The Monitor is published monthly by the Massanutten Amateur Radio Association, Inc.,
(a non-profit organization under the IRS regulations),
for radio amateurs in the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Net control used the 147.315 Massanutten Peak repeater for most of the activity, and used the 147.225 repeater for overflow traffic. Simplex communication on 146.550 was used to facilitate the communication between the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Ham radio was with the kayak team that attempted to rescue the victim caught in a tree in the middle of the raging Shenandoah River. Ham radio was in the helicopter that rescued a motorist stranded by high water south of Cootes Store. Ham radio was used to investigate the condition of dams in the western mountains, and to monitor the status of the evacuation efforts in Bridgewater and Timberville. Ham radio was used to contact the South River School Red Cross shelter when the EOC was unable to establish communications with the shelter by telephone. And ham radio was used to receive reports on road closings, bridge washouts, and, in one case, a pine tree blocking U.S. Route 33 West.
Rockingham County ARES EC Colin Hester (N4ZFQ) has prepared a short write-up on the Rockingham/Harrisonburg ham radio efforts (see related article in this issue of the Monitor).
Likewise, any attempt to thank the individual hams who participated would result in a list several pages long. Hams who have not been heard on the repeaters for months came out of the woodwork to assist. Hams with a reputation for endless ragchewing handled traffic with surprising brevity and efficiency. It has been years since the valley repeaters have had so many operators active at one time, with so little interference, such high efficiency, and such effectiveness in communicating messages from one spot to another.
I want to thank all the amateurs who took part during Hurricane Fran. It is just impossible to list them all. It is also impossible to describe the GREAT job they did in time of need. It sure was nice to know that all were there in the time of need. The people at the Augusta County Emergency Operations Center (and their superiors, too!) were also glad. They want me to pass along a big "Thank You" to all involved.
We have formed a few new committees of late - one for the Christmas party, another for the update to the club By-Laws, and a third to nominate new officers for the 1997 calendar year. Thanks to the Christmas Party committee, for it seems like much has been decided upon. I know the By-Law Committee is getting together real soon and will bring some suggested improvements to the Club to be approved. The nominating committee will also be meeting soon, and getting that matter taken care of, also.
It is again getting close to the time for Bike Virginia to take place. I know several amateurs are already working toward getting the details and plans worked out for that event. I sure hope we have a lot of hams give of their time as they have in the past to make this a really nice event. I for one am looking forward to participating again this year.
As of this writing, I am getting ready to go to the Virginia Beach hamfest. I know of others who will be going, also, and will see them there. Of course, by the time the newsletter is out, the hamfest will be over, but I hope all will have had a great time. Perhaps some will have found some useful items for the shack and the computer. (Gee, I hope my wife will let me do the same!)
Finally, I am also working to put together a club roster and will get it to Dave. I hope it can be placed in a forthcoming issue of the newsletter. That's all for now. I have not been getting around to all the meetings, but that is going to change real soon. I would help if one of you would call me and remind me of these meetings since I can't seem to remember them anymore!
73 for now,
If anyone else would like to participate, please call me at 540-896-2913.
Ray Ritchie, KD4OXU
Radio amateurs in the valley have provided volunteer communications for this event, and have proven invaluable in assisting with emergency situations, as well as helping keep the organizers apprised of the progress of the riders.
Kate Collins Middle School will be the registration headquarters for the ride. The route will wend its way from Waynesboro up to Grand Caverns Regional Park for lunch on Saturday, where the festival will hold music, and children's activities, including a Bike Rodeo for riders under 14 years of age.
On Sunday, most cyclists will be touring the Stuarts Draft area while the adventuresome will try climbing part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and cycling through Sherando before joining the others for brunch in Stuarts Draft.
This event provides an opportunity for hams to participate in valuable public service from the comfort of their cars, from the fresh air of a bicycle, on foot, or sitting behind the registration desk acting as net control. Those hams who have participated in the past received free shirts, free lunches, and other premiums for their participation, in addition to gaining experience useful in ARES activities.
If you are available to help in this event, please contact Mike Dillon, KO4EA, on the 147.075 repeater, or contact Jeff Rinehart WB4PJW, on the 146.625 repeater, or call Jeff at 540-337-7337.
What should you do? The first thing is, keep quiet! Do not come on their frequency challenging them, or asking for their callsign, or whether they are licensed.
The second thing is, keep a log! If you have a tape recorder with voice activation, use it. Keep a record of the date and time and frequency of these unidentified operations.
While you are free to notify the Forest Service authorities if you suspect illegal hunting activity, be aware that illegal hunters usually monitor the Forest Service dispatch frequencies. Even if you are able to pinpoint their location, by the time the Forest Service rangers can arrive at the scene, the poachers may have long gone.
If you are a repeater operator, control operator, or trustee, and these unidentified transmissions are interfering with your repeater, it is imperative that you keep logs, records, recordings, anything that will document the interference. According to the Monitor's source, the FCC is much more likely to take legal action on a case of repeater interference than simple unlicensed band use.
The final thing you should do, after obtaining a recording and a log, is notify the ARRL Interference Desk. They will give you the address and name of the proper authority at the FCC to submit your logs and tapes, along with instructions.
Those participating were:
A special thank you to the owners of the 146.895 repeater for so generously allowing us to tie it up for the all day event. Without that, we would have had a far greater challenge on our hands.
It was a beautiful day for the event, during which no injuries were incurred. Yes, we were there at 06:30 local time! And had a great time doing it, too!
The bike club treated all hams very well, and is inviting us to assist next year. Mark your calendars: it is always Labor Day Sunday, and takes all day.
Captain Junkins from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Operations Center (EOC) called me on Thursday, September 5th, at approximately noon to brief me on the operations required for the upcoming "incident". This was perfect, coming only hours before the local ham radio club (MARA) meeting. I could learn of the plans from him, and then relay the information in person to the local ham club membership. This allowed some of our operators to prepare extensively for the tasks required over the next 48-72 hours.
The rain started about 4 am on Friday, September 6th. By 10 am, U.S. Route 33 West at Hevener Equipment was under two feet of water. Communications on the local emergency frequencies at this were becoming hectic, and the EOC upgraded their operational status to Level Three. This meant that more dispatchers were to respond to the Communication Center (ECC) to handle the increased load. Prior to this time, Claude (N4QLV), the first-line amateur net control operator, had already arrived at the ECC on Rock Street, being in place and ready for service by 7:00 am. Jeff, KD4JVC, arrived and set up shop at the EOC.
For those unfamiliar with the facility, a short description of the EOC and ECC might be in order. The Emergency Operations Center was serving as the central command post for the extensive emergency operations. The EOC was staffed by commanders and captains from the Fire Departments (city and county), Rescue services, Sheriff's Office, Public Works, Red Cross, the Forestry Service, and other agencies whose knowledge, expertise, or services might be required to render aid to the public. These officials were organized and located on the second floor of the EOC building on Rock Street.
By contrast, the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is located on the lower floor of the building, and served primarily to dispatch fire, police, rescue, and other mobile and field units once the command post had determined where they were needed most. All 9-1-1 calls from the public came into the ECC. If the ECC did not have sufficient units or the capability to respond immediately, the situation was relayed upstairs to the EOC, where the commanders could re-prioritize, re-assign, and re-direct assistance efforts.
The purpose of the ham radio operators in all of this was to provide the communications link between the ECC downstairs, and the EOC upstairs. However, at the same time, ham radio operators were being dispatched to remote stations and locations to serve as backup, alternate, and non-critical communication links. It would become apparent very early that Claude, N4QLV, would need assistance to handle both the EOC/ECC traffic and at the same time serve as net control for the field ham units.
Norman, KA4EEN, left work early, and responded to an on-air call for assistance. Norm worked side-by-side with Claude in the ECC. I arrived at 10 am to find Norman, Claude, and Jeff overwhelmed with traffic. After talking with Captain Junkins, we decided to man fire and rescue stationss to take over some of the non-critical communication between the EOC and the stations to relieve the critical communication circuits, leaving them for only life-threatening emergencies.
Response from the ham community was fine at first, but the size of the emergency quickly exhausted the available resources due to the time of day, on a normal workday. Within one hour of Captain Junkin's decision, hams were manning all but three of the remote stations. By noon, all stations were covered. Each station now had two communications circuits: the normal fire/rescue radio for life-threatening situations, and the ham circuit for all other communications needs.
Many hours passed with the hams handling traffic with all their concentration and skills. There were many calls from citizens asking the fire department to pump out their flooded basements. Since many local broadcast radio stations were off the air, the local population began monitoring scanners to receive information. With the primary fire/police circuits tied up with life-threatening situations, most of the residents realized that their government services were already tied up. Announcements were made, asking the population to call a different phone number (other than 9-1-1) for non-emergency calls. The announcements paid off, and the calls to 9-1-1 died down. The non-emergency calls were primarily handled on the ham frequencies. The Rockingham/Harrisonburg net was meeting on the 147.315 repeater, relaying these non-critical messages to the proper officials and stations in the local communities.
Dozens of non-emergency calls were taken, and not a single one had to be handled on the crowded emergency channels.
Hams served in other capacities also. Ham radio played a vital part in the dispatch and status reports of a kayaking team attempting to make a water rescue. Ham radio served as one of the critical communications links between the EOC and a military helicopter made available from Oceana Naval Base and Coast Guard Station (military aircraft do not carry radios capable of direct communication on local fire/police public service frequencies, remember?). They also served as backup communications to several Red Cross shelters, especially at a school where the phone lines were not readily available to the Red Cross personnel. Ham radio assisted in the relocation of a Broadway shelter from a school (which lost power) to the local rescue squad building. Ham radio was also called upon to assist verification of a report (found to be false) that two of the major flood-control dams were failing in the western part of the county.
I would like to take this time to thank all of the hams who participated in this emergency. Being so busy myself, I cannot begin to make a list of all the hams who helped. Rather than try to list hams from memory and risk leaving someone out, I will simply say, Thanks, you know who you are. The public is grateful. We learned a lot from this exercise, and our assistance was really valued by the public service officials. We have made many friends in local government. We rose to the challenge. And most of us had fun serving the public. Until next time,
Digitalker transmits information by FM voice, 25 seconds maximum, audible with a hand-held transceiver. Source information data in PCM is sent to Fuji-3 from the control station.
A World Wide Web home page has been established by JARL to provide information on the new satellite. Set your browser to http://www.jarl.or.jp/jarl/jas-2/ to take a look. For more information, For further information, contact the JARL Technical Laboratory, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bart Jahnke, KB9NM
ARRL VEC Manager
Pending final approval from the ARRL Board of Directors, the contest could come into being as early as next summer. The CAC welcomes comments via e-mail to email@example.com.
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Makes the Amateur Station Vanity Call Sign Request Available for Electronic Filing on September 23, 1996
On September 23, 1996, an electronic version of the Amateur Station Vanity Call Sign Request form, will be available on the Internet at Federal Communications Commission Wireless Home Page (http://www.fcc.gov/wtb) under Amateur Radio Interactive Vanity Call Sign. Detailed filing instructions are available by clicking on the item number on the Internet form.
Electronic payment is not yet available and applicants must mail a completed FCC Form 159 (FCC Remittance Advice) with payment to Federal Communications Commission, P. O. Box 358994, Pittsburgh, PA 15259-5994.
For technical assistance, please contact the FCC Technical Support Group at (202) 414-1250. For general questions regarding the application, please call the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Consumer Assistance staff at 800-322-1117.
The Bureau also notes that vanity call sign requests--as well as other application types--are processed in receipt date order only. The time of delivery within a given receipt date has no bearing on the order of processing on that day. An application filed at 12:01 AM has the same processing priority as an application received at 11:59 PM that same day. Applications will be processed in the order received at the processor's work station. The Bureau suggests taking this into consideration when delivering applications to Pittsburgh. (As vanity call sign gates open, no grants will occur until all first-day applications have been received, no matter the manner of delivery.)
There were no new calls or upgrades.
The 50/50 amount was $27.00 It was won by Elaine Archambault in the amount of $13.50.
No secretary or treasurer's report were given.
ARES report: Jeff, WB4PJW, and Ken KE4GKD, reported on the severe weather conditions and all the assistance given by hams.
There was no Skywarn report.
Bob, N4ICT, raffled off two Virginia Beach Hamfest tickets. One with to Ken, KE4GKD, and the other to Joan, KF4CWR. Proceeds go to the club
Terry, KT4UO, thanked all for their help during the Bike Race in Waynesboro.
There was a reinstatement to the club. Welcome back to Doug Edwards, KE4NWK.
Joe, W4XD, was given $30.00 for the club callsign.
Nancy Colvin, KE4PHP, reported on the VARA Christmas Party arrangements. It will be held on December 12th, 1996, at the "Schoolhouse Restaurant" in Stuarts Draft. The time will be 7:00 pm. The cost is $9.75 for the regular buffet, and $16 for the seafood buffet. The cut-off date for reservations is November 25th. Checks are to be sent to VARA, PO Box 666, Staunton, VA, 24402.
A nominating committee was appointed. They are: bill Schott, W2ZVM, Bill Jordan, KE4LKS, and Ray Pitsenbarger, KE4NNV.
A motion was made by Joan, KE4CWR, and seconded by Nancy, KE4PHP, to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 pm.
Dick, W3HXH, gave his treasurer's report. The balance after expenses was $780.64.
Colin, N4ZFQ, ARES coordinator, gave a report on ARES operations September 2nd, in response to a callup during high-water conditions southwest Rockingham County. Although not much traffic was passed, the county officials were impressed by the operation. Colin also reported on preparations fo the ARES net to be in operation during the hurricane. He went through proper procedures for use on the net, and listed evaluation sites that would need communications, in addition to the Rockingham EOC and fire departments.
Ray, KD4OXU, thanked all the hams who helped out at the Bridgewater parade. The Bridgewater town council donated $300 to the club in appreciation of the help. Ray also mentioned that hams will be needed for the Johnny Appleseed ride September 28 and 29. October 12th is the MS Walk in Harrisonburg. Hams helping should be at Duke Hall at JMU at 7:30 am.
David, KD9LA, newsletter editor, asked if the club wishes to renew the Bulk Mailing permit. The club voted to continue.
Norman, KA4EEN, ARES Net Manager, said he had control operators signed up for September, but is always looking for additional help.
Dale, KD4DAI, wanted to know if the club wanted to have a Christmas banquet this year. David, KD9LA thought that the VARA club would have a separate banquet from us this year. The club voted to have a banquet this year. David volunteered to get info from several places on prices and availability.
The slate of officers, as selected by the Board members, was presented. David Tanks, AD4TJ, agreed to accept the nomination for president. Walt Lam, KF4BFB, agreed to vice-president. Dick Weaver, W3HXH, accepted nomination for treasurer again, and Wilton Thomas, KF4BFL, accepted nomination for secretary. Board member at large (nominated) is Sandy Mullins, KE4PZC. The candidates will be voted on at the October meeting, with the floor being open to other nominations if there are any. The officers will be active at the November meeting.
The 50/50 drawing was won by Wilton. His share was $9.50.
Bob Slaney, WB4WRE (Bob #9!) was accepted as a new member. The applications for ken Purdy, WB1CKP of Staunton, and Chip Mullins, KF4LGT (congratulations, Chip!) of Elkton were read, and will be voted on at the October meeting.
Stin, KE4SSF, said that during the Bridgewater parade, the public was not very respectful of the hams who were trying to direct traffic, and was wondering if some kind of patch or vest could be used to make us look official. Colin said he would look into it.
The meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm.
Bob, KE4WII, shared a letter that he had received from a ham whom he had writte to, who he remembered hearing on 10 meters some years ago. The ham wrote Bob saying that he had not been on 10 meters at that time, and that someone was bootlegging his call. The store was actually more interesting that this, but some got lost in the translation!)
David Tanks, AD4TJ
President: Dale Showalter, KD4DAI
Vice-President: Vic Alger, KE4LKQ
Secretary: David Tanks, AD4TJ
Treasurer: Richard Weaver, W4JZC
Board (exp 96): John Nelson, WA4KQX
Board (exp 97): Bill Edmundson, W4IMS
President: Kenny Harris, KE4GKD
Vice-President: Jeff Rinehart, WB4PJW
Secretary: June Waldmuller, KC4PKJ
Treasurer: Christy Osterloh, KC4PKK
It does not necessarily contain all information
which appeared in the paper copy.