Hawaii SET, set for 21 OCT 2017

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KH6OWL, Oct 10, 2017.

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  1. KH6OWL

    KH6OWL Guest

    The ARRL CEO, Tom Gallagher, recently talked about the assistance amateur radio provided in the recovery efforts of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

    Gallagher stated that the ARRL sent 25 radio kits, which were set up quickly. They were out the door and on a plane within 72 hours or so of the request. He stated the Red cross has never asked for help from the ARRL before in this magnitude and that the ARRL got over 300 volunteers in about 12 hours and 50 operators deployed within days of the request. One of the requirements for this deployment was to be familiar with HF and Winlink.

    A major airline moved all of the ARRL equipment to Atlanta where the volunteers linked up with the equipment and flew to the deployment area on a Jet Blue flight. According to Gallagher, the volunteers are basically doing 4 jobs :

    1. Moving Health and Welfare traffic from San Juan back to the States over HF using Winlink, which is fast and reliable. Then entered into Safe wand well website
    2. Moving info around to the different shelters by having HF in the shelters and hospitals.
    3. Operating radios for police and first responders. Hams ride with police and use 2 meters to dispatch. Hams also provide communications for the utility companies.
    4. Helping dispatch both water and electricity as electricity and water comes back up. By providing communications for the water and electricity companies.
    The ARRL raised about $110,000 for Ham Aid, which was created in 2005 in response to the need for equipment and resources to support the amateur radio response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Ham Aid equipment is available on loan to Amateur Radio organizations during disaster response when communications equipment is unavailable.

    Fox news did a good story about amateur radio and how it is helping today. See the link below titles:

    Ham radio: Old technology gets new respect


    The video below is of ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher interview with Dr. Bob Heil on Twit TV.

    ARRL: Puerto Rico-Caribbean Recovery

    Mexico activated their Red HF net that had HF, VHF, UHF capabilities along with Winlink to assist with the recovery of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on September 19th 2017 that devastated the region about 100Km form Mexico City. With the Internet being spotty to non existent, they used the Winlink network for sending and receiving email on HF with pactor on the 20 and 40 meter bands to a gateway in Texas.

    [​IMG]Hawaii will be sending an operator, Norm, NH7UA, to Oregon to participate in their ARES SET on October 14th. It is an opportunity to learn about other ARRL Sections’ planning, training and execution of ARRL SETs.

    On October 21st the Hawaii ARES will conduct the annual Simulated Emergency Test (SET) in two parts. Some changes have been made based on lessons learned in recent natural disasters in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean

    This year’s SET is primarily focused on a simulated tsunami event with amateur stations reporting inundation and material damage reports. This is priority traffic to be simulated as Part I of the exercise from 08:00 to 13:00, Sunday Oct 21st.

    Normally 72-hours after an event occurs, government communications are restored and Amateur stations can assist in other ways, such as handling health and welfare traffic that cannot be handled by government agencies.

    The recent major events in FL, PR, TX and Mexico have raised attention for the need to be prepared to assist in high volume of “Health and Welfare” traffic that is being handled via the Red Cross on their “Safe and Well” web site,[​IMG]


    Part II of the Pacific Section 2017 SET will simulate Hawaii stations passing Winlink traffic for a simulated posting to the Red Cross web site by a State of Washington Amateur Radio station. The SET simulation assumes stations participating have lost Internet access and must forward “Safe and Well” messages for web site posting by KF7RSF.

    Even if an amateur station does not yet have HF or VHF access to Winlink, you are encouraged to participate using a Telnet connection (Using Internet) to Winlink. This is our first use of Winlink in an SET exercise in Hawaii. We want to encourage amateurs to develop Winlink skills, just installing the software and using it to send and receive messages is a big step toward expanding the digital skill level of our pool of our trained amateurs.

    Please consider participating via Internet even if your radio equipment is not yet digital capable.

    The following YouTube video is an excellent tutorial on how to install Winlink RMS Express, including how to send and receive messages. It does not require thatyou have digital radio equipment, e.g. a Pactor modem or Signalink sound card.

    The ARRL President, Rick Roderick, K5UR, stated that “Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have left paths of destruction and catastrophic flooding that will impact the lives of people throughout the southeast U.S. and Caribbean for years to come. Throughout these disasters, our trained ham radio volunteers, and especially those in coordinating roles, have helped us meet the requests of our partner agencies and organizations.”

    permalink: https://oahuarrlnews.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/hawaii-set-and-winlink/
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2017
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for ignoring all the other help rendered in Puerto Rico by radio amateurs--many of whom are ARRL Members. Perhaps their only 'agenda' was in helping, not in generating a 'smile' shot of a 'suit'.

    Did Tom Gallagher, himself, actually donate? Serious question....not an accusation.

    Where the heck is a story about WP3R???
  3. KG7VTO

    KG7VTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Items #1 thru #4 sound like the same dam thing to me. More BS.
  4. G3SEA

    G3SEA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Whatever works in an emergency, use it ;)
    Winlink over HF is a step up from the slow ARRL radiogram/telegram method.
    I'm not an ARRL member but thought it worth making a donation to the worthy ARRL Ham Aid effort.
  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree; its not BS. No one is expecting streaming speeds, but this WINLINK request is critical for increased speed and accuracy.

    I did not donate to the ARRL effort because I always prefer a direct donation--to the source of the need-- when that path exists. Not money. Stuff.

    The ARRL needs to take a broader approach to reporting ham radio efforts and said assistance in Puerto Rico . Period. Putting out this PR piece focusing on the ARRL is , IMO, exploitative for the ARRL's benefit.

    BTW, my donations of an HF radio, generator, and food reached those in need long before the ARRL effort.

    Sending HF QRP radios is a disaster. Need 100 watts. QRP with emergency wire antennas in poor propagation is a formula for noise at the other end. All 100 watt HF radios are capable of turning down the power if possible.

    Lots of stuff goes on behind the scenes. The ARRL needs to be chided for this PR piece as a mere passion play. Not news.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    As a useful addendum.... ARRL's 'Ham Aid' uses --100 watt-- HF radios in a very useful go-kit. If you feel that works for you, rather than sending a radio direct, I think that's terrific: donate and earmark.

    Keep in mind that logistics is always the big issue and immediate needs often require clever, expensive and/or 'break the rules' efforts. Hence the relative delay in getting radios where needed by bulk means.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. K4XS

    K4XS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just came back from KP4 ARRL/Red Cross operation in KP4. Winlink was not all everyone thinks it was. Connections to the mainland were sporadic since we were provided with 40 meter antennas. They were mostly useless to the mainland since the skip was too short during the day and the antennas loaded up on 20 with a tuner but were inefficient radiators for that band. Short messages took as long as five minutes to send, whereas on SSB they could have been done in less than a minute. The majority of the traffic was handled by voice on 7085 and 7088. No where is WP3R mentioned, nor is KP4RF. As usual, the grunts get no glory, just the generals.
    W4RAV likes this.
  9. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for your efforts and the real-life issues.. Let's get the non-profit entity off the table for the moment: what is needed NOW?

    Chip W1YW
  10. N6KZB

    N6KZB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for your help and efforts............

    Advise was given prior to deployment by many, that the Winmor protocol under these band conditions would be less than ideal. Pactor modems if taken would have ensured greater connectivity and large message transfers. Deployment with single band antennas limited band selection choices, though many did fold to use for 20, and found they would work on 17 meters with the tuner. The lessons and experience take from this event will help to have a better equipped response in the future.

    As an indicator, XE3N Winlink Gateway in Cancun alone, processed over 75 messages on 40 and 17 meters in 4 days. Many requests for service and situation reports, plus selected ICS forms. A lot of sent traffic was large lists of requested medical supplies and medicines, sent in digital format, that would have been impossible to do by voice. Red Cross Safe and Well entry lists, in spreadsheet format were delivered for data base entry at the other end. The updates provide by HF email from individual teams at their respective assigned locations gave an accurate picture of conditions for that area.

    About 7 USA gateways were also good paths to Puerto Rico, with some turning directional antennas to that area and adding extra frequencies to support. The majority of traffic load, several hundred, was handled by gateway station N5TW in Texas with his arrays. Special HTML forms to facilitate the deployed teams using Winlink Express were created just for the event in short order. Back channel communications with Red Cross communications staff and field teams by Winlink members solved many issues and gave constant advice to improve the traffic flow. W1WCN and his staff at Red Cross was an invaluable and tireless task master.

    Winlink did what is was supposed to do, move email based traffic out of an affected area. Connectivity issues is a combination available equipment, understanding of the software and gateway selection, plus band conditions. Despite the problems, the amount of traffic sent from Puerto Rico by HF was dramatic, and average message size 4-6 k, with Winmor 1600.
    Yes some traffic took many minutes to send, but it made it, error free, emailed delivered to those who needed it, where nothing else was available.

    The Red Cross and its sent "force of 50" did a tremendous job under poor conditions. It was obvious that sent personnel were amateur radio operators and not appliance operators.

    The majority of deployed amateurs, many still on mission, did an incredible job of moving traffic from a disaster area on HF via Winlink. I would caution that while individual reports and experiences are meaningful, wait for the final After Action Report. I have seen many other reports indicating that without Winlink and an HF radio, they would not have been able to provide adequate desired support. The Winlink system did as designed very well, proper equipment and a bit of experience with the program would have paid off even more.

    Wish I could share some of the traffic, especially those credited with life's saved, humanitarian relief, communications support, and the locals supportive comments, that was handled via HF email by volunteer amateur radio operators.

    But I can share one report from the field, sent via HF radio on Winmor, that was publicly posted on other groups, so I have no qualms about sharing here:

    "Puerto Rico update received this morning from former Virginia ham, N0CSM. He thanks current Virginia ham Lee Ntwolee for his support of their communication efforts.

    ***Begin pasted message***


    We continue supporting officials here in Puerto Rico and the teams have been reduced to single operators in the field to support hospitals and fire stations. I believe everyone in the field is being accommodated in either a fire department (Bomberos) as we were in Mayaguez or in a hospital as I am now. We are running the legs off of the Winlink system and a few days ago, I was having trouble connecting when one of my old favorites came through! N2LEE there in Northern Virginia came through loud and clear for me.

    The Winlink team has been very supporting of our efforts by making several gateways private or EMCOM, turning beams our direction, increasing the power output of some stations, offering suggestions for better operations, they created an NCS Winlink address so that the rotating position for NCS wasn't tied to a single operator and, they created a form for us after a specific format was developed for the field deployed operators to use for request.

    The local ham radio community is coming back to life, several repeaters are now back on the air and we have pretty good coverage with about a 1/2 dozen VHF repeaters and, from what I can tell, two UHF repeaters. Prior to coming down, I programmed my HT with all of the KP4 repeaters and I sit outside and scan for a little while each day. Doing so, I've been able to provide feedback to our NCS station to update the ICS-205.

    Okay, this has gotten long enough so I'll sign off for now. I hope Nate isn't dropping too much rain on all of you. My little brother lives down in Mobile Alabama and apparently, they got several feet of flood water at his QTH. Thankfully, his house is up on stilts so they just pretended to be on a houseboat for a few hours.

    Craig McVeay
    "Force of 50 (22 on station), Puerto Rico"


    Adios and to all, thank you!

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