delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 3

ARES News

Donn Rooks, K8AOK Delaware County Emergency Coordinator

They Want to do What?

  One of the advantages (disadvantages?) of being an EC is the flow of information from the SEC and ARRL about what other ARES groups have done or will be doing and what the League is planning.  It seems the Leagues paid staff spends a lot of time justifying their salaries by sending emails.  Usually I scan through them looking for something interesting or something we can do or use locally.  Or they tell us about what Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they are negotiating or have renewed.  A recent email discussion item really caught my attention, but we'll get to that in a minute.   If you've bothered to read an MOU, say the agreement the League has with the Red Cross, it covers a lot of area.  Responsibilities are outlined for both parties, limitations are clearly stated and legal elements are included to prevent lawsuits from one of the signatories overstepping their bounds.  An MOU is an important document and provides direction in our relationships with those agencies we serve.  Some is plain language and some is legalese even a lawyer probably could argue, after all that's what lawyers do, argue.   Two of the most significant MOU's we operate under are with FEMA, read that Homeland Security and read that further as the EMA right here in our county.  And the other is with the Red Cross.  There are others, but those two are the heart and soul of ARES and DELARES.   The League also supports CERTS and RACES.  Just so you'll know, there are no active CERTS locally so we're not involved with that function.  And technically we're not involved with RACES as we have no active RACES organization in the area.  And that last one is just fine with me as RACES gives authorization for local authorities to take over any of our radio stations, not just the EOC or Red Cross building equipment, in the event of a major emergency, disaster or catastrophe. Yes, they could take control of your station as a RACES member. Other than that RACES and ARES are a lot alike, both serving the community and our emergency agencies.   Now here's the rub, with me at least. from a recent article.  It seems there are certain parties who have been putting forth the idea of combining ARES and RACES under a single blanket since they are so similar.  On the surface that seems reasonable but there is that pesky item allowing some power hungry politician or bureaucrat having a fit of overzealous authority over the masses, simply ordering the taking of our stations for their own use.  Isn't in interesting how that single point would give someone total control over both the public and private communcations in a region or even the whole county.  Good bye First Amendment.  One has to consider how that would light up the Second Amendment resulting in a standoff the likes of which I don't want to imagine.    So what can we do to stop the combination of those two programs and maintain ownership and control of our stations?    We must join together and respond by reminding ourselves it's April First. (A real report) We need a volunteer to take charge of one of our mesh radio GO boxes. These are suitcases that contain mesh radios, telephones, cameras, laptop, power supplies, antennas, etc.  They are used when we do public service events. We can train you how to set up and operate them.  Please volunteer for this. Thanks! Bob W8ERD
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Ohio ARES 

Stan Broadway, N8BHL

Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator

The Reinvention of ARES

It has finally come to this: the age of the average ARES member has increased to the point that the ARRL has decided to bring this service to an end. First steps to dismantling the Amateur Radio Emergency Service came with articles published in QST disavowing ARES connections with actual emergency radio, instead limiting the scope of the league to Spandex-filled public service activities.  While at first this seemed to show the League abandoning ARES, it was in reality a subtle maneuver to increase the average heart rate of the vastly older crowd of volunteers in an effort to get them moving and productive. Unfortunately, the move was not successful, based on the average size and structure of today’s Spandex wearers. Thus, the experiment failed, leaving the typical amateur operator to lean on his antenna-equipped walker. Additional steps came with the introduction of those inexpensive, Chinese handheld radios. The League’s technical section colluded with manufacturers to introduce very small program windows on these radios making their displays very hard to read without several layers of corrective lenses. More effective was the effort to completely obfuscate the process of actually programming one of these little satanic devices, leaving many operators to wonder where the thumbwheels were to dial in frequencies. This, unfortunately, was very successful! Yet another dastardly effort prompted by retired computer programmers with nothing productive to do: the concept of digital radio. Following the example of AM Stereo (which failed because no one could agree on a standard) proponents produced not two but ~three~ different digital formats, none talking to each other, in an effort to completely confuse the hapless enthusiast.  But these are only the external attacks on our cherished service. The primary assault comes not from external sources, but internal: the vast population of ARES volunteers have begun to spawn various medical issues such that they are no longer interested in being active. For some, this has been brought about by the lack of accessories which would permit the mounting of flashing yellow lights and multiple antennas on walkers, canes, and Hoverounds.  And without these blinkie lights, after all, what fun is any of this? And so, it is with sadness that the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, ARES, is being revamped and re-molded into the AROS: the Amateur Radio Octogenarian System. Members will be required to fill out a complete medical history so that lengthy descriptions of previous medical events may be shortened to the number designator on their list. For example operator 1 might get the entire net sidetracked with a lengthy recounting of his hiatal hernia surgery and recovery. Instead, when memory triggers, he merely keys and say, “Item 3”.  And the rest of the net can quickly acknowledge then continue.  Another operator, having his own memory triggered, may counter with “Item 3 raised by my item 4.”  Much like the NTS, relatively meaningless messages can thus be shortened not so much for efficiency as to accommodate our aging much shorter memory.   Items 1 through 3 are uniformly configured to complete, “Now where in hell did I leave my ___?”  We will petition radio programmers to respond to voice command, such as: “Put me somewhere on 80 meters!” thus directing the radio to find an empty spot on the band.  A simpler shortcut, particularly in the case of 80, would cause the radio to tune to your own, named and owned, frequency on the band. This could be achieved by merely saying, “80 meters!” The radio would take it from there, with no need to scrutinize the microscopic frequency display. It is hoped that the AROS will be a catalyst to keep us all active and on the air.  The program should be completed by April 1, 2018.
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH