delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 37 NUMBER 11

ARES News

Who’s in charge here? II have a development to report from our ARES organization in Delaware County.  Ben Schwab, W8AXE, has been a very busy young man. Many of us can remember back to when we were setting course to achieve our main career goal and going through the prerequisites, whether college, trade or just OJT.  Ben is working to get into the fire service, and has the necessary certification. Here in Ohio, that’s not a one-step process- it involves (several) part time positions and many tests. Ben’s diligently chasing that dream while trying to maintain his current full time position (you have to pay the bills!).  You might be interested to know he’s working at the Columbus Airport on the crash/fire crew. Ben is stepping back to an AEC position on a temporary basis while his career path settles down. Remember: God, Family, Job…~then~ hobby! So I am happy to step in on a longer-term temporary basis to serve as EC for a while in addition to SEC duties. I certainly encourage Ben (as a retired fire-dog how could I not??) and I am very happy to keep him involved so that when he has reached a comfortable point he can step back in and give the necessary time and energy to the EC position.  Let’s encourage Ben as we need youth and energy in this hobby! DELARA at the ARC No, you didn’t skip a page and wind up back at the regular Red Cross section.  There is a second function to the ARC (American Red Cross) station that we should keep in mind. That is, serving our county in times of emergency with ARES. In the Ohio Section Emergency Response Plan, we call for establishing a “County Control Station”, a station with full HF capabilities located away from the county EOC and the emergency. The purpose of the Control Station is to do just that- control the various net activities within the county during an emergency. We have proven the need for this station during full scale exercises where there was simply too much activity (and noise) to allow the EC to fully control the nets.  A typical response would be that the EC would report to the county EOC, and second-in operators would light up the ARC station. The CCS would be “Net Control” on the various nets that might follow, as well as handling HF net and fldigi message traffic if needed.  The DELARA ARC station is well suited to handle that task. We have two FT-8800 dual band radios on the “ARES Desk” which give us a lot of capabilities. Also on that desk is a DMR mobile, with several different DMR repeaters programmed. This gives us the opportunity to work digital voice messages across Ohio and to the State EOC.  These radios are battery powered at all times, so any power interruption to the ARC building (which does not have an automatic generator) would not interrupt our radio communicating.  Obviously everything else would go down, but we do have a 12-volt lamp with PowerPole connectors that would help. There are generators in the barn that we can quickly hook up for longer duration activity. On the corner desk, collocated with the Kenwood TS-120 digital station is another ARES position, with another dual band rig. We have used two VHF positions on a couple occasions, and during a large scale emergency we would need a second operator at least. This position is also localed at the fldigi HF station for a reason: there would probably be HF digital traffic to be handled. So we’re very well outfitted for emergency work. We could use a couple more dual band antennas, but plans are there to do that. Yet another function of this station would be as a relay or backup source for Red Cross amateur radio communicating.  Currently handled in downtown Columbus, this duty could fall our direction with power or other failure. In return for use of this beautiful building, we are only too happy to be available to do this task! Of course, the DELARA Field Day is a high point for our club every year, but we should remember ~why~ we have a Field Day- it’s to prepare for something massive such as a grid-down power outage, widespread destruction of any type, or any other larger scale emergency that would require amateur radio to conduct communications across the country if necessary. Our antenna array for several HF stations puts us in a good position to step up right away to handle those duties. So what’s missing? The needed addition to make all this stuff work is easy to figure out: it’s YOU!   The radios won’t operate themselves. In order to make all this work, we need many people- and we need trained people!  We have been blessed with a dedicated group in ARES, and we have accomplished a lot- from cooperation with the EMA and Red Cross, a great emergency station, lots of meaningful activities and service to our community, and technical developments such as MESH.  I hope we can keep our enthusiasm up, and remember that just like the events following Hurricane Michael, we will be up for the challenge of serving our communities right here at home. -Stan, N8BHL
Reminder: Statewide tornado drill September 5

Ohio ARES 

Stan Broadway, N8BHL

Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator

First Things First Yeah, I know… here it comes again. Are you registered in ARES Connect?  If you have not registered, even if you’re not real active with ARES, I strongly suggest… I implore you… to take five minutes and register with your callsign!  Why?  This is our opportunity to really make a statement quantifying how much amateur radio is doing to serve our greater community!  If you’re an EC, you may designate an assistant to enter events and check times, you don’t have to do it all yourself! If you’re credentialed in ICS courses (and more) please make sure your certificates are on file with the Ohio Training Database so that we can apply those credits to your ARES Connect status!  Why all this pressure? If the “Big One” decided to hit, and we’re requested to send help we’re going to pick level 3 and level 2 operators to go- and we want to make sure your credentials are up to date. So do it now- we’ll hold until you come back. https://arrl.volunteerhub.com/ Thanks, welcome back! Something OTHER than two meters If you were watching the aftermath of historic Hurricane Michael, there was some real learning to be done. For up to 50 miles inland there WAS NO two meters or any repeater operation. They were gone. How did local hams step up to ‘save the day’ – and they did save the day- ?  From what I saw the majority of local communications was handled on 80 meters. That’s right- good old HF.  Hastily- constructed NVIS antennas did the job!  So what does that mean to us?   It means simply we’re not adequately prepared if we depend on 2/440 repeaters for communications.  I’m concerned that our current environment of “ham in a day” licensing is not being followed up with solid elmering!  Can you grab a random hunk of wire, some coax, a couple connectors and make it all work?  That’s exactly how those in the disaster zone were able to provide the only communications from their area. Check James, WX4TV’s random shorted-coax antenna as he passed hundreds of messages over 4-5 days from an isolated shelter. Could you?? https://youtu.be/F8UIR-mzMRM There may well come a time when we need to shift our voice communications off from 2/440 even if they still work. Where do we go?   After the hurricane, I’m not at all afraid to suggest we take a “shack in a box” radio, some wire and coax, and use 80. Consider someone deployed to a shelter- HF would probably work fine.  Have that in your go-box!! There’s another band that has a lot of promise- that is 6 meters. Yup- small antennas, most HF radios cover 6, and ground wave coverage is pretty good. After all 44 MHz worked well for OSP for years!  I suggest 6 meter SSB as an alternative that we need to practice! Not only solid voice, but data on the same frequency, at higher speed!  I’m among the many who don’t have an adequate 6 meter antenna, but I intend to change that promptly.  I’m so interested in 6 that for the January ARES VHF Simplex contest, I will multiply times 10 the points you score on 6 meters!   I’m mentioning this while the weather’s still good enough to toss a 6 meter antenna into your sky!   I will press to begin testing on 6 for the state checkin nets and other opportunities! The ARES VHF Contest The annual ARES VHF Simplex Contest is set for January 12.  It is primarily to test your Simplex footprint, and have some fun!  As mentioned above, I would really like to see some six meter participation this year!  I think it’s an important way to test your skills as well as your antenna capabilities.  Quick Sarge Update  We have what I consider to be a major update from W8SGT!  After nearly a year and a half, we have finally secured permission to take greater control of the state PC’s in our station. That means we now have loaded numerous ham radio software applications, including fldigi and many more, and we can begin (finally!) operating our station rigs through the house computers. We have been getting by with our own laptops, which worked well but wasn’t optimal. We are also making progress on securing a feedline path for a third HF antenna. After over a year of banging our heads against the copper-sheathed roof we’ve simply given up on locating an antenna there.  No design (and we tried nearly ALL) would work successfully. Because of EMP-proof construction, we simply can’t just drill a hole and run some coax. So if we can figure out another way of getting our RF outside the building, we can plant a dipole along the outer boundaries of the property. That’s important as we’re getting more involved with 60 meter communications with other states and FEMA. We want to be able to hold 80 SSB and OHDEN intact while we try other HF bands. So go do some homework on 6 meter antennas (horizontal polarization!) and have some fun!