25,000 (CDN) to the Saint Lucia Amateur Radio Club to improve Amateur Radio coverage and communication in the small Caribbean island nation in the event of a disaster. The project will install two repeater systems including solar back-up power, train 90 radio operators, and increase coverage for all of Saint Lucia’s 18 districts.
“Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and an escalation in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes threaten homes and businesses across the Caribbean. These situations can have a significant negative impact on sustainable economic growth and result in loss of life,” the Canadian Government said in announcing the grant.
According to the announcement, the Saint Lucia Amateur Radio Club repeater system will provide enhanced two-way communication during normal and disaster conditions, allowing for Amateur Radio coverage in all communities — and especially in known high-risk areas.
“The project will ensure that, in future hazard events, reliable and accurate information can be passed from communities to response teams, leading to more timely and effective assistance to those communities,” the announcement said.
The nearly year-old Saint Lucia Amateur Radio Club secured support for this project through the Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund (CCDRM), part of Canada’s $600 million Caribbean Regional Program. The fund is designed to support Caribbean-based non-governmental organizations, community groups, and governmental agencies working at the community level to reduce risks from natural hazards and climate change. — Thanks to the Canadian High Commission, Bridgetown
The end is near for RadioShack. It seems inevitable that the once seemingly ubiquitous electronics and cell phone retailer will liquidate its assets, after which RadioShack would cease to exist. A number of legal steps would come first, including a likely bankruptcy filing. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) delisted RadioShack on February 2, after the company failed to provide a plan to address a lack of compliance with NYSE rules related to maintenance of company value. Bloomberg Business has reported that behind-the-scenes talks are under way to sell approximately half of RadioShack’s owned-and-operated stores to Sprint and shutter the remaining outlets, although other scenarios involving other entities are possible.
The nearly century-old Fort Worth, Texas, based retailer — once a go-to shop for electronic components and, at one point, even Amateur Radio and shortwave receivers — has lost 90 percent of its value over the past year, despite efforts to refinance and modernize its stores. Before it was delisted on Monday, RadioShack’s stock was selling for just 24 cents a share.
The hedge fund Standard General LP loaned the retailer $535 million last fall and would be the lead bidder in a bankruptcy filing and debtor-in-possession financing, Bloomberg Business said.
RadioShack once offered entry-level short-wave receivers, Citizens Band gear, a wide array of discrete components — including transistors, resistors, and capacitors — and, for a time, a fairly popular 2 meter hand-held transceiver and two different models of 10 meter single-band transceivers, although it failed in its effort to market a VHF/UHF hand-held radio. Over the years, RadioShack has offered fewer discrete components in its brick-and-mortar stores, moving that stock and other products to its online outlet, as it shifted its marketing focus to cell phones, consumer electronics, and various battery-operated gadgets.
A year ago, after a dismal holiday showing, RadioShack announced plans to close 1100 stores, including 900 company-owned outlets. Due to the high costs involved with closing the stores, liquidating merchandise, lease penalties, and severances, however, the company has been able to shut down fewer than 200 outlets. RadioShack was reported to have about $60 million in cash heading into the 2014 holiday season.
RadioShack has had no comment on the reports.
Members of Australia’s Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network in South Australia (WICEN SA) have been assisting an emergency animal rescue and recovery organization in the wake of the so-called Sampson’s Flat bushfire in the sheep and cattle-ranching region of Adelaide Hills. The fire, which has burned uncontrolled since early January, has blackened some 31,000 acres of land and destroyed numerous houses and sheds, and at least four businesses, and killed some 120 animals. The bush and grass fires have pushed temperatures above 100° Fahrenheit, and the heat, coupled with winds greater than 55 MPH, has sent more than 20 people, including firefighters, to the hospital. One man remains in a serious condition after being hit by a falling tree.
WICEN President Nic McLean, VK5ZAT, reports that he has been at the One Tree Hill staging area to assist members of South Australia Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM) — a response and recovery agency for animals — and to Department of Environment and Natural Resources workers. According to SAVEM, WICEN volunteers installed a seven-unit hand-held communication system, complete with a range-enhancing aluminum tower, at the SAVEM control center. SAVEM reports that its field teams have assessed koalas, kangaroos, horses and sheep. SAVEM said an emerging issue has been a lack of available animal feed — from hay bales to dog food — within the fire-affected areas.
McLean said WICEN works very closely with SAVEM, enabling the veterinary medical community to effectively respond to emergency incidents that involve companion animals, wildlife, and livestock. While SAVEM does not provide an evacuation service for pets and other animals, it does help any animals caught up in an emergency.
WICEN SA operates as a separate identity under the auspices of the Wireless Institute of Australia. Listed officially under the State Disaster Plan, WICEN provides radio communications and cooperates with the State Emergency Service, The Salvation Army and the Red Cross during disasters and emergencies. In 2013 WICEN and SAVEM concluded an aid agreement to support the group with communications. McLean says SAVEM, with its veterinarians and nurses, has been doing good work triaging, treating and, where necessary, euthanizing animals, as well as providing some emotional support to the farmers and animal owners.
A forecast of cooler weather should dampen the fire threat, but locals know they need to remain vigilant and prepared for the rest of summer. — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC, Chairman, IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers on the Big Island of Hawaii are putting plans in place in case they need to activate in response to the Puna lava flow, reported today (October 29) to be 100 yards from the nearest home and with another 40 to 50 homes in its path. On October 28, the lava claimed its first structure — a shed in Pahoa. The lava originated from new “vents” in the Earth as a result of the Mt Kilauea volcano, which began erupting more than 30 years ago. After grinding to a halt nearly a month ago, the lava flow recently resumed its slow and devastating crawl toward populated areas. Residents in the path of the flow have been notified of a possible need to evacuate, and an evacuation advisory for down-slope residents remains in effect.
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When severe weather erupted in Southern New England on July 27 and 28, SKYWARN volunteers went on alert to help forecasters track conditions and, afterward, to assist authorities with assessing the damage. A super-cell storm system organized over northern Norfolk County, Massachusetts, on the morning of July 28 and raced through portions of northeastern Massachusetts, causing wind damage in sections of Needham, SKYWARN Coordinator and ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, reported.
“The storm was tracked using the SKYWARN self-activation protocol,” he said. The system subsequently generated an EF-2 tornado, which swept through Revere, Massachusetts, leaving a swath of significant damage in its wake. “Within 15 or 20 minutes of the storm’s passage, the Amateur Radio SKYWARN network received reports of many trees and wires down and structural damage in Revere,” Macedo said. “Other pockets of straight-line wind damage and flash flooding occurred elsewhere in Southern New England, rounding out a 2-day stretch of severe weather in the region.”
For the rest of the story, click here > http://www.arrl.org/news/view/skywarn-volunteers-muster-as-severe-weather-tornado-hit-southern-new-england?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
In an FCC forum on earthquake communications preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate described the Amateur Radio operator as “the ultimate backup, the originators of what we call social media.” The forum-- held May 3 at FCC Headquarters in Washington, DC -- brought together officials from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), FEMA, the FCC and the private sector. Fugate and FCC Bureau of Public Safety and Homeland Security Chief Jamie Barnett gave the opening remarks.
Later in the forum, Fugate spoke more on Amateur Radio. “During the initial communications out of Haiti, volunteers using assigned frequencies that they are allocated, their own equipment, their own money, nobody pays them, were the first ones oftentimes getting word out in the critical first hours and first days as the rest of the systems came back up,” he told the forum. “I think that there is a tendency because we have done so much to build infrastructure and resiliency in all our other systems, we have tended to dismiss that role ‘When Everything Else Fails.’ Amateur Radio oftentimes is our last line of defense.”
Fugate said that he thinks “we get so sophisticated and we have gotten so used to the reliability and resilience in our wireless and wired and our broadcast industry and all of our public safety communications, that we can never fathom that they’ll fail. They do. They have. They will. I think a strong Amateur Radio community [needs to be] plugged into these plans. Yes, most of the time they’re going be bored, because a lot of the time, there’s not a lot they’re going to be doing that other people aren’t doing with Twitter and Facebook and everything else. But when you need Amateur Radio, you really need them.”
You can watch a video of the forum on YouTube. Fugate’s remarks begin at 18:55.
