Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

Dunmore East Exercise

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

On the evening of December 9th last, AREN members participated in an exercise with Dunmore East Coast Guard. AREN was able to provide communications into what was otherwise a communications black-spot and had members available for logistical support throughout the county, region and country.  10 Members participated in the exercise and all members enjoyed it and learned something.

Many thanks to those who participated, have a good Christmas, and we look forward to meeting everyone early in 2010.

Coast Guard Exercise

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Dunmore East Coast Guard have indicated that they could be having a night exercise at some stage in the next few weeks. The location is in an area where they traditionally experience difficult communications.  Hopefully we will be able to assist.

GlobalSet – report

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Conditions on the day on HF were very difficult and very challenging for all participants.   Little or no stations were worked on CW or Digital modes, with all the traffic being handled on SSB.  Thanks to all that participated.

Global Simulated Emergency Test, 14th November 2009

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

The next Global Simulated Emergency Test ( GlobalSET ) is scheduled for the 14th of November between 1800 and 2200 hours UTC. The time of each exercise changes to allow more stations to participate from around the world as well as recognising that emergencies can happen at any time.

This is an exercise between stations interested in emergency communications and is not a contest. Activity will be concentrated around the IARU Emergency Centre of Activity frequencies which are now incorporated in bandplans around the world.

The details of the exercise will be published on the IARU Region 1 website (www.iaru-r1.org) under the Emergency Communications Working Group section of the site.

For more information on GlobalSET, look here.

Sean Kelly Tour

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

The Sean Kelly Tour took place last Sunday August 30th, and from all unofficial accounts it was quite successful with roughly 2700 hardy cyclists taking to the roads.

Saturday evening, AREN was requested to assist Waterford County Civil Defence in maintaining an accurate location of as many of the three different sub-events (50k, 100k and 160k) as possible. The intention was to allow Civil Defence them to more efficiently deploy their own medical resources around the course and to keep the event organisers more informed. Extensive use was made of the APRS protocol and of the South Eastern Amateur Radio Group’s APRS digital repeater network. It definitely proved it’s usefulness on the day as it allowed AREN members in Net Control to keep both the the Civil Defence and event organisers updated as to the locations of various vehicles almost in real-time through out the day

Many thanks to EI2KA, EI8FDB, EI5GOB, EI2GN, EI3IQ, EI2JP, EI7IG, EI8EPB and EI8JA for their assistance on the day.

Bernard, EI8FDB diligently logging at Net Control:
P1030384

New York City ARECS

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

On a recent trip to New York, John, EI7IG, met with Charles J. Hargrove, N2NOV. New York City ARECS/RACES Citywide Radio Officer/Skywarn Co-ordinator, and his wife Karen, N2ZYF, to discuss various aspects of Emergency Communications.

Charles was involved in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 where the Office of Emergency Management requested that their organisation provided communications for the Red Cross. The wide ranging discussion covered all aspects of emergency communications. Charles, gave great insight into how their Emcomm Group operates from an organisational, training and operational perspective. John, EI7IG related how AREN as developed over recent years, and has engaged in demonstrations, exercises, and indeed some joint events with other organisations.

Discussions included the APRS and voice repeater networks, their use in AREN events, the recent donation of the trailer and the ongoing work to convert it for use as a Mobile Command Post. It is planned to keep the communications links open for further exchange of information in relation to Emergency Communications.

Interestingly Charles and his partner have roots in the Waterford and New Ross area and were in Ireland earlier this year.

Glen of Aherlow Walking Festival

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

The Glen of Aherlow Walking Festival ’09 took place in Tipperary’s Galtee Mountains on the weekend of 29 May to 1 June 2009. AREN was again asked to provide communications on the Saturday and Sunday, with an ‘A’ walk for very experienced walkers, a ‘B’ walk for the experienced and two ‘C’ walks for regular walkers on both days. Monday’s walks were low level walks which didn’t require AREN’s services.

The weather over the weekend was almost perfect—cool in the morning rising to about 25°C in the early afternoon with mostly cloudless skies. This no doubt contributed to the large turnout of walkers—281 on Saturday and 210 on Sunday. AREN’s Mobile Command Post trailer arrived with John EI7IG Saturday morning about 8.30am at the Festival’s base at Moroney’s Pub in Lisvernane. In short order, John EI2JB, John EI2GN, Eddie EI3FBB and Tim EI5GPB met at the MCP to get it ready for operation. After getting the trailer level (not so easy given the 15% grade of Lisvernane’s main street), the team set about to get two antennas erected for 2m (144.525MHz) and the PMR frequency in use by the walk leaders. This was accomplished using two drive-on antenna bases and telescoping poles. Mains power was supplied by Moroney’s Pub to the MCP’s new 12V power distribution panel which can also use battery and/or solar panel to power permanently-mounted rigs.

