ARRL

Ohio Section ARES Year End Report 2021

ARES Around Ohio

Ohio’s amateur radio operators continued to train and supply important community service over the year 2021.  Using their own radio equipment, these operators continued to educate themselves through NIMS and other sources to present a trained, ready resource to counties and Ohio.

According to independentsector.org, the 2021 hourly value of a volunteer was $28.54.

Ohio ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) members provided 58,202 hours of training, meeting, and service valued at $1.661 Million.  In addition, each of our over 955 members provided an average of $300 in radio equipment, saving our communities and the state $286,500.

ARES operators provided 17,000 hours of service for 678 “public service” events (parades, rides, runs, and competition) and they provided 6579 hours of service in 113 emergency events (the majority being weather-related).

ARES members work hard to present a trained resource to our partners.  We have over 1,000 active members. 732 have completed the four NIMS courses (100, 200, 700, 800) to be considered “Level 2” operators.  196 have added either 300-400 or the Professional Development Series to qualify for management positions. 74 have completed Auxcomm training, 10 are COML, 2 COMN, and 4 COMT rated.  Ohio ARES keeps an extensive training database on all ARES members. Including such credentials as firefighting, EMT/Medic, police and many other credits, we now have over 10,000 certificates on file.  We submit this level of training across the state is unrivaled by any other state.

 

The Ohio Auxcomm Team

The Ohio Auxcomm Team operates station W8SGT at the Ohio EOC. Over 2021, 139 unique Ohio operators contacted the station over 941 times during our 41 weekly readiness HF voice nets.  There were numerous contacts from outside Ohio, including PA, SC, TN, VA, WI and WV.   The station is set up for voice, digital and Winlink operation on HF, VHF and UHF frequencies.  Our operators are well trained and at the ‘top of the list’ for net control and emergency skills. Most have experience in the emergency services, all have experience participating in actual emergencies. Some represent our skills elsewhere, such as an annual trip for two of our operators to communicate with the New York Marathon. These operators are dedicated to the program, attending the EOC each Tuesday evening for the weekly readiness nets.  Our operators develop and maintain antennas and equipment interfaces as needed.

 

 

Ohio Digital Emergency Net

A critical service of amateur radio is transmitting formatted ICS forms. The Ohio Digital Emergency Net (OHDEN) is part of Ohio ARES with the purpose of operating digitally to send these messages.  Holding weekly readiness checks over 12 months, 80 unique operators totaled 788 contacts averaging 65 per month. These Came from an average of 18 counties per month.

There are several layers of HF voice nets in Ohio to organize and send messages. These nets are mentioned because they are included as a part of our larger “Simulated Emergency Test” sponsored by the ARRL each October.

 

Local Emergency Nets

Ohio counties in which there is an active ARES program conduct regular local nets on VHF/UHF frequencies.  Many also conduct local digital nets.  Ohio county ARES units conducted 4,319 voice nets and 693 digital nets accumulating 27,109 hours. These times are included in the general ARES report above. These local nets carry the specific purpose of service our county partners from EMA, hospital and other agencies.

It should be noted that most “Skywarn” severe weather nets are conducted on a local basis, communicating with the National Weather Service. These times are in addition to activity cited above. However, ARES and the Auxcomm team continue a program aimed at providing blanket coverage of the state through digital voice systems when needed.

 

The “Watch Desk Project”

Storm systems usually bring serious static and RF noise making communication on HF bands extremely difficult. By linking the two major digital voice repeater systems in Ohio (Yaesu’s “System Fusion” and the P-25 based “DMR” system) we offer coverage through over 225 repeaters saturating the state. This creates a significant ability to communicate static-free with handheld radios.  This “Watch Desk Project” has been used in cooperation with the EOC’s Watch Desk during severe weather outbreaks. It is a valuable resource that stands ready when needed.

 

We Test Our Readiness

In order to test our readiness to be a viable resource Ohio ARES participates in the ARRL-sponsored “Simulated Emergency Test” in early October each year. Ohio generally places in the top three ranking nationwide.  This year’s scenario was a derecho with heavy wind damage followed by days of sub-zero cold resulting in loss of power and communication.  Thirty one counties and over two hundred operators  were active for the exercise as was the Ohio Auxcomm Team and W8SGT.   W8SGT received 35 digital messages (205, 213, others plus Winlink forms) 31 formal voice messages and many tactical communications over the daylong period.

Another important test is the “Ohio ARES VHF Plus” radio contest. Conducted as a contest, this event in early January is actually a test of residential VHF/UHF antennas and stations. It affords operators the chance to plot where their “simplex” signals (non-repeater) may be heard. This gives the knowledge of how they would participate in a large-scale disaster or prolonged power outage that would take away repeaters.

 

Members of our teams appreciate the cooperation and acceptance of our partners at all levels!  We will continue to study and practice to maintain our service at acceptable levels.

Submitted by OH SEC Stan Broadway – N8BHL

From the Ohio Section Postscript 10 Jan 2022

FCC Issues Enforcement Advisory: Radio Users Again Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes

From the ARRL Website:

04/20/2021

On April 20, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a new Enforcement Advisory, repeating the admonishments contained in a January Advisory that no licensee or user of the Amateur or Personal Radio Services may use any radio equipment in connection with unlawful activities of any nature.

The Commission specifically cautioned that individuals found to have used radios in connection with any illegal activity are “subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and in some cases, criminal prosecution.”

In addition, licensees should be aware that illegal operation in any service or band, including completely outside the amateur allocations, could potentially disqualify a person from holding any FCC license in any service, not just the Amateur Service.

Any amateur observing a suspicious infraction that might be of illegal or criminal nature should report it to their local law enforcement office or the FBI.

Updated Radio Frequency Exposure Rules Become Effective on May 3

The ARRL released ARLB011 reminding amateurs that updated Radio Frequency Exposure rules become effective on 3 May 2021.

These are the same rules that have been in effect since 1997. The primary change is that amateur radio stations are no longer categorically exempt from performing an evaluation. The RF Exposure limits have not changed.

More details on the ARRL RF Exposure website.  Resources available on that page are links to an ARRL FAQ their RF Exposure and You document, an extract from the chapter on conducting a station evaluationforms you can use, and an online RF Exposure Calculator

Here’s another RF Exposure calculator by VP9KF that displays the info in a different way including discussion of duty cycle of different modes.

You do not have to submit any information with the FCC.  Simply complete the documentation and file it with your license documents. 

The ARRL states that they will be updating their site with any applicable changes as they are identified.

May 2020 Winlink Test Results

From the June 2020 ARES E-Letter, comments of Ohio SEC Stan Broadway, N8BHL:

Stan Broadway, N8BHL, Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator, reported “We did well for the Red Cross exercise on May 30; we had more Winlink activity than expected. So we need to increase the penetration and use of Winlink along with/as a part of the Ohio Digital Emergency Network (OHDEN), which principally supports the Ohio state EOC, and our traffic nets.”

ARRL Emergency Communications Course EC-001 course is back

From Ohio ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway, N8BHL:

Gang, the enclosed news release has the details, but the short version is twofold: the EC-001 course is back on a new hosting system. It appears to be the same course as before.  The good news is in part two: the course is free.

If you have volunteers new to ARES  this is a good basic course for readiness and expectation.  Feel free to pass on this information to your members!

Here is the official release:

EC-001 Launch 2019

ARRL’s Lifelong Learning Department is excited to announce the launch of the recently revised Introduction to Emergency Communications (EC-001) course. As part of this new initiative, the course has been updated, beta-tested by a group of course mentors, and transferred into a new online learning platform.

With the closing of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) in mid-2018, EC-001 lost its virtual home and was taken offline. At that point ARRL’s Emergency Preparedness staff started working with the new Lifelong Learning team to explore short and long-term alternatives for offering the course. After a period of careful evaluation and review, the decision was made to move the course from the previous Moodle platform to a more modern Learning Management System called Canvas, which will be used while the new Lifelong Learning Initiative program is being developed. The EC-001 course will eventually become part of this new, comprehensive online learning environment.

EC-001 is designed to provide basic knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. We hope this course will be the starting point for you in your service to your community as radio amateurs and inspire you to think outside the box and look at new and useful ways the radio amateur can lend a hand to the public that has given us the trust of our spectrum of skills. With the online format, students can access the course at any time from anywhere during a 9-week period, so you may work according to your own schedule.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer Introduction to Emergency Communications EC-001 once again” states Kris Bickell, ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager. “The Emergency Preparedness staff at ARRL has been incredibly helpful while we’ve worked together to get the course back up and running. And the input from previous EC-001 mentors has been an invaluable part of the testing phase. The timing is right to put the course back online.”

As in the past, students will be able to register and take the course entirely online. The Canvas platform is also mobile-responsive, meaning that students can view the course materials, interact with fellow students, and complete assignments from any mobile device.

Each course will run for nine (9) weeks, with a group of up to 30 students who will be supported by an experienced mentor. There will be no cost for the course, although students must meet certain pre-requisites to be eligible to participate, which are listed on the registration page.

To view the 2019 course schedule and to register:

http://www.arrl.org/online-course-registration

New FCC Registration System

If you are not aware the ULS CORE system is changing to an new system on 1 March 2019. These changes affect ALL licensees.
  1. You need to re register on the new system then associate your legacy FRN to the new account.
  2. You must have an email to complete the process.
If you have any questions please send Chris Jebens  kz8xu@yahoo.com or  myself an email with the subject:  CORES Question. We will get you an answer.
David A. Crawford, KF4KWW 
kf4kww@sbcglobal.net