Posts Tagged ‘training’

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.

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.



EmCom Party On The Air – January news

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Aren Winter nets on 40 and 80 meters proved difficult due to band conditions.
A number of members have set themselves up for operating Datamodes over the Winter primarily using BPSK 31. The Tigertronics Signalink USB unit has proven the most popular choice of interface. The Members Email reflector has been used to good effect for Q and A on the topic.

The next IARU EmComm Party on the Air is scheduled for the 3rd of May between 1800 and 2200 hours UTC, this. A combination of voice and data-modes are planned. A Globalset email reflector has been setup to keep all interested parties incommunicado in the lead up to the event.

The text of the initial announcement has been translated into multiple languages. The details of the exercise (to be called a Simulated Emergency Test or SET) are being finalised.

AREN selected the Radio repeater site and carried out testing for the 2006 and 2007 West Cork Rallies. Operations Coordinator Conor, EI4JN has recently received maps of the 2008 stages from the COC. As most of the stages are similar to what we have tested, the repeater site has been selected (based on AREN’s test data) and only about 4 miles of route needs to be checked.

This year the club are hiring the radios from a different source. As part of the hire service, unlike the previous supplier, this supplier does the pre-event testing. So ARENs testing services are not required this year. Conor remains on as Assistant Clerk of the Course (Communications) for the event.

New Encomm Information sources – October 2007

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

John EI7IG has set up an E-mail reflector for the Operations team and one for Members. If you are a member and not receiving emails you can contact John.

A number of members have signed to receive the monthly free newsletter from It is the official Journal from the World Radio League.

There are usually items of interest in there to keep the Emergency Communicator thinking. It is open to all Emergency communicators worldwide irrespective of any affiliation to national Emcomm organisations.

Report on second EmCom Party On The Air

Friday, June 15th, 2007

The second IARU Region One Emcomm Party On The Air for 2007 took place on 5th May last. The AREN HQ station was operated by Conor EI4JN using the call-sign EI1RENE.

Dipoles were used for each band and operating power was limited to 100 Watts as recommended. 14 other Emcomm stations were contacted, 8 on 20m and 6 on 40m.

Logs from all participating stations are currently being collected by Greg Mossop (RAYNET) who will compile the official report for the IARU.

The next party is scheduled for 17 November when new rules and procedures will apply.

A report of the events is available here. (NB: pdf document)

Second EmCom Party On The Air

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

IARU Region 1 invites the HQ-stations of its member societies and stations of special emergency communication groups to participate in the “Second EmCom party on the Air” on Saturday, May 5th, 2007 at 11.00 – 15.00 UTC. The operation will take place on and near the emergency Center-of-Activity (CoA) frequencies on 40, 20 and 15 meters (+/-QRM).
The CoA frequencies on 80 and 17 meters will not be used during this event.

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

Please keep in mind: This is not a contest – it is an emergency communications exercise!

The protocol is as follows:
1) All traffic during the party will take place in SSB only.
2) IARU Region 1 HQ station will be OF3F in Finland.
3) It will be QRV simultaneously on the three CoA frequencies: 7060, 14300 and 21360 kHz +/- QRM.

During first three hours each participating station will try to contact OF3F and also as many other national HQ and special group stations as possible. During the last hour, (14.00 – 15.00 UTC) these stations will contact only OF3F for reporting. The report should be sent only once, on the band on which communication with OH3F is best. All traffic in the party will happen on SSB.

Participating stations are calling:
“This is HQ station of (RSGB, REF etc.) calling Region 1 EmCom stations for testing” (Please announce time to time “this is an exercise”).

The messages to be exchanged during the first three hours consist of eight numbers and the abbreviation of the national society/special group – in other words:
real RS report, number of bands simultaneously in use (1, 2 or 3), and number of operators at this station (in 2 digits, i.e. 3 operators is transmitted as “03”), the transmitter power (in 3 digits, i.e. 50 Watt would be 050) and the acronym of the society/group (RSGB, REF…). We will use the word “slash” to separate details in these messages:


4U1ITU could give to OF3F the following information:

RS = 58 (please give accurate reports, not just “59”!).
3 = number of bands simultaneously in use at 4U1ITU.
03 = there are 3 operators at 4U1ITU.
500 = 4U1ITU runs 500 W.
IARC = International Amateur Radio Club of ITU HQS

The message to IARU Region 1 HQ station OF3F during the last hour will be following:
RS / total number of stations of Region 1 societies or groups contacted during the party / numbers of stations contacted on 7, 14 and 21 MHz.

4U1ITU reports to OF3F: 57/28/00/23/15.

RS = 57 (please give accurate reports, not just “59”!).
28 = total of 28 different HQ/special group -stations contacted.
03 = 3 different HQ/special group stations contacted made on 7 MHz.
23 = 23 different HQ/special group stations contacted on 14 MHz.
15 = 15 different HQ/special group stations contacted on 21 MHz

All messages consist of five groups: RS is the group number 1, this group number one is separated by / (`slash’) from group number 2 and so on. If you have not received any of the groups properly, you ask: “Please repeat group number #”.

HQ-station OF3F is not giving messages – only receiving and confirming them. To avoid QRMing the HQ-station, please move to frequencies near the CoA for contacts with other stations.

For creating a more realistic situation, please limit your transmitting power during the exercise to 100 watts. A special value is given to stations operating mobile/portable and/or on emergency power.

Greg Mossop G0DUB has kindly agreed to collect all information and to prepare a final report. Please send your comments and logs to Greg at: gregm(at) The final report will be published in August 2007.

We hope that even more stations than in November 2006 will participate in this second EmCom Party on the Air. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any additional information.

A third EmCom Party is planned for 17 November, 2008, with new rules and procedures.

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.