P1020839

By 9am, 65 ‘A’ walkers began to arrive for registration, and an hour later another 132 arrived for the ‘B’ walk. John EI7IG gave PMR radios to walk leaders and sweepers as they arrived, instructed them on their use and did radio checks. Around 9.30am, John, EI2GN left for position at Curraghturk peak near Ballylanders, 10km southwest of the MCP. Shortly thereafter, John, EI2JB left for position at Christ the King on the ridge just north of Newtown, 5km ENE of the MCP. To cover the portion of the ‘B’ walk to the south of the Galtees, Paul EI3ENB was in position at the Vee, 30km southeast of the MCP at a high point near Clogheen. With the MCP located north of the Galtees, John EI2GN located to the west, John EI2JB to the northeast and Paul EI3ENB to the southeast, at least one station would be able to work any PMR radio from each of the walks and relay messages as needed to the MCP for further communication to festival base. Eddie EI3FBB served as shadow to festival leader Helen Morrissey, and Tim EI5GPB served as net control backed by John EI7IG.

Aside from clearing up the inevitable mismatch of registered numbers communicated from festival base with the numbers actually counted upon arrival at the start point, there was little activity at the start of both days. Radio checks were made among AREN members and with the walk leaders before the walks started. Walk leaders were contacted at least every hour to get a position update and these were plotted roughly on charts in the MCP. As the walks neared their destinations and in some cases with walkers spread out for a considerable distance, radio contact enabled scheduling buses to collect them with minimal delay. Remote stations were stood down as walks were completed and net control at the MCP shut down at 5.35pm.

Glen Aherlow Map 30May09

On Sunday, the same routine of re-erecting antennas, etc in the morning went more quickly. The ‘A’ walk was starting from well to the east side of the Galtees, so cover to the south was needed. Tommy EI2IT was unable to man the Vee due to a family illness, so John EI2JB took up position there and Tommy 2IT relayed messages from his home QTH when required. John EI2GN was in position at Christ the King, and Eddie 3FBB, Tim 5GPB and John EI7IG were at base. At one point in the early afternoon, an asthma sufferer on ‘B’ walk was unable to locate medication, but a suitable replacement was quickly located. Also that afternoon, both ‘A’ walk and ‘B’ walk (in two very different locations) split into two groups with fast walkers in each group going ahead of the others. This made for some initial confusion as to the numbers in each group, and of course there was no longer the usual leader at the front and sweeper at the end as each walk had only two radios. However, all were accounted for in the end. Remote stations were stood down in order and, with all walkers accounted for, net control closed at 5.21pm.

Glen Aherlow Map 31May09

It was a good event, and the festival organisers were (we think) very appreciative of AREN’s contribution. We were able to test the MCP for only the second time and found the 12V power panel a great improvement from before. Despite the fact that we’ve done this even a number of times before, it was and will continue to be a learning process and a great event for training new operators.

Honduras Emergency Traffic

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

On Thursday 28th May, Honduras had a 7.1 magnitude earthquake.
Initial reports from Dr. Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, IARU Region 2
Emergency Coordinator, report no major damage.  Latest reports
are that no further emergency usage of 7.090MHz is envisaged.

Honduras Earthquake

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

This morning Honduras had a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Initial reports from
Dr. Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, IARU Region 2 Emergency Coordinator report no
mayor damages however we kindly ask to give preference to emergency traffic

if you find it on our bands, specially around 7,090 MHz.

More information on the earthquake here.

Maam Turk Walk

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The Maam Turk walk is an annual walk across a mountain ridge in Connemara run by the NUI Galway Mountaineering Club for the past 34 years. For the past 17 years members of the Galway Radio Experimenters Club have provided a communication service through out the 25km walk at 12 locations. A control station, 3 finish points and 8 mountain top locations keep a constant tally on all the walkers times and last locations. This year was off to a busy start, the walk started at 5am on April 11th and by 5:45 we had our first call. A lady had an accident 1.5km into the first stage and was unable to walk, one of her colleagues managed, with poor coverage, to contact the control station and we proceeded to alert mountain rescue.

Through the use of radio, an advanced rescue crew were given the location and were quickly on the scene to administer first aid. It was now 7am and the main mountain rescue crew were beginning their climb, the decision to call in an air rescue was also made but it would be four hours later before this was possible due to the low cloud on the mountain. In the mean time Galway Mountain Rescue stretchered the lady down almost 400m to a plateau to facilitate the air lift. Thankfully this was the last time Mountain Rescue had to be called upon that day as all 203 walkers were accounted for.

Fast, reliable communications are vital in aiding the tracking of walkers, and in ensuring the safety of the checkpoint crews. As some of you well know, this being the 10th anniversary of the death of Mike Crosby EI3GP who lost his life on the event.

How it works.
Each walker is issued a numbered card on registration; this card is punched and recorded at each of the checkpoints, and one of the three official finish points. The details are radioed to the control station throughout the day where a master sheet is compiled. As the day progresses checkpoints can be closed as walkers are accounted for and this allows crews to return to ground in daylight, as darkness falls, this becomes critical as the last mountain has a long and dangerous descent.

The detailed information gathered has helped in the past to quickly eliminate people from a search list, and has often helped trace walkers who hadn’t checked in with one of the finish points before going home. Analysing peoples times can often show the ones that get lost in the thick cloud or may have lost their way.

Report by Enda Broderick, EI2II

Route details of the walk are available here and here, with pictures here and here.