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) is celebrating its 50th straight season of serving the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and it’s starting the 2014 Hurricane Season with an additional title — NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. NOAA launched the Weather-Ready Nation initiative to “improve the nation’s readiness, responsiveness and overall resilience against extreme weather, water and climate events.” As a WRN Ambassador, the HWN is committed to working with NOAA to assist in effort to make the nation better ready to handle severe or extreme weather.
“One of the most severe weather events is the hurricane, and Amateur Radio’s ability to communicate under extremely stressful conditions has helped spread information into the affected areas and receive critical reports to be relayed to the National Hurricane Center,” HWN Net Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “Amateur Radio operators are still able to get through in spite of challenges presented by loss of power, high wind, and storm surge.”
Graves said that by incorporating the Weather-Ready Ambassador message, the Hurricane Watch Net will help to spread the word about preparedness for severe weather.
Founded by Jerry Murphy, K8YUW, in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy, the HWN has continued to operate during every hurricane threatening land in the Atlantic, Caribbean Basin, and Gulf of Mexico, and has established a formal association with the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The Net activates on 14.325 MHz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or becomes a serious threat to a populated area.
Owing perhaps to grand coincidence, the 100th birthday of the ARRL — the actual day — will fall on Sunday, May 18, the final day of Dayton Hamvention® 2014. On that date a century earlier, Amateur Radio pioneers Hiram Percy Maxim and Clarence Tuska, founded the American Radio Relay League. On Sunday, May 18, at 9:15 AM in Room 1 of Hara Arena, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, will host a party, complete with a cake, to wish the ARRL a happy 100th birthday.
Dayton Hamvention is a Regional ARRL Centennial Event. W100AW/8 will be on the air from Hamvention as a special event station.
ARRL EXPO in the Ballarena will be the nerve center of the League’s Hamvention presence, which will include booths highlighting various League activities. Visitors can pick up a free Centennial Coin, while supplies last. The ARRL Store will offer for sale various ARRL publications and all manner of gear — don’t forget ARRL Field Day supplies (T shirts, hats, mugs, posters)! Visitors who join ARRL or renew their League memberships at ARRL EXPO will receive a free gift. Join or renew for 3 years and take home a free ARRL Centennial Edition Handbook. ARRL Dayton 2014 buttons also will be available for free.
For the rest of the story, click here > http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-to-celebrate-its-100th-birthday-at-Dayton
On a beautiful New England spring day, yet under an umbrella of heightened security, more than 300 Amateur Radio volunteers provided communication support on April 21 for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon — a 26.2-mile race from Hopkinton to Boston, Massachusetts. In a show of solidarity following last year’s tragic bombings close to the finish line, a near record numbers of runners — upward of 36,000 — turned out for the Patriot’s Day event along with a huge outpouring of spectators. The Boston Marathon is a major public service event for the region’s Amateur Radio volunteers.
“We received a fantastic showing of volunteer support across the start, course, and finish line from the Amateur Radio community in the wake of the 2013 bombings,” said Steve Schwarm, W3EVE, Boston Marathon Course Coordinator. The level of ham radio support for the 2014 event demonstrated that “Boston Strong” remains a rallying cry in the wake of last year's tragedy, he said.
Amateur Radio communication support became critical in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, when conventional telecommunications systems, such as cellular telephone, quickly became overloaded and confusion reigned.
For the rest of the story, click here > http://www.arrl.org/news/more-than-300-amateur-radio-volunteers-support-2014-boston-marathon
“The National Hurricane Conference leadership continues to recognize the valuable contribution of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and again invited us to participate with three sessions,” Rehman said. “We encourage you to visit and participate in all the activities you can and learn more about Amateur Radio Emergency Service communication.” All three Amateur Radio-oriented sessions will take place Tuesday, April 15.
NHC Session #1 — 10:30 AM to 12 Noon: Presentations from Dr Richard Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center; Bob Robichaud, VE1MBR, of the Canadian Hurricane Center, and members of WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center
NHC Session #2 — 1:30 PM to 3 PM: Emergency communication operations in the Orlando area; the 2013 Boston Marathon disaster, and two different views on Hurricane Sandy.
