Posts Tagged ‘meeting’

AREN Meeting.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

All AREN members are requested to attend the meeting in the Clonmel Park Hotel, poppyfield retail park, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The meeting will be commencing at 10am Saturday the 6th of February, and is scheduled to finish at 5pm.

Any non members are welcome to attend, though please contact John, EI7IG (contact details) beforehand to let us know, as we have to indicate numbers to the hotel in advance.

AREN Committee Meeting

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

EI2GN, EI5GPB and EI7IG in Cork last weekend. The meeting took approximately 5 hours with a full agenda. Out of that we now have a new Information and Communications Officer, Laurent, EI9JV, along with a host of action items for the committee to work through in order to further the goals of the group through 2009.

EmCom Party On The Air, Training & AREN presentations

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

On Sunday 11 November, four AREN stations participated in the IARU Region 1 Emcomm Party on the air. This was the third simulated emergency test of its kind.

Operators were, Conor EI4JN, Tim EI5GPB, John EI7IG and, Declan Ei9FVB, using call-signs EI0RENE, EI1RENE, EI2RENE and EI3RENE respectively.
Conor operated from a hilltop site at coast location in South West Kerry, Tim from his home station in Baltimore, John from his home in Tramore and Declan from his home in Cork.

Messages we relayed throughout the Region and beyond using all the Centre of activity frequencies, except for 15 metres, which was not open on the day.
A more detailed report will be published in Echo Ireland and on the AREN website.

The AREN Winter NETS will reconvene on the first and third Wednesday of each month for training purposes on 3.690Khz, with an alternative frequency of 7.099kHz at 2130Hrs local beginning 21st November. This is a members only net. Non members may call in with reports at the end of the net when invited to do so by the Net Control Station. Full details will be circulated to members in due course.

The AREN stand at the recent Waterford rally was well received. The Demonstration included APRS and Pactor 3. One of the stations set up for the day was used to call into the IRTS 80m news.
AREN will also be represented at the upcoming Mayo Rally.

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.


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.


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 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.



AREN April Meeting 2008 Report

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

AREN April Meeting

Last Saturday the 12th of April, commencing at 10AM, AREN held a meeting in the Clonmel Park Hotel, on the outskirts of Clonmel, South Tipperary.

There was a very satisfactory turnout, with members attending from Dublin, Waterford, Tipperary and as far away as Donegal, and West Cork.

The guest speaker was Mr. Paul Gaskell, G4MWO, of RAYNET UK.

The photograph above was taken as the meeting was ending. It shows:
Back L-R:

Paul Sinclair EI5GTB
John McCarthy EI8JA
Fergus Millar EI6IB
Paul Gaskell G4MWO
John Burke EI2JB.

Sitting L-R:
Bernard Tyers EI8FDB
Tim McKnight EI5GPB
John Ronan EI7IG
Conor O Neill EI4JN.
Not shown: Eamon (Eddie) Kavanagh EI3FFB, Paul Norris EI3ENB, John Ketch EI2GN)

The meeting began with an overview of what AREN actually is, and what it’s role within Amateur Radio is. This was very useful to give members a clear understanding of what is required of an AREN member.

A run-through of the organisation internal structure was given and also the new committee was introduced to members, as well as new members introducing themselves to everyone.

The committee changes that took place were:

* Outgoing Finance officer Dave Moore is succeeded by Tim McNight
* Conor O’Neill continues in Operations
* John Ketch stands down as National Co-Ordinator, but remains on the
committee in a new role as Secretary
* Mark Wall stands down as PRO leaving the position open
* John Ronan takes over as our new National Coordinator, again leaving the
Technical Co-Ordinator open

(Expressions of interest are welcomed – please contact us if interested).

A lively discussion around AREN fundamentals, member competencies, technical, operational, and teamwork then took place. These were all important to build a sense of a common team goal, and technical expertise within the AREN organisation.

An introduction to the concept of Net Control was also given. Net Control is responsible and manages such functions as activating and assigning Net resources, assigns tactical calls, keeping a good log, assures that traffic messages are moved quickly and efficiently.

A discussion on the possible usage of the 5MHz radio spectrum also took place. This spectrum would be very beneficial in conditions when other radio spectrum was unusable.

AREN‘s role in national emergencies was then discussed. It is hoped that AREN will be able to assist national voluntary and primary response agencies in an official capacity as part of a National Emergency Plan.

