Here is the latest news from the ARRL North Texas Section.
This is an update regarding the traffic system and tropical storms Laura and Marco.
Updated forecast cones have tropical storm Marco making landfall as a hurricane in Southeast Louisiana at 1 pm Monday, impacting the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and Mobile Alabama. Marco will then take a more westerly path to central Louisiana by 1 pm Tuesday as a tropical storm, and then moving to East Texas by 1 pm Wednesday as a tropical depression. Assuming this current forecast holds, here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex we would experience wind and rain, but as to what extend will depend on what happens over the next couple of days.
Tropical storm Laura, according to its forecast cone, will make landfall as a hurricane in, again, Southeast Louisiana at 2 pm Wednesday and affecting the same areas as Marco. Turning north at this point, it will seemingly follow the Mississippi River, moving to the Louisiana/Alabama/Arkansas border meeting point by 2 pm Thursday.
Earlier today I met with net managers and official relay stations within the Section met to discuss these storms and how we would manage any storm-related traffic. This includes setting up additional traffic net hours should the extra capacity be warranted, and also ensuring that any traffic destined for affected areas is focused on welfare, priority, and emergency traffic, kindly asking that any routine traffic, such as general greetings, hold off while affected areas manage what is occurring in their areas. Welfare traffic into affected areas may also need to stand by while shelters or other such resources are established, especially if people are displaced from their homes.
As part of maintaining awareness and readiness, I will meet again tomorrow with net managers and official relay stations to review updated forecast cones and discuss if any changes are needed to our approach, but I feel we are in a good position and we are ready to assist with any weather-related traffic that would need to be relayed into or through our Section.
As I mentioned yesterday, at this moment the main thing stations can do is ensure their personal preparedness supplies are ready to go, such as ensuring batteries are charged, and with Marco potentially coming in our direction, being ready to remain at home for a bit while the storm moves through the area, such as having fuel for generators available, food and other supplies on hand, and maintaining awareness on the ever-changing forecast cones for these storms.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron | K8AMH
With tropical storm 13 (now named Laura) and tropical depression 14 moving towards the Southeast, I wanted to give an update regarding the traffic system and preparations that are underway.
Traffic system involvement will depend on the impact these storms have, such as on communications, electrical, and other infrastructure. There may be no or very little traffic related to these storms, or there may be some traffic, or more.
I have reached out to Section Traffic Managers across the Southeast to check in on any specific needs that we in our Section can assist with, such as setting up additional traffic net hours, and I will meet with traffic handlers and net managers in our Section to discuss these storms.
If you have friends or family within the tracks of these storms, establish an out-of-area contact. Those affected can update the out-of-area contact, and then other friends and family can receive updates from the out-of-area contact. This saves the need for those affected to try and update a large number of people, especially when communications infrastructure may be impacted. This person can also serve as a destination for any radiogram-based welfare traffic. Please ask anyone you may know in these areas that may be impacted by these tropical depressions to identify their out-of-area contact, and then let your friend and family know who that contact is.
The time to prepare is now, as once the storms arrive the time to prepare ends. Please know that I, along with other Leadership in the Section including Steve Lott Smith (KG5VK) our Section Manager and Greg Evans (K5GTX) our Section Emergency Coordinator are monitoring these storms and will provide updates should they be warranted.
You can monitor the latest through your local news outlets and the National Hurricane Center.
As always, my thanks to traffic handlers in our Section that help keep traffic moving and work so diligently to provide this vital service. While I hope there will not be a need for traffic or any other amateur radio assistance related to these storms, I stand confident in our capabilities in the National Traffic System, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, and beyond should the need arise.
Aaron | K8AMH
Aaron Hulett | K8AMH
Section Traffic Manager
ARRL North Texas Section
PO Box 479
Little Elm TX 75068-0479
Aaron (K8AMH) our Section Traffic Manager is holding an online NTS training session Saturday, September 19 at 2:00 pm Central Daylight Time. He will cover the NTS structure and how it works, the radiogram format we use when moving traffic, and also have some hands-on time with radiograms to help you practice.
If you are interested in attending this session, please register to confirm your spot. There are only 100 spots available!
On July 28 ARRL launched the new ARRL Learning Network webinar series that features 30-minute presentations from experienced ARRL members covering a variety of amateur radio topics and interests. ARRL members can sign up for live sessions that are hosted using GoToWebinar, and recordings of past webinars are also available. During the live sessions members are invited to ask questions, and after the 30-minute presentation a 15-minute Q&A period follows.
The first presentation, Relay Stations and the Art of Traffic Handling, was given by our very own Section Traffic Manager, Aaron Hulett (K8AMH) and introduced techniques and skills gained and used when relaying messages during emergencies, disasters, and other incidents that interrupt conventional communication tools. In a later presentation, our Section Manager, Steve Lott Smith (KG5VK) discussed how you can use computer software to help log your contacts and how you can export contest information when turning in your contest reports.
ARRL members can sign up for upcoming webinars and watch recording of past webinars by going to http://www.arrl.org/ARRL-Learning-Network.
With ARRL FD just two weeks away, I wanted to answer the most frequent questions about Field Day.
As always, I want to emphasize that we all do the safest thing for each one of us and for our club members.Q: Can a club member operate from home using the club call sign?A: Yes, but the call sign may only be used in one location and the member must receive permission from the trustee of the call sign. However, keep in mind these two facts:
1. Only those members that are within a 1,000-foot circle of the defined ARRL FD Location.
2. No more than one station (Station Defined as a Callsign) can be on the same Band/Mode at any given instant (FCC Rule). So if Jerry W5JJ, Kelly W5KJ and Debbie W5DJ all live within a 1,000 foot circle they can use the same callsign provided they have permission from the Trustee of the Callsign AND they ensure that they do not operate on the same Band-Mode at ANY given instant in order to be compliant with this FCC Rule.
This requires coordination and planning with each other. If anyone does this and they are outside of the 1,000-foot circle, the hams have broken the FD Rule and therefore must submit their log so stating as a Check Log.
Distributed Multi-OP is beyond most clubs/members capability (Distributed Multi-Op is what we are discussing under item 2.) because of the required coordination to ensure no more than one person per Band-Mode.
If coordination can be done and each member of the team is using the same callsign while using the same software, such as N1MM+ on linked computers..
However, keep in mind if any of the members of that Distributed Multi-Op team are outside of a 1,000 foot circle then they have broken the 1,000-foot ARRL FD Rule and you will need to state so during Log Submission and therefore submit your Log as a Check Log
*** Most clubs will ask each member to operate on their own, with their own station and callsign. When the operator submits their log, they state the Name of the Club of which they are a member.
Each station can work any other station. For example, W5JJ can work anyone he wants, including other club members operating with their own callsign. Just because W5DJ is a member of the same club does not mean he cannot work Debbie (W5DJ)
The ONLY rule changes for FD 2020 are Class D stations may work anyone else including other Class D stations and Individual scores will be aggregated to Club scores, if those submitting their scores so request it, by naming their club.
*** Clubs will not need to total the scores of each member and submit a combined log ***
A few clubs will still have a few members that insist on going to a Field Day location and operating just like they have forever. While I do NOT recommend this, it is OK to operate at a location as long as they do not violate any city or county ordinance and respect the social distancing recommendations.
Please, realize sanitizing radios and especially Microphones in the field is almost impossible. If operators recognize their own personal risk and are wanting to press forward so be it.
Use the Club callsign and submit the log just as previous field days.
The members that wish to remain safer and operate at home or other secluded location, can operate with their own station callsign and add the club name to their own personal submission.
The deployed club members (In The Field) can work any other stations even if they are a club member, as long as they have not also gone home and worked the deployed station for a QSO.
I know many clubs enjoy providing a GOTA station there are some creative social distancing methods of doing so, however they demand the control op, be on their toes at all times and therefore I do NOT recommend it.
Personally, I will be operating 1E from my home station. I will be accepting traffic addressed to myself as the Section Manager for those seeking those bonus points
I will take traffic on cw and phone. When you work me on Phone, just state you have traffic for me. On
CW just send QRG? When I send QRG without the question mark, you can start sending your traffic.
I will also check Winlink using VARA P2P (HF to HF) at 3PM and 6 PM on Saturday. My VARA Day Time Center frequency will be 3594.500 with the Dial Frequency of 3593.000
You may of course also send Traffic to me via any of the established Nets
Have a Safe and Fun ARRL FD event.
I will be glad to answer any further questions Just drop me an email.
The North Texas Section ARES is participating in the American Red Cross Communications Exercise on May 30, 2020. Please work with your local EC to coordinate your activity. The Incident Action Plan can be found here. Please review Annex E (Pages 14-18) – it is a process flow description and should answer your questions about how to participate.
STAY PREPARED, STAY READY, STAY SAFE
Greg Evans, K5GTX
North Texas Section Emergency Coordinator
With one month to go before 2020 ARRL Field Day, June 27-28, the ARRL Programs and Services Committee (PSC) has adopted two temporary rule waivers for the event:
1) For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.
Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,” including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit.
2) In addition, for 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions).
Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day.
For example, if Podunk Hollow Radio Club members Becky, W1BXY, and Hiram, W1AW, both participate in 2020 Field Day — Hiram from his Class D home station, and Becky from her Class C mobile station — both can include the radio club’s name when reporting their individual results. The published results listing will include individual scores for Hiram and Becky, plus a combined score for all entries identified as Podunk Hollow Radio Club.
The temporary rule waivers were adopted by the PSC on May 27, 2020.
ARRL Field Day is one of the biggest events on the amateur radio calendar, with over 36,000 participants in 2019, including entries from 3,113 radio clubs and emergency operations centers. In most years, Field Day is also the largest annual demonstration of ham radio, because many radio clubs organize their participation in public places such as parks and schools.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many radio clubs have made decisions to cancel their group participation in ARRL Field Day this year due to public health recommendations and/or requirements, or to significantly modify their participation for safe social distancing practices. The temporary rule waivers allow greater flexibility in recognizing the value of individual and club participation regardless of entry class.
ARRL is contacting logging program developers about the temporary rule waivers so developers can release updated versions of their software prior to Field Day weekend. Participants are reminded that the preferred method of submitting entries after Field Day is via the web applet. The ARRL Field Day rules include instructions for submitting entries after the event. Entries must be submitted or postmarked by Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
Good Day Everyone! I decided to do a separate Newsletter for May because I wanted to address several topics with you.
- ARC Exercise
- Taskbook Updates
- Staying Safe
SKYWARN/Storm Spotting/Weather Ready:
A key service provided by the Amateur Radio Service is ground truth reporting for the National Weather Service AND our communities. By providing corroborated ground-truth reports, the NWS can accurately issue weather warnings to your community that can save lives. Without your SKYWARN-trained eyes on the sky, the NWS can only rely on radar data, remote environmental sensors, and single-sourced reports from potentially untrained individuals. Social media has been an ineffective way to provide weather reports to NWS because of the potential for fake reports.
SKYWARN reporting is our most frequent activity. Accurate, concise reporting over the radio allows not only the NWS to make decisions, but the public and emergency management in our communities can listen in and act accordingly. For example, several cities in Collin County monitor the ARES SKYWARN net on the K5PRK repeater and issue alerts to their citizens based on the reports they hear from the spotters! The public uses broadcastify and scanners to listen to that repeater as well. Collin County has received numerous reports from citizens saying the SKYWARN spotter reports helped save their lives.
SKYWARN reporting makes a difference not just to your local community, but also to adjoining communities that may be monitoring. Communities that may be in the path of the storm can prepare and warn their citizens.
An accurate and current SKYWARN repeater list should be provided to the NWS SKYWARN desk and the NTX Section. Please provide current repeater information including node information and notify the section of repeater changes via email to email@example.com
Saving lives IS THE NUMBER ONE objective, and the key tools we use are the radio and our eyes. With these tools, we provide more people with critical information about severe weather that may be coming their way while potentially saving their lives.
If you have issues with SKYWARN or reporting weather, please let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Red Cross National Communications Exercise:
The American Red Cross is conducting a national communication exercise on May 30th. The local Emergency Coordinator should be coordinating with the ARC Texas, local ARC and myself. Contact your local EC to inquire about participation.
NTX Section Taskbook Updates:
The NTX Section Taskbook was designed to document the training activity of the West Gulf Division in general and the North Texas Section specifically. While there are plans to update Section Taskbook in the future, there are no changes currently. We are looking at setting up an electronic version of the Taskbook that can be signed off digitally.
Staying Safe – COVID-19:
This global pandemic has affected almost everyone in the entire world – medically, mentally, and financially; nearly everyone in the whole world! The fight is unlike any war that any of us have lived thru. The enemy is silent, tortious, and deadly. Everything has changed; whether we like it or not, agree with it or not.
The need for safety has not changed; just the tools and methods that we use to fight this invisible enemy. We all need to follow the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Why should we wear a mask? Because it can save the life of someone you love or know. A graphic I saw recently summed it up well:
If a person with COVID-19 is not wearing a mask, you are still 70% likely to contract COVID-19 while wearing a mask. The best protection is for both the infected and uninfected persons to wear masks, reducing the infection rate to 1.5%.
Wear a mask when in public, maintain social distancing AND stay home if you are sick! It is the right thing to do for yourselves, your families, your friends, and your country.
STAY PREPARED, STAY READY, STAY SAFE
Greg Evans, K5GTX
ARRL NTX SEC
ARRL NTX ASM
Last month I held an online NTS training that was well attended with over 90 participants. I’m setting another session up for those interested.
Like last time, no cost on this, but registration is required as I can only host 100 participants in my Zoom account (which I’m going with over the Amazon Chime setup I used last time – this appears to work much better, so I’m hoping for a smoother experience). I’m also going to try and take a recording like I did in the last session. If this fills quickly I’ll look at getting another session set up pronto, but let’s see how the response rate goes on this one first.
More details and registration are here.
Aaron | K8AMH