Friday, November 8, 2013

Serving "Served" Agencies

Source: Kentucky Amateur Radio Web Site – Meeting the communications needs of "served" agencies is a challenging, and often daunting proposition in today's complex disaster/emergency relief arena. With the proliferation of emergency relief organizations, increasingly sophisticated needs, all competing for that scarce resource--the volunteer- -coupled with the emergence of other non-EMCOMM amateur providers, it's enough to make an EMCOMM member's head spin. As more of the population moves to disaster-prone areas, and less government funding is available, more pressure is consequently placed on agencies to use (and sometimes abuse) the volunteer sector for support of their missions in disaster mitigation. Toes are sometimes stepped on and volunteer morale can be undermined. On the other hand, the League's formal relationships with served agencies are vitally important and valuable to radio amateurs. They provide us with the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the relief of suffering among our fellow human beings. Another substantial benefit not to be overlooked is that these relationships lend legitimacy and credibility for Amateur Radio's public service capability, and that is important when it comes time to defend our frequencies and privileges before the FCC and Congress, an ever more challenging task. So, EMCOMM' relationships with the emergency/disaster relief world are to be nurtured. What to Do? First, it is imperative that a detailed local operational plan be developed with agency managers in the jurisdiction that set forth precisely what each organization's expectations are during a disaster operation. EMCOMM and agency officials must work jointly to establish protocols for mutual trust and respect. Make sure they know who the principle EMCOMM official is in the jurisdiction. All matters involving recruitment and utilization of EMCOMM volunteers are directed by him/her, in response to the needs assessed by the agency involved. Make sure EMCOMM counterparts in these agencies are aware of EMCOMM policies, capabilities and perhaps most importantly, resource limitations. Let them know that EMCOMM may have other obligations to fulfill with other agencies, too. Technical issues involving message format, security of message transmission, Disaster Welfare Inquiry policies, and others, should be reviewed and expounded upon in the detailed local operations plans.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why It Is Essential !

As we all know Ham radio plays a big part in Emergency Comunications, but, some people still question the importance of our endeavors. I just came across the below article which helps shed light on our part we play. Homeland Security Ham radio is essential to homeland security in the United States. Our service is a dispersed and decentralized communications system that can't be shut down by terrorist attck. While public safety agencies rely on central dispatch stations, amateur radio operators can go on the air just about anywhere anytime. Hams are trained communicators with technical knowledge that prepares them to put their stations on the air at remote sites quickly, creating makeshift facilities when needed. Amateur radio operators don't have to wait for technicians to arrive to repair equipment or re-program computers. Hams can do it themselves on the fly. Natural and Human Disasters Amateur radio operators have proven themselves to be essential volunteer responders in weather and other natural emergencies, and disasters of human origin. Hams can go on the air and stay on the air when ordinary public service communications fail. For many decades, ham radio often has been the only means of communicating from a stricken area to the outside world for hours and sometimes even days. Communications Technology Radio amateurs have unique capabilities. The telephone companies can't afford to build cellphone towers everywhere. There are big holes in coverage of sparsely populated areas away from cities and Interstate highways. Ham radio, on the other hand, is everywhere. During disasters, amateur radio volunteers can work without any fixed infrastructure. We're mobile and we're portable. Of course, we do have a huge infrastructure in place, also. For example, the ARRL Repeater Directory 2006-2007 lists 20,389 VHF and UHF repeaters across the U.S. and Canada. And then there are hundreds of thousands of homes and cars outfitted with two-way radio transceivers on HF, VHF and UHF bands. Whether or not there are towers to receive and repeat their signals, we can't help but notice there are cellphones everywhere. Unfortunately, the one-on-one nature of cellphone calls makes it almost impossible for a large group of emergency workers all at the same time to get an overall picture of how an event is developing. When an emergency manager is taking a call from one person, he or she miss calls from others. Also, cell networks can go down when conditions are most critical. Towers can become disabled by the very conditions that may have caused an emergency and cellular networks can be flooded out with panic calls placed by members of the general public. Hams operate nets all over the HF, VHF and UHF bands, while public safety agencies and related industries have narrow two-way systems on one or a few frequencies with what they call dispatchers. Those public safety agencies – such as police and fire departments, ambulance companies, rescue squads and the power and telephone companies and other outfits that are part of the nation's critical infrastructure – can't afford to provide the kinds of widespread, distributed radio communications networks for themselves that hams already have. Instead, those agencies that radio amateurs work with during emergencies have to rely on ham radio. Radio amateurs bring more than two-way voice communications to emergencies. Here are some of the additional services hams can offer: • portable and mobile amateur television (atv) • fixed and mobile data services (packet radio) • vehicle location services (APRS) • telephone connections (phone patch) where cellular networks don't have coverage. Hams are ready now to carry emergency message traffic across town, across the state, coast-to-coast or around the globe. Human Resources Those public service agencies served by radio amateurs get more than the latest technology. They get the hams themselves – dedicated workers who are trained specifically in emergency communications. Training and experience in unexpected emergencies make radio amateurs more likely to convey accurate information over their radio systems. In fact, the served agencies get a close-knit collection of experienced, disciplined volunteers who know how to work together as team. For many hams, solving communications challenges is what amateur radio is all about. Because they are dedicated communicators, hams aren't as likely to miss key information shared on a net while agency leaders are busy doing other things. Radio amateurs often can see the big picture and provide information support to agency leaders during a crisis simply because the hams have been monitoring emergency nets and know more about what's going on at any one moment than the agency leadership.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go Away Sandy!

OK Folks, this looks like it might “hurt” if the projected paths hold true. We all know these can change at any moment but we must be aware of situations as they arise. Take precautions, you and your family first of course and the check all those necessary radio equipment checklists. Hopefully Sunday and Monday will just be another Wet n Windy November Maine day! 73 de W1KRP

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunday Session=Cross Band Repeaters

Sunday Sessions are gearing up. Last Sunday a group met at the EAWA/EMCOMM meeting place, Meadow View Apartments at 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth. The past session included work done on portable cross band repeaters being built locally using commercial radios available after the recent narrow banding wave in public service sector! Using Motorola VHF and UHF radios and interfaces purchased off EBay (Cheap!), programming done by local Sunday Session gurus Mark N1MEA and Bob AA1PI, a power supply they are ending up with tidy portable packages allowing placement in local and remote locations expanding coverage! Neat stuff happening around here folks, if you want to join in the fun show up around 1 PM on Sundays, but first check with Mark N1MEA at to make sure there is a session scheduled!

COML & Hancock County EMCOMM!

September 18th thru the 20th was a three day event that six local Hams, Rob W8HAP, Chris AB1PZ, John KB1PXP, Mark N1MEA, Andy KB1TGL and myself Dick W1KRP found out about a place called “Central City’ a fictional city of 100,000 people. As far as we could tell, Central City was having a major “melt-down’. What is this all about, well we were fortunate enough to participate in a FEMA Communications Unit Leader(COML) three day course held here in Ellsworth. Thanks go out to Andy Sankey, KB1TGL who is the Director of Hancock County Emergency Management Agency (HCEMA) for getting the training held locally. What is a COML; well directly from the book….**Plan and manage technical and operational aspects on communications functions during an incident or event **Prepares Incident Radio Communications Plan (ICS 205) **Establishes Incident Communications Center (ICC) **Orders and manages personnel and equipment **Establishes needed capabilities and participates in incident action planning., prerequisites for this training included ICS 100, ICS 200, ICS 300 and NIMS 700. For Hams the ICS 