After lunch John, EI7IG and Conor, EI4JN, organised a table-top exercise. This was to put the attendees in the Emergency Communications mind-set, and thinking about some of the problems that could potentially occur.

After the exercise, a review of 2007 exercises, operational details and a financial report was discussed.

John and Conor presented different go-kit set-ups. Essentially a radio go-kit is a small, portable, bag with all the necessary equipment to set-up an emergency radio communications station.

A good rule-of-thumb with making a go-kit is:

“It is better to have the bare essentials always handy than to leave a bulky pack someplace where you can’t get to it”.

Emcomm Radio go-kits

Paul, G4MWO, of RAYNET, gave an interesting and useful talk about RAYNET operations in England, technical discussions RAYNET are involved with, and issues RAYNET have had to overcome when dealing with other voluntary, and non-voluntary response organisations in the UK.

John, EI7IG then gave a technical report of the GAISS project, which was a collaboration between AREN, the TSSG research group in Waterford IT, and the South East Mountain Rescue Association.

The meeting ended with an open discussion on various topics.

AREN national meeting for April & GAREC’08 Info

Friday, February 15th, 2008

A meeting for all AREN members Nationwide, will take place on Saturday the 12th of April in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. All members are requested to attend.
A copy of the Agenda and details of the venue has been circulated to all members.There have been some changes at the Committee level.

Outgoing Finance officer Dave Moore is succeeded by Tim McNight.

John Ronan takes over as acting Co-ordinator (pending the appointment of a new National Co-ordinator)

John Ketch will remain on the committee in a new role as Secretary while Conor O Neill continues in Operations.

Mark Wall stands down as PRO leaving the position open.

Declan Horan stands down as Training and recruitment officer. Expressions of interest for these posts are welcomed.

We would like to thank Dave Mark and Declan for their support overthe past few years.

The venue of the fourth Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC-2008) is Friedrichshafen, Germany.
The two day conference will start on Thursday June 26th – a day before the opening of the Ham Radio 2008.

The program will be published in April and the registration will start same

Conor Ei4JN has acquired two roll-up 2m/70cms antennas for use with HTs. These super compact items are made from co-axial cable, and should offer useful gain over the standard ducky or whip. Comparative tests will be carried out in the near future.

You’ll have noticed that the website hasn’t been updated for a while. That’s all changed now as we welcome Bernard Tyers EI8FDB on board as Website mechanic. Bernard joined AREN earlier this year.

Again we would like to welcome on board experimenters who have joined AREN in the last few months.

AREN presents at GAREC 2007

Friday, August 31st, 2007

John EI7IG attended (and presented at – NB Powerpoint document) the 2007 Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC’07), in Huntsville, Alabama on behalf of the IRTS and AREN and produced a report on the proceedings for the IRTS, which is available.

A list of the presentations and copies are available here for download.


Thursday, February 15th, 2007

On the 20th of January, National Co-ordinator John Ketch (EI2GN), accompanied by Assistant co-ordinator John Ronan (EI7IG) attended the Irish Mountain Rescue Conference. Core to the presentation by the Lakeland Mountain Rescue team, was a discussion on “GPS real-time mapping of search parties”.

The presentation by Dave Binks highlighted their initial experiments with APRS, and then, due to restrictions of their licensing conditions, how they developed, with the support of Team Simoco, a GPS mapping solution targeted towards Mountain Rescue. It was a very informative presentation as was the subsequent chat. Many thanks to SEMRA for extending the invitation for AREN delegates to attend.

AREN Support of the West Cork Rally
On Wednesday the 21st, AREN officers EI7IG, EI2GN, EI9FVB and EI4JN, with assistance from: SWL, James McCarthy, Kristian Wash of WIT and John Harrington of Cork Motor Club, tested a proposed new repeater site for the upcoming rally.

Declan operated the base station on the hill and the others teamed up to travel the stages, shared driving, navigating and radio operating duties.

Weather conditions were less than ideal with strong winds experienced at the summit and dense fog covering the route below. Signal reports were exchanged at pre-described locations along the entire route of the rally. The resulting logs will be studied over the coming week and the Radio Communications Plan submitted to the Clerk of the Course. This year John EI7IG will assist Conor EI4JN in managing the communications equipment for the club on the event which takes place over St Patrick’s weekend.

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