Archive for the ‘2006’ Category

AREN represented at GAREC 2006

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

2006 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference.

AREN was represented at the recent GAREC conference held in Tampere Finland by Munster Co-ordinator Conor O Neill. The conference brings together representatives from Amateur Radio Voluntary Emergency communications groups from around the word. GAREC is a great opportunity for national organisations to learn from each others experiences and leverage opportunities for improvement. A report of GAREC 2006 is available here. (NB: pdf document)

Merry Christmas to all

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

The National Co-ordinator and assistants would like to wish all members a Merry Christmas and good health in the New Year.

AREN training & EmCom Party On The Air – October 2006

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Three AREN delegates EI7IG, EI4JN and EI2JB recently attended a course on Field Search Skills hosted by the South East Mountain Rescue Association. The 2 days of instruction included both classroom tuition and practical exercises held in the Comeragh mountains. This included a night exercise on the Saturday night. Other professional and volunteer organisations represented included the Garda Siochana, the Coastguard, the Civil Defence and SEMRA.

While AREN‘s involvement in missing person search operations will principally be of a communications nature, it is important for members to be cognisant of the methods used and the challenges faced by the search teams. For this purpose, a training module AREN and SAR will be delivered to members in the near future.

EmCom PartyThe IARU Region One, First EmCom party on the Air will be held this coming Saturday the 18th of November. The operation will happen on the IARU emergency centre-of-activity frequencies on 40, 20 and 15 meters only (+/-QRM).

The objective of the party is to;

1) increase the common interest among member societies in emergency communication,

2) test how usable these frequencies are cross the Region 1 and

3) create practices for international emergency communication between Region 1 member societies and special emergency communication groups.

Only Headquarter stations of each countries Emergency Communications Organisations are invited to take part. Dave EI4BZ will operate the IRTS AREN station.

Mountain RescueOn the same weekend, 3 more AREN members will be joining The South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association on a training weekend. There will be plenty of APRS activity in the Galtee Mountains. Some activity on the 40m and 80m AREN frequencies is also to be expected.

Training ProgrammeARENs Winter on-air training Nets will resume on Wednesday the 15th of November at 9:30pm local. This session will be devoted to APRS. The primary Frequency will be 3.690 MHz with a secondary frequency of 7.099 Mhz +/- QRM. This is a member’s only net. Reports from non-members will be taken after the Net closes.

Training Nets & EmCom Party On The Air – October 2006

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

National Training Nets. The first National training net of the winter season was held on Wednesday night last the 18th of October. Conditions on the 80m band were good and communication was established successfully between all stations. Thanks to those who participated. Details of the next Net on the 15th November will be published in due course.

First EmCom party on the Air. IARU Region 1 has invited HQ-stations of its member societies and stations of special emergency communication groups including AREN to participate in the First EmCom party on the Air. This will be held on the 18th of November. The operation will happen on the IARU emergency centre-of-activity frequencies on 40, 20 and 15 meters (+/-QRM). During the first party the centre frequencies on 80 and 17 meters will not be used.

The objective of the party is to
1) increase the common interest among member societies in emergency communication,
2) test how usable these frequencies are cross the Region 1 and
3) create practices for international emergency communication between Region 1 member societies and special emergency communication groups.

There are also some special stations invited to participate like 4U1ITU, TP2CE and ITU conference station from Turkey.

This is not a contest but an emergency communication exercise! AREN will be participating. Again more details will be published soon.

September / October news 2006

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Updating of membership data base. Over the coming week, all AREN members Nationwide will be contacted by phone in order to ensure that their contact details on the database are up to date.

In addition newly signed up members will be contacted to update the database regarding their equipment capabilities.

Training.The on-air member training will commence later this month with full details announced in next week?s radio news and on the AREN website.

Cork Rally. The AREN stand at the recent Cork Rally was well received with plenty of interest in the technical and operational aspects of the Service. Five new members were welcomed on board.

This is a good time of the year for any interested experimenters to join AREN. Contact details are on the website www.aren.ie or alternatively send an email to ei4jn AT eircom.net

AREN winter training – August 2006

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Material is currently being prepared for the next phase of member training. Topics will include the use of Digital Modes such as Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) and PSK 31 for emergency communications. Also covered will be Search techniques and Antennas for Emergency communications.

The material will be prepared assuming little or no prior knowledge of the topics by the participants and be available for download from the AREN website. On air sessions reviewing the material will be conducted on the 40 or 80 meter bands as conditions permit on one or two evenings per month.

The accumulated knowledge will be put into practice during a field exercise in cooperation with one of the emergency services.

All EI licensed experimenters are eligible to become members of the Amateur Radio Emergency network.

July 2006 – Emergency Centre of Activity Frequencies

Monday, July 31st, 2006

The National Co-ordinator would like to remind EI amateurs of the Emergency Centre of Activity Frequencies adopted by the IARU Region 1 General Conference 2005. (NB: pdf document)

These are not channels for exclusive Emergency only use, but are preferred, centre frequencies, for such activities.

The centre frequencies are as follows…..

Global 1 Centre of Activity per band:
15m 21,360 kHz
17m 18,160 kHz
20m 14,300 kHz
Region 1 Centre of Activity per band:
40m 7,060 kHz
80m 3,760 kHz

Should you hear emergency traffic in or around these frequencies, you are advised not to transmit unless taking active part in the Emergency traffic net.

AREN based project funding success – July 2006

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

John Ronan (EI7IG) and Dr. Sven van der Meer of the Irish National IPv6 Centre, Waterford Institute of Technology, have successfully applied for funding to investigate if Position Reporting Systems, Map Display/Overlay systems coupled with mathematical methods can be used to reduce the workload and/or help in the decision making process of a Search and Rescue Scene Commander. The project will run for a duration of 12 months, and is due to start later this year.

The proposal is based on the work and experience gained by Tipperary Amateur Radio Group and AREN with positioning technology (APRS) over the last few years and the relationships built up with the Glen of Aherlow Failte Society and the South East Mountain Rescue Association.

Garec 2006 AREN delegates report

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

Disasters kill one million people each decade and leave millions homeless worldwide. GAREC 2006 Convention
In all, the United Nations reported 360 Natural disasters in 2005, with a death toll of 91,900 in addition to the tsunami that claimed some 250,000 lives. Tens of millions were left destitute and in need of aid. When relief workers arrive on the scene, they often find a complete or partial breakdown in telecommunications – telecommunications that are essential for finding out where the survivors are, how many people are injured or are dead, and how many need medical help or transportation to medical facilities.
Aid workers rely heavily on telecommunications to coordinate complicated logistics and ensure the effective delivery of rescue and relief operations.

The use of telecommunications resources by humanitarian organisations is often slowed or prevented by regulatory barriers that make it extremely difficult to import and rapidly deploy telecommunications resources for emergencies. Similar barriers impede the establishment of disaster preparedness and prevention measures. The Tampere Convention offers an immediate solution by providing ‘measures designed to prevent, predict and prepare for, respond to, monitor and/or mitigate the impact of disasters’. From Jan Egeland UN Emergency Relief Co-ordinator and operational controller of the Tampere convention.

This second GAREC Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conference was held in conjunction with the ICEC (International conference for Emergency communications) over June 19 and 20th. Delegates represented Government organisations, Voluntary organisations and Private industry.

Speakers at the introductory session attended by both ICEC and GAREC delegates included:
Former Secretary General of the ITU Dr Pekka Tarjanne.
Finland Minister of Foreign Trade and development, Ms Paula Lehtomaki.
United Nations Under secretary-General for humanitarian affairs, Mr Jan Egland.
The representative for the International Federation of the red cross and Red cresent societies, Mr Johan Schaar Vice president if the IARU Mr Tim Ellam.

So far 35 countries have ratified the Tampere Convention. Getting more countries to ratify and applying the convention was the primary consideration for this years ICEC conference.

In the combined GAREC ICEC session, lesson learned from disasters which occurred in the past 2 years were shared. The importance of permanent availability of a percentage of commercial satellite communications bandwidth for disaster communications was expressed. The willingness of the private sector to provide same was welcomed.
Unfortunately, some countries apply big fees by way of import taxes or annual licence fees which effectively prohibit aid organisations receiving such equipment on cost grounds despite it in many cases being given free in the first place.

The value of the Amateur radio community was recognised. Tim Ellam of the IARU emphasised the professionalism of the Amateur Radio community around the world providing trained operators, technicians, and engineers for disaster relief communications. He further explained that the word Amateur had little relevance here other than to recognise the fact that these individuals offer their services for no financial reward.

The GAREC sessions were attended predominately by the representatives for the National Amateur radio Emergency groups from around the world. Kay Craigie of the ARRL chaired the meeting.

The new IARU emergency communications manual was discussed. Much of the content will reflect that in the ARRL Emergency Communications Handbook though of course with an international emphasis. Delegates suggested that this be small and hand transportable for ease of use in the field. Another idea discussed was to provide a laminated A5 card containing the IARU region 1 GAREC centre of activity frequencies and the AREN, RAYNET, RACES and other counterpart organisations frequencies.

Numerous presentations were delivered by country representatives. Paul Gaskell of Raynet shared knowledge of in-tunnel radio communications experiments conducted in the past year with the railway authority. They found the best frequencies to use in what is a very specific application. Mention was given to activations in the past year including the London Bombings, Oil depot fire and a Bomb scare evacuation from a residential area.

VU2UMI of NIAR India shared the difficulties they have in recruiting enough amateurs as the amateurs just aren’t there in sufficient numbers. The NIAR put a lot of effort into demonstrations of Amateur radio and running courses often in remote villages. They also demonstrate capabilities inc. SSTV, RTTY etc to the Government agencies. VU2RCR reiterated the need for more active amateurs in his region and not so much a need for additional equipment.

These are just a few of the many excellent presentations that were delivered.

The ITU are very active in the area of emergency communications. Among other projects they are working to get training going in poor countries to train hams and get more licences out there.

Equipment on display at the conference included backpack satellite communication systems from two companies, an E-Net Emergency GSM Network and a HF amateur radio station. The Emergency GSM Network, about the size of a VCR with a small antenna on top can be set up where no existing network exists or the existing network has failed or become overloaded.

The conference provided a great opportunity to build relations with our counterparts in other countries. While in Ireland we are lucky not to be afflicted with earthquakes, hurricanes and so on it was of benefit to listen and talk to others who have first hand experience of real disaster situations.

For more information on Amateur Radio Emergency Communications visit www.aren.ie

May 2006 news

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

The AREN Spring training program concluded with a field exercise on the evening of the 4th of May. The exercise was based on a Major emergency plan activation on the Cork-Waterford border near the town of Youghal.

Nine AREN members from counties Cork, Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick took an active part in the exercise with a number of others remaining on standby.

Messages were passed for third parties to destinations as far west as Cork city and as far east as Waterford. This was achieved through simplex relays as repeaters and phones were assumed to be inoperable for the exercise. The event was a great opportunity for members to put the training material into practice and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The Munster AREN coordinator Conor O’Neill would like to thank all those who took part in the spring training and remind members to keep their kit in a state of readiness as we face into the Summer.