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

ARES News

Donn Rooks, K8AOK Delaware County Emergency Coordinator

It's ARES Season       

  After hardly suffering through another mild winter, notice how quickly the snow melted, its ARES season once again.  While our calendar of activities is filling up I've tried to limit our involvement to meaningful and fun events, like Field Day June 24th and 25th.  While it's our great annual club event Field Day it's also an ARES event utilizing all our capabilities to set up stations and operate for 24 hours straight.  But wait, there's more, lots more.   Here's what we have planned for the coming Summer into Fall, barring any emergency call outs.   May 23, Kids Safety Scene, Delaware County Fairgrounds, 8:30am till 3:00pm May 27, New Moon 1/2 Marathon, Downtown Delaware, 5 pm till 9 pm. June 7, Delaware, Bicycle Police Training, Delaware, 10:30 am till 4 pm. June 25, Mingo Man, Mingo Park, 6:30 am till 1 pm. June 24-25, Field Day, American Red Cross Building. July 4, Sunbury Parade, Sunbury, 8:30 till 11:30 am. July 30, Ironman 70.3, OWU and other areas, 6 am till 5 pm September, All Horse Parade, Downtown Delaware, 2 pm till 4:30 pm November, Veterans Day Parade, Downtown Delaware   I'm recruiting now for the Kids Safety Scene, 4 of us:, New Moon, 8-10 of us; and Bicycle Police Training, 6-10 of us.  This last item, Bicycle Police Training, is a program for Police officers from Ohio and beyond who will be here to learn the latest techniques in crowd management and control and other activities using their bicycles.  If you saw any video from the RNC in Cleveland last summer you know how effective these riders are at breaking up crowds into small groups and diffusing potential problems.  And we can be there to watch them train with a crowd of volunteers.  It should be very interesting to watch. Please note the following scenario and requirements.  Let me know as soon as possible if you'd like to participate and I'll forward the email address so you can fill out the information they request.    "The event will kick off with a Zombie Costume Contest with prizes at 11:30 am.  Regular humans are welcome too. Following the contest, zombie and non-zombie volunteers will then serve as a horde of people for crowd management training. This exercise has a maximum number of 75 role players. Many will probably choose to dress as Zombies and participate in the contest.  This is a crowd management exercise so we are taking extra precautions to make sure we don't end up with real trouble. Officers will search bags and a wand will be used.  All volunteers must be pre-registered, no walk-ins, no observers.  Must be age 18 years or older.  Driver's license or State ID # must be provided upon registration.  May be subject to a background check.  Must present Driver's license or State ID day of exercise.  Must sign waiver day of exercise  You may bring a small bag for personnel items, subject to search.  NO weapons of any kind, real or fake." While ARES cannot and does not ask for money from any organization we assist we have been blessed with the New Moon, Mingo Man and Ironman making contributions to our 501(c)3 non-profit account.  Most of the past contributions were used to help fund the Red Cross building set up all of us can use and enjoy.  I hope they are equally generous this year. You too can contribute to this account whether its money or material and receive a tax deduction, just ask Stan N8BHL or Ken W8SMK for a receipt.  Grab your mobiles and handheld radios, charge the batteries and join your ARES team for some fun and a good excuse to get on the radio.
Reminder: Statewide tornado drill May 5

Ohio ARES 

Stan Broadway, N8BHL

Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator

Technology and Reliability

These two concepts, each desirable in its own right, can become confusing when applied to planning for emergencies.  Each county Emergency Coordinator (EC) is responsible for creating plans to carry his ARES unit through an emergency: Alerting and activating the group, organizing a communications network that will be responsive and comprehensive for their agencies, managing the ARES volunteers, maintaining their operation, and successfully demobilizing and reporting both internally and to the Section or League.  It’s impossible to create a uniform approach- each county’s potential emergencies differ, each county’s agencies operate somewhat differently, and each county’s politics can vary widely. The EC must navigate all those different waters while keeping volunteers interested and trained and avoiding the pitfalls of personalities of ‘grumpy old men’.  While each county does vary, we can put up a framework that can be modeled and adapted to each county, and that’s what we tried to do with the Ohio Section Emergency Response Plan (OSERP).  Because amateur radio must be ready to perform under the harshest of conditions – the loss of all other means of communication- we have to make our plans using the ‘lowest common denominator’ approach: HF and VHF/UHF simplex, no power and no fancy stuff.  Ohio has a fairly well thought out plan in that regard, with an eye toward directing messages from our agencies (typically an EMA) to the Ohio EOC in Columbus.  But that doesn’t mean it is the ~only~ plan we can have. ARES advertises that we can be a dependable communications ally in many different circumstances. For the RNC and related events last July, there was no communications emergency. We were in place as a ‘standing backup’ to reinforce existing communication paths. With that in mind, we have the option of trying many of the new modes available to us. We’ve been using fldigi to send IS-213 messages reliably on HF and VHF/UHF, and each county needs to practice that regularly. The use of DMR, Fusion and D-star all can create a dependable, wide-area network!  There are two big issues with digital: First, the inability to send digital messages (IS-213 and others) through fldigi or other software. Second, the variety of modes creates the situation faced by car makers trying to introduce AM stereo- the inability to reach a common standard brought a hasty demise to the whole idea. Will that happen in amateur radio?  Into which pot do we toss our money?  My answer is: as many as you can get.  We anticipate adding DMR at the Sarge, where there is a D-star radio already (it gets only light use if at all).  We had good luck with the DMR “Ohio Channel” during RNC, and the inexpensive radios seem to generate the potential of more repeaters and more radios in the field.  Consider a statewide blizzard, or a flood event such as several states to our south are currently battling. A linked network of DMR repeaters would conceivably offer handheld coverage across the wide operations field. That would be pretty cool.  So my advice is to cultivate the new stuff- perhaps find an expert in DMR, another in Fusion and Wires-x who might be AEC’s in their specific field. Let’s all work together and cooperate to put all available tools into use. Another ‘new – not new’ service we should be encouraging is Winlink. It’s been a proven performer for years both serving sea going vessels with position and email support, and providing ‘last mile’ email for large disasters. Previously constrained to expensive packet modems, we can now use Winmore and a sound card!  The best thing here is we can originate a normal email from, say, a PC in a vehicle through VHF or even HF onto the Internet. These emails are delivered to anyone, who can respond using their own email system.  What a great way to link everyone! Hamilton County is pioneering ARES involvement with Winlink, and I urge you all to pick up on their lead!  I have found it a bit incongruous that the new national traffic organization was launched with the attitude (in their early publications and newsletters) that while ARES was distracted and enraptured by new technology they, with their old-fashioned message handling would ‘save the world’.  Indeed, they are trying to move into the neighborhood proclaiming the ability to move IS-213’s… in an aldulterated form.  In Ohio, our plan is that ARES will handle inter-agency messaging. With that, there is a wide and inviting table for traffic handling organizations to step in and offer messages home and other ‘health and welfare’ traffic to victims of disasters. What a great partnership that forms with amateur radio service both agencies and the public. We are cultivating a new relationship with “Ohio Responds” – a database registering volunteers which helps assure our liability protection under Ohio law. We’ll have more on that soon!   Now this is all exciting- but the whole thing depends on one person: the ARES volunteer. If apathy, disinterest and unwillingness to invest time and energy remove our volunteers from being active the whole thing falls apart.  You wouldn’t join a basketball team without expecting to practice, or a band without spending practice time at home. Likewise, ARES membership involves our time, and energy.  We this year have said every member needs to have the four ‘magic’ NIMS courses. You’re all to be encouraged- the numbers look very good!  I am extremely grateful for your work!

 

© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH