Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

Training Nets

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Winter training net’s will commence Sunday evening the 7th of December at 19:30 hours. All members are requested to participate. It is intended to have alternate digital/voice nets, with the first digital net commencing on the 21st of December. The nets will alternate between voice and digital modes on the 7th and 21st of the month, over the winter months.

AREN Net 2nd November

Friday, October 31st, 2008

There will be an 80m AREN net on Sunday the 2nd of November at 19:30 hours, and all AREN members are requested to participate if possible.  The net will be a preparation excercise for the GlobalSET which is scheduled to take place on 8 November.

GlobalSET – November 2008

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Global Simulated Emergency Test – November 2008

Saturday November 8th 2008 04.00 – 08.00 UTC

IARU Region 1 invites the HQ-Stations of all IARU member societies and
stations of Emergency Communications Groups to participate in a Global
Simulated Emergency Test on Saturday November 8th, 2008 04.00 – 08.00
UTC. The operation will take place on and near the emergency
Centre-of-Activity (CoA) frequencies on 80, 40, 20, 17 and 15 metres (+-
QRM ).

The objectives of the test are;

1/ increase the common interest in emergency communications.
2/ test how usable the CoA frequencies are across ITU regions.
3/ create practices for international emergency communication and
4/ practice the relaying of messages using all modes.

Please remember that this is not a contest, it is an emergency
communications exercise !

Following the recommendation of the GAREC conferences, participating
stations are requested to use /D in their callsign (D=distress/disaster)
where permitted by their licensing administration.

Traffic may be passed on voice (SSB), Data or CW modes as detailed below.

Voice mode
Each IARU Region will have a HQ station operating on voice as follows:
Region 1 – TBA
Region 2 – TBA
Region 3 – TBA

HQ stations will be QRV simultaneously on all CoA frequencies
appropriate to their region +- QRM as shown below.

Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
3760 3750 or 3985 3760
7060 7060, 7240 or 7290 7060
14300
18160
21360

Stations intending to participate are requested to send their callsigns
to globalset08@raynet-hf.net before the exercise so that HQ stations can
be aware of the number of stations calling them. A list of participating
stations will also be available at www.raynet-hf.net

To practice relaying messages, each participating station is allowed to
send six (6) messages: three during the first two hours and three more
during the last two hours of the test.

After sending their own messages, participating stations should start to
relay messages of other stations, when a message has been relayed twice
it should then be sent to the HQ station of their own region. It is very
useful if messages ‘jump” between countries and/or Regions.

Participating stations should call ‘CQ GLOBALSET’ giving their callsign
and organisation ( ARES,RAYNET, AREN,NETMAR etc. ).

Each participating station will send up to six messages to their
Regional HQ station as follows;

- Time of sending the message in UTC
- The callsign of the sending station
- Message number – 1,2 or 3 in the first half of the exercise, 4,5 or 6
in the second half.
- Bands available for use – use the meter band designation NOT frequency.
- Number of operators at the station
- Emergency power available – 1=None, 2=Battery, 3=Generator (of any
kind), 4= Battery and Generator.
- Emergency Communications Group or National Society
- As messages are relayed, add via… via… to show the callsigns of
stations which have relayed this message.

A one-character prefix will be used before each part of the message in
order to make it easier to decode

Where:
- M(ike) = Message number
- B(ravo) = Band available
- O(scar) = Operators
- P(apa) = Power available
When a station other than an HQ station receives a message, it should
relay the message towards the destination in whatever way it can.

For example :- a message originated by SU1KM in Egypt for the Region 1
HQ station might be passed initially to a station in Malta on 40m, from
there to a French station on 80m, and finally to the destination HQ
station on 80m.

For example :-

1. ZS6BUU sending message number 1 at 0430UTC, 80,40,20,10m bands
available, 3 operators, no emergency power, member of HAMNET.

“0430 ZS6BUU M1 B80 B40 B20 B10 O03 P1 HAMNET”

2. MM3UJL/P sending message number 4 at 0700UTC, 160,80,40,20,10m bands
available, 2 operators, both battery and generator available, member of
RAYNET

“0700 MM3UJL/P M4 B160 B80 B40 B20 B10 O02 P4 RAYNET”

Regional HQ stations will not sending messages, only receive them. To
avoid QRMing the HQ stations, please move to frequencies near the CoA in
steps of 5KHz for contacts with others.

To create a more realistic situation, please limit your transmitting
power during the exercise to 100 Watts. Special value is given to
stations operating mobile/portable and/or on emergency power.

Data modes

Data stations must send the same format as used for voice messages.
There will not be any HQ stations for data modes, data stations should
use the frequencies defined for their preferred mode in national
bandplans. This makes the use of ‘CQ GLOBALSET’ and registering your
intended participation particularly important.

‘Structured’ modes such as Winlink, ALE, PSKmail should send their
messages directly to globalset-data@raynet-hf.net , other data modes
should attempt to relay the messages through two other stations before
sending them to globalset-data@raynet-hf.net for analysis.

CW Mode

CW is included in this SET to increase the possiblility of stations
making contacts in difficult conditions and should be used when SSB or
data contacts are proving impossible. There will not be any HQ stations
for CW, CW stations should operate near the CoA frequencies when SSB
traffic cannot be heard.

CW stations must send the same format as used for voice messages and not
exceed 15wpm. If necessary CW messages can be relayed through two other
stations before sending them to globalset-cw@raynet-hf.net for analysis.

Conclusion
Please send your logs with comments, pictures and suggestions for future
exercises to; globalset08@raynet-hf.net as soon as possible after the
SET. A brief report of the event is required for the IARU Region 1
conference in Cavtat on 16th November but the full report is hoped to be
available in December 2008.

To be fair to all regions we use three different time slots for the
exercise, the next exercise will be on May 2nd 2009 at 11.00 -15.00 UTC
with the event in November 2009 being at 18.00 – 22.00 UTC.

Thanks for your support of emergency communications.

Greg Mossop, G0DUB
GlobalSET Organiser

AREN in the hills.

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Two AREN members, Conor EI4JN and Tim EI5GPB, provided radio communications for a walk over the Purple and Twomies mountains on Saturday last in the McGillicuddy Reeks. The almost 8 hour walk passed without incident.

AREN Committee Meeting

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

The AREN committee met in Cork on Sunday the 14th of September. Items for discussion included activities since April, new members, the appointment of Assistant Co-ordinators, November SET, winter training nets, information gleaned from the recent SEVESO Seminar and Training Day and planning for next years AREN meeting.

New Handbook published.

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Members should keep an eye on the postbox over the next 2 weeks or so, as the new Handbook should be arriving. If it has not arrived by the end of the month, please contact John, EI7IG.

Sean Kelly Tour

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

On the 24th of August AREN members made good use of the APRS Network, in order to keep track of the position of the end of each group of cyclists participating in the Sean Kelly Tour. Good use was also made of the South East Repeater Network for communicating with officials in what would have been communications blackspots (for the mobile phone networks).

In total there were 8 operators involved,

  • Seamus Ryan, EI8EPB
  • John McCarthy, EI8JA
  • Eamonn Kavanagh, EI3FFB
  • Gareth Wilmot, EI7FZB
  • Francis Lenane, EI5GOB
  • John Ronan, EI7IG
  • Conor O’Neill, EI4JN
  • John Ketch, EI2GN

Many thanks to all that participated and to the repeater keepers for permission to use the repeaters.

AREN support for Circuit Glen of Imaal event

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Irish Amateur Radio experimenters in Dublin and Wicklow provided radio communications for the Circuit of Imaal walk, which took place on the 21st of June.

The walk, organised by An Óige, covered 37 kilometres.

Radio operators were:

Gerry Butler EI0CH (Ballinabarney)
John Hill EI0DK (floating/reserve)
Tom McGrath EI7HT (Donard School)
Joe Ryan EI7GY (Lug)
Kyle O’Connell EI2JO (Table Track)
Philip Pollock EI8JT (Lobawn)

Radio base station made use of Tom McGrath’s personal callsign for the operation.

AREN has been providing safety communications for the Glen of Imaal walk since 1990. AREN has also been providing safety communications for the Lug Walk, held in uneven numbered years, since 1987. Safety communications enhances the overall safety of the Walk by providing the Walk Control Group with information as to the progress of the Walk and the occurrence of any incidents. It does not replace Mountain Rescue Communications in dealing with an incident, although it may supplement them. The initial organisation of the AREN Net was undertaken by John Hill, EI0DK, and more recently by Gerry Butler, EI0CH.

Beginning in Donard village it traversed the main mountaintops around the Glen of Imaal. This year’s walk took place on Saturday the 21st of June, which turned out to be “the longest rainy day of the year”, in the words of one of the walkers.

With an entry of approximately 100 walkers and the worst weather conditions for many years, there were plenty of challenges for the walk organisers and the Radio Experimenters supporting them. With almost zero visibility, many walkers had difficulties with navigation. Amateur Radio communications proved
invaluable in ensuring that a search was launched for a number of missing walkers, and some of the experimenters providing the communications support were also involved in escorting walkers, who had dropped out of the event, safetly back to base.

A special mention must go to John/EI0DK who went, pardon the pun, extra mile for radio operations on the day.

After ascending to his designated operation position he suffered equipment failure due to extreme weather conditions. John hiked back down to the carpark, got his spare radio equipment, extra clothes, and then hiked back up to his station.

This was much appreciated as, without John, that station would have been unmanned.

Well done to those who helped out both in pre-event preparations and on the day.

AREN report of South Tipperary Voluntary Emergency Services Exercise

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Report: South Tipperary Voluntary Emergency Services Exercise
Date: May 10, 09:00 – 17:00
Attendees: Civil Defence, Red Cross, AREN, SEMRA, SARDA, Order of Malta

AREN attendees: John/EI7IG, Richie/EI9HR, Bernard/EI8FDB, Eddie/EI3FFB

South Tipp Voluntary Emergency Services Activity May 2008
South Tipperary Voluntary Emergency Services Exercise
============================================

The morning of May 10th, the South Tipperary Voluntary Emergency Services group held a Emergency Services event in Clogheen, Tipperary.

The main focus of the day was meet other voluntary groups, while learning from and educating other groups about AREN’s capabilities.

The main events were displays and exercises (round-robins) which gave attendees an insight into each groups skills.

Organisations in attendance were:

Civil Defence [1]
Red Cross [2]
AREN – Amateur Radio Emergency Network [3]
SEMRA – South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association, along with SARDA, the Search And Rescue Dog Association. [4] [5]
Order Of Malta [6]

In all, over 40 voluntary members attended.

Registration began at 9:30 in Clogheen. Attendees from each organisation were split-up into groups made up of other organisation members, helping the cross-organisation communications in an informal and relaxed atmosphere.

The morning began with a short 5 minute introduction to each organisation, its beginnings, its members, what their capabilities are, their equipment, and where they are based.

AREN member, Richie Ryan, EI9HR, gave a very interesting introduction to amateur radio and AREN operations.

One member of each group then went to set-up the round-robin display for the days activities. Each round-robin took approximately 30 minutes. The events were held in the near-by Parsons Green campsite. Each round robin was run in parallel to all the others, and each group moved between them.

Civil Defence
=========

The first event was from the Civil Defence members. From the beginning of the Civil Defence in Ireland, radiation monitoring has been the main activity of their “Warden Service”.

The Warden’s role is to take radioactive readings in the event of a radiological incident. Members of the service are trained in many disciplines such as communication procedures and leadership techniques as well as in the reporting of radioactive readings. [6]

The speakers gave a presentation of the main radiation monitoring techniques – a low-level radiation detector which measures down to normal background radiation levels and a second type of instrument would be used to detect and measure the far higher levels of radioactive fallout resulting from nuclear detonations in war.

Red Cross
=======

The next event was from the Red Cross. The Irish Red Cross Society (IRCS) was established by an Act of the Oireachtas on 1 August 1939. The Irish Red Cross is dedicated to the provision of Emergency and Humanitarian Relief both at home and abroad through its network of volunteers both nationally and internationally.

In Ireland, the Red Cross provides both emergency services through its Mountain Rescue Team as well as a variety of broadly-based community services including youthwork and care for the sick and elderly. [7]

The Red Cross members gave a very useful introduction to the operation of, and application of an Advisory External Defibrillator (AED). [8]

An AED is a small, portable piece of equipment that can deliver an electric shock to a victim of cardiac arrest in order to convert the chaotic electrical current of the heart to its normal rhythm.

Every attendee at the day was given the opportunity to practise using an AED and applying CPR.

The instructors stressed the importance of commencing CPR as quickly as possible and the target time for defibrillation is less than 5 minutes.

After the Red Cross display, everyone broke for lunch “al fresco”, out in the sunshine.

AREN
====

After lunch, it was AREN’s turn to show what we can do. [9]

John, EI7IG, had set-up radio comms capabilities for HF, VHF, UHF, and APRS. John gave an introduction to radio technique, pro-words, and basic radio theory. [10]

A lot of attendees had some very useful questions regarding radio operation and “what to do with them”.

John had scheduled (and unscheduled) QSOs with some EI stations, including Jim Claffey EI2DDB in Dublin, and John EI2JA in Waterford, on HF by utilising the NVIS antenna setup, [11] and Robbie, EI2IP, who was mobile near Youghal (through the South East Repeater Network) as he was visible on the Amateur Packet Reporting System (APRS) map visible at the station while a round-robin was taking place.

All-in-all attendees seemed very pleased with AREN’s presentation and made very pleasant comments at the Q&A session at the end.

SEMRA
=====

The final presentation was given by SEMRA. The team was formed in 1977 after an accident occurred in the mountains and a need for such a service was identified. Currently, SEMRA has about 40 members.

The team operate, as their name describes, on the mountains of the South East of Ireland, the Blackstairs, Comeragh, Knockmeasdown and Galtee mountain ranges and all areas in between.

Occasionally they assist other Mountain Rescue teams, such as Dublin/ Wicklow, Glen of Imaal and Kerry MRT’s, An Gardaí, Search & Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA), and The Irish Coastguard. [12]

The SEMRA presenters organised a search skills exercise for attendees which focused on “common sense skills”.

The exercise entailed searching for objects of various sizes, from a piece of tubing to a pair of glasses, to a child’s toy, all using techniques such as “purposeful wandering”, and “hasty searches”. [13] [14]

While they maybe common sense skills, we all agreed that carrying out a search, possibly for an object as small as a set of keys on the side of a hill, is something that needs alot of skill, practice and training.

After all groups had attended each round-robin exercise everyone was treated to a demonstration by SARDA, Search And Rescue Dogs Association.

SARDA
=====

SARDA is a voluntary 999 / 112 emergency search and rescue organisation concerned with the training, assessment and deployment of Air Scenting Search and Rescue Dogs, to search for missing persons in the mountains, woodlands rural and urban areas including rivers, lakes and seashores, as well as avalanches and demolished buildings.

SEMRA setup a search exercise in a very large field, with different terrain. All attendees were asked to line-up, at the bottom of the field, to try and find the “missing object”. [15]

After 15 minutes and a number of embarrasing “false positives”, Mick Grant and his search dog, Bono, arrived to the “search area”.

All humans constantly emit microscopic particles bearing human scent. Millions of these particles are airborne and are carried by the wind for considerable distances. The air scenting SAR dog is trained to locate the scent of any human in a specific search area. The dog is not restricted to the missing person’s track and can search long after the track is obliterated. [16]

Within, 3-4 minutes Bono and Mick had found the missing object, a member of SEMRA (wearing camouflage) laying in long grass. They certainly put the rest of us to shame!

After the SARDA demonstration, to close the day we had the final “team-building” event – penalty shoot-out.

After a very tense, nerve-racking shoot-out, as always, the best team won – AREN 3, SEMRA 2, Civil Defence 1.

After the photos were taken, there was a final Q&A session where each attendee gave feedback regarding the day. The general consensus: more events like this, more situation exercises, more time spent at each session.

Back in Clogheen Civil Defence treated us to a very tasty buffet which gave everyone an opportunity to chat about the days happenings.

References:

[1]: http://www.civildefence.ie/
[2]: http://www.redcross.ie/
[3]: http://www.aren.ie/
[4]: http://www.semra.ie/
[5]: http://sardaireland.com/
[6]: http://www.orderofmalta.ie/
[7]: http://www.redcross.ie/about_us__1
[8]: http://www.redcross.ie/how_to_help/campaigns/what_is_a_defibrillator
[9]: http://www.aren.ie/faq.html
[10]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Position_Reporting_System
[11]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_Vertical_Incidence_Skywave
[12]: http://www.semra.ie/facts.shtml
[13]: http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/heywood/geog344/SAR/SARtypes.htm
[14]: http://www.pcesar.org/searchtech.htm
[15]: http://sardaireland.com/viewpage.php?memid=3

Ham Radio Operators Called to Action in Aftermath of China Quake

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

[UPDATE]:

To assist Michael BD5RV/4 and the other amateur radio operators, the Chinese Radio Sports Association have requested the following frequencies be kept clear for emergency communications:

7050kHz
7060kHz
14270kHz

A team of amateurs is said to be operating from the epicentre of the earthquake, Wenchuan, using 40m, with nearby the Chengdu UHF repeater being used to direct ambulances.

An article from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) today details the harsh circumstance the earthquake survivors in the Wenchuan Area of China’s Sichuan province are having to live with. Chinese amateur radio operators are operating from the earthquake zone passing messages, directing emergency support amongst other essential jobs.

The Chinese amateur radio organisation, the Chinese Radio Sports Association, has called on members “to take actions to ensure their amateur radio stations to operate properly, and to the extent possible stand by on often used short-wave frequencies”.

At 1757 UTC on Monday, May 12 an on the ground report from Liu Hu, BG8AAS, of Chengdu a town in the province of Sichuan, reported that a local UHF repeater survived the disaster.

“It keeps functioning from the first minute and more than 200 local radio hams are now on that repeater.
A group of hams from Chengdu has headed for Wenchuan, the center of the quake, trying to set up emergency communication services there,” he said.

Michael Chen, BD5RV/4, said that Yue Shu, BA8AB, also from Chengdu, Sichuan, was reported to be active on the 40 meter emergency frequency on Monday.

“Up to now, there has been no further information available from the center zone of the quake. There are a few radio amateurs there, but all of the communications have been cut out, including Amateur Radio,” Chen said.

At 1858 UTC, Liu reported that the local UHF repeater in Chengdu

“keeps busy running after the quake. It helps to direct social vehicles to transport the wounded from Dujiangyan, Beichuan and other regions. Another UHF repeater also started working in Mianyan, supported by generators, but they are going to face a shortage of gas.”

Chen said that damage in Chengdu remains in the lowest level, but the situation is

“very very bad in the counties around. A few towns are said to be destroyed completely. More than 7000 died in the town of Beichuan. Casualties in several other towns are still unknown and not counted in the published numbers. It is a long and sad day.”

At 0831 UTC on Tuesday, May 13, Chen said that a group of radio amateurs is now transmitting from Wenchuan, the center of quake:

“Its signal is reported to be very weak. They tried to keep communication with BY8AA, the Sichuan Radio Orienteering Association in Chengdu, seeking for all resources needed. During a contact finished a few minutes ago, they were asking for raincoats, water, tents and outdoor living facilities.”

Lets hope the survivors receive the help they need and they are able to rebuild their lives.