NHC Session #3 — 3:30 PM to 5 PM: The operations of the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) and the VoIP Hurricane Net, together with an ARRL update and an introduction of ARRL’s new Southeastern Division Director, followed by an Amateur Radio “rap” session — the Emergency Manager’s “Hidden Resource.”
Amateur Radio presentations will be recorded and streamed live on the National Hurricane Conference and VoIPWX websites by James Palmer, KB1KQW. Door prizes will be awarded. Register online or via fax.
2014 National Hurricane Conference Presenters
A few dozen special event stations will take to the air April 26, 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC, to commemorate International Marconi Day (IMD). Among them will be GB4IMD, in Cornwall, England, OE14M, in Vienna, Austria, IY0IMD in Italy, VO1AA, on Signal Hill in St Johns, Newfoundland, VK2IMD in Australia, and WA1WCC on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. All stations planning to participate are urged to register. A list of registered participants is on the IMD 2014 website.
International Marconi Day is a 24 hour Amateur Radio event held annually to celebrate the birth of Guglielmo Marconi on April 15, 1874. IMD is held each year on a Saturday close to Marconi’s birthday, with Amateur Radio stations on the air from around the world, including some Award Stations operating from historically significant sites.
The event is not a contest; it is an opportunity for amateurs around the world to make point-to-point contact with historic Marconi sites using HF communications techniques similar to those used by Marconi, and to earn an award certificate for working or hearing a requisite number of Marconi stations. — Thanks to The Daily DX; International Marconi Day
The “Ham Video” transmitter aboard the International Space Station is scheduled to be installed on March 6, with commissioning to follow. The European Space Agency (ESA) postponed the installation and commissioning of the Ham Video system last month because NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG — who is handling the installation and commissioning — had other priorities. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station-Europe (ARISS-EU) Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, said that a couple of the commissioning steps now may be combined, to condense the process. Hopkins will also install the camera and support arm. Following installation the transmitter will be powered on just long enough to check cable and antenna connections.
Here is a link from the ARRL to take a tour of W1AW.
The collapse of two radio towers in North-Central West Virginia on February 1 resulted in three deaths and injuries to two individuals. The tragedy also resulted in the loss of three Amateur Radio repeaters belonging to the Stonewall Jackson Amateur Radio Association (SJARA) and forming part of the HamTalk linked repeater system, which were available to assist with emergency and disaster communication. Richard Wilt, K8TPH, reported that one tower went down, killing two workers on the 300 foot structure and taking down a second, shorter tower. An emergency responder died after being struck by falling debris. Two other tower workers suffered minor injuries.
For the rest of the stor, click here > http://www.arrl.org/news/view/fatal-west-virginia-tower-collapse-takes-out-ham-radio-repeaters
The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the 2013 operation of CYØP — Sable Island — for DX Century Club credit. If a request for DXCC credit for this operation has been rejected in a prior application, contact ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, to be placed on the list for an update to your record. Please note the submission date and/or reference number of your application in order to expedite the search for any rejected contacts.
DXCC is Amateur Radio’s premier award that hams can earn by confirming on-the-air contacts with 100 DXCC “entities,” most of which are countries in the traditional sense. You can begin with the basic DXCC award and work your way up to the DXCC Honor Roll. Learn more. — ARRL Awards Branch Manager Bill Moore, NC1L
For the rest of the story, Click Here> http://www.arrl.org/news/ham-video-commissioning-set-for-early-february
Joe Musachia, W5FJG, a telecommunications technician and trainer, has been assigned to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and will be operating from KC4AAA, the Amateur Radio station there. The station offers a kilowatt into 6 element 20 and 3 element 40 meter monobanders fixed on the US and a tribander fixed toward Europe. He reports that KC4AAA does not have the ability to operate CW as it’s currently configured, so he will operate SSB only on weekdays and some weekends, through the winter season, until November 2014. He also hopes to have a 3 element 17 meter beam aimed at North America, that is supposed to go up this month. Listen for KC4AAA with W5FJG at the helm on or near 14.243 MHz. Almost all activity is currently on 20 meters. QSL to Larry Skilton, K1IED. — Thanks to The Daily DX