Ron and Tammy
In a 2116 UTC status update on Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) operations in Louisiana, Assistant Section Manager Matt Anderson, KD5KNZ, said that Louisiana ARES is in the process of deactivating from the recent flood response, and the need for volunteers has ended.
“All ARES personnel should released by this evening,” said Anderson, who has been currently serving as the Incident Point of Contact in Baton Rouge. “Several amateurs will remain on site, reporting directly to the Red Cross as they begin to transfer to recovery operations. We greatly appreciate all the assistance from ARRL HQ and the many Sections who provided support to the operation.”
ARES volunteers in Louisiana were in the 6th day of operations in response to the recent flooding catastrophe in Louisiana, which also affected parts of Mississippi. ARES has been providing communication support to the Red Cross in five Louisiana parishes following record flooding in the state. Several shelters and Red Cross chapter offices are operating at full capacity.
Amateur Radio volunteers from Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi volunteered to serve at multiple Red Cross chapters and shelters throughout the affected area. With local and parish resources stretched to the limit, ham radio volunteers have been serving as the communication link between Red Cross shelters and command centers, relaying information on the needs at each shelter back to Red Cross offices.
Brad Kieserman, the Vice President of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross, called the flooding disaster “the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy, and we anticipate it will cost at least $30 million – a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.”
According to estimates, more than 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of residents displaced. The flooding also left 13 people dead. As of early today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was reporting that about 3100 evacuees remained in Red Cross shelters. The Louisiana Emergency Operations Center remains at full activation, and more than 2800 National Guard personnel have been conducting flood relief operations around the clock.
The Red Cross continues to request Amateur Radio volunteers to support communication at shelters housing evacuees from flooding of historic proportions in Louisiana. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in Louisiana has activated, and Section Emergency Coordinator Adam Tamplain, KD5LEH, has put out a call for additional volunteers, reaching out to neighboring states. The federal government declared Louisiana a major disaster area, states of emergency remain in Louisiana and Mississippi, and the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center is at full activation. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, visited the stricken region on August 16. While some residents are being allowed to return home, about 7000 remain in shelters.
“While we have had an increase in response from the Southeastern area, it’s still not quite enough,” Tamplain said on August 16. “Alabama ARES is attempting to put together a team for us. We have seen support from Southwest Mississippi as well. We had operators at Red Cross New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge today.” Tamplain said a dozen or so operators were staffing eight shelters; nearly 40 shelters remain open. He asked additional volunteers to check in at Red Cross Headquarters in Baton Rouge (4655 Sherwood Common Boulevard).
Red Cross Vice President of Disaster Services, Operations, and Logistics Brad Kieserman called the Louisiana flooding the worst natural disaster to strike the US since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. With some 40,000 homes affected, thousands of residents were displaced, and nearly a dozen people have died. Roads, including parts of Interstates 10 and 12, had to be closed, stranding many motorists. Most conventional telecommunication systems remain operational. Area waterways reached record flood levels, and some roadways remain impassable.
“Significant river flooding will persist this week across portions of southern Louisiana,” FEMA said in its August 17 Daily Operations Briefing. “Major to record flooding will continue along portions of the Amite, Vermilion, Mermentau and Calcasieu rivers.”
Noting the “desperate need” for ham radio volunteers in Louisiana, ARES volunteers in Mississippi have been asked to provide assistance. Mississippi Prospective Mississippi should not self-deploy to Louisiana, but coordinate through Mississippi Section Manager Malcolm Keown, W5XX.
Primary operating frequencies at this time are 444.950 MHz (107.2 Hz), 146.940 MHz (107.2 Hz), and 146.790 MHz (107.2 Hz). Louisiana ARES HF Frequencies now designated for use are 7.255 MHz and 3.873 MHz LSB. Digital operation is on 3.595MHz. These frequencies should be kept clear of non-emergency traffic. More repeaters may need to be designated, and the frequencies will be posted when they become available.
Police in Evanston, Illinois, contacted the ARRL Lab, after an apparent interference source began plaguing wireless vehicle key fobs, cell phones, and other wireless electronics. Key fob owners found they could not open or start their vehicles remotely until their vehicles were towed at least a block away, nor were they able to call for help on their cell phones when problems occurred. The police turned to ARRL for help after striking out with the FCC, which told them it considered key fob malfunctions a problem for automakers, although the interference was affecting not just key fobs but cell phones, which are a licensed radio service. ARRL Lab EMC Specialist Mike Gruber, W1MG, believes the FCC should have paid more attention.
“This situation is indicative of what can happen as a result of insufficient FCC enforcement, especially with regard to electrical noise and noncompliant consumer devices,” Gruber said.
Evanston authorities worried that a serious situation could develop if someone were unable to call 911, putting public safety at risk. They also were concerned that the RFI could be intentional and indicate some nefarious or illegal activity.Given the seriousness of this situation, Gruber contacted Central Division Director Kermit Carlson, W9XA, to ask if he could look into the matter.
On June 2, Carlson met with an Evanston police officer, her sergeant, a local business owner, and the local alderman, and he quickly confirmed that the 600 block of Dempster Avenue in Evanston was plagued with an odd RFI problem. Carlson determined that the problem prevailed along a set of eight on-street parallel parking spots in the downtown commercial district of the North Chicago suburb.
Carlson employed a Radar Engineers 240A Noise Signature Receiver and UHF Yagi antenna to survey the affected block. Since key fobs typically operate at around 315 MHz and 433 MHz, he looked on both frequencies. The survey identified several noise sources in the affected block, but in particular a strong signal in the middle of the block. The interference source turned out to be a recently replaced neon sign switching-mode power supply, which was generating a substantial signal within the on-street parking area just across the sidewalk, between 8 and 40 feet from the sign.
The problematic power supply interference also disabled Carlson’s cell phone when he was within a few feet of the device. Carlson anticipated that further investigation would show that the harmful interference could disrupt licensed radio services in close proximity. The troublesome transformer was not replaced, but the building owner agreed to turn off the sign should problems arise.
Carlson called the Evanston case “a particularly alarming example of radio interference,” especially since local authorities considered it a public safety matter. “This situation demonstrates the electromagnetic compatibility problems that are evolving in an atmosphere of noncompliant, unintentional RF-emitting devices,” he said.
A return visit to the area with calibrated antennas and equipment capable of measuring the radiated signal strength with quasi-peak detection is planned for later this year. Since the initial visit, several other instances of unexplained key fob malfunctions have been reported in the Greater Chicago area. — Thanks to Kermit Carlson, W9XA, and Mike Gruber, W1MG
Participants have until Tuesday, August 23, to contact ARRL if they believe there are problems with their entries.
MARS Sets Interoperability Communications Exercise for August 15
US Department of Defense (DOD) Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) operators in the US, Germany, and Japan, will take part in an interoperability communications exercise on Monday, August 15, from 1430 (9:30 am CDT) until 2200 (5:00 pm CDT). The focus of the exercise is “to train during a simulated communications-constrained environment using radio-only communication capabilities,” MARS said.
The exercise is tied in with a larger DOD exercise, which will include participation by active duty forces. —
Thanks to Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY
Hurricane Earl made landfall near Belize City, Belize, during the early morning hours as a category 1 storm. Earl has since weakened to a tropical storm. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) plans to resume net operations on 14.325 MHz on Thursday, August 4, at 1200 UTC for Earl. The HWN activated on August 3 as Tropical Storm Earl was headed toward Central America. On its current path, Earl will pass into Southern Mexico by early Friday.
“We will resume net operations for the purpose of gathering post-storm reports and offering emergency and priority traffic assistance,” explained HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. The net typically closes once a storm has made landfall.
As of 1100 UTC, the Tropical Storm Earl was about 90 miles west of Belize City, with maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH. The Government of Mexico has discontinued all warnings. The Government of Belize has replaced the hurricane warning with a tropical storm warning for coastal areas.
On Wednesday, the HWN activated simultaneously on both its primary frequency of 14.325 MHz and its backup frequency of 7.268 MHz, because of poor 20 meter propagation.
The Belize Amateur Radio Club (BARC) was tracking the storm as it approached Belieze. BARC announced that its members will be using the using the frequencies of 7.177 MHz and 147.000 MHz to handle emergency traffic within Belize, in addition to other frequencies “for external contact where necessary.”
The Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN) meets on 3.815 MHz. The Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) meets on 14.325 MHz. — Thanks to HWN and to Emil Rodriguez, V31ER, President, Belize Amateur Radio Club
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT WED AUG 3 2016
For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:
The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Earl, located in the western Caribbean Sea.
Tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the next 5 days.
July has come and gone and August in upon us. I want to start off by saying how much fun I had visiting Field day locations. Each club’s site was as unique as each of our section’s clubs are. But each seemed to be having good time. It was a tough couple of days, I drove a little over 1000 miles… and I had a ball doing it!
I’m very proud of the effort made by all the section’s clubs and I look forward to seeing you all again. Soon!
From the HWN:The Hurricane Watch net activated Wednesday, August 3 at 1500 UTC in response to Tropical Storm Earl, which is forecast to become a hurricane later today…Due to poor propagation on 20 meters, due to an ongoing geomagnetic storm, the HWN will operate simultaneously on both it’s primary frequency of 14.325 MHz and it’s back up frequency 7.268 MHz until Earl is no longer a threat.
Now! Having said all that, I realize that Hurricanes rarely affect our section, but, we can help them out by avoiding those frequencies. Please be courteous and help out.
The Texas State Convention is this Weekend (August 5th and 6th) in Austin at Summerfest! If you can make it I recommend that you come. The ARRL will have a booth in the main hall and I’ll be there and would like to meet you. Stop by and say Hi!
H.R. 1301 is now available for us to look at. It is too long to put in this newsletter. Here is the link:http://www.arrl.org/amateur-radio-parity-act Please read it and contact the either me, your Division Director or Vice Director or the ARRL directly if you have any comments. You may also contact your Congressman and Senators and voice your comments with them.
Don’t know who your representatives are? Here’s a neat little website that let’s you search by zip code:http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
I continue to get VE reports of new licensees and license upgrades from our VE Teams. Keep up the good work! Please Encourage them to consider joining the ARRL. (There is a link on the section web site if you need to go that route) Also remember we have a fund-raising program that member clubs can use when they sign new league members through their club. Email me for details.
That’s all for now….
Since the invention of the medium in the late 19th century, radio has captured the popular imagination. Amateur Radio operators, often called “hams”, enthusiastically embraced this form of communication from its earliest days, connecting to others across the world for the purposes of recreation, experimentation and, most importantly, public service. Along the way, they have greatly improved the technology of amateur radio.
In times of natural disaster, terrorist attacks and strife, when other forms of communication may be unavailable or unreliable, amateur radio operators have stepped into the void to relay critical emergency information.
At this time, I encourage all Texans to learn more about amateur radio and to recognize the many contributions amateur radio operators make to our great state. In times of crisis and in time of calm, ham radio operators’ commitment to community remains steadfast.
Therefore, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas do hereby proclaim June 20-26, 2016 to be Amateur Radio Operator Week
An exact copy of the proclamation is available at www.arrlwgd.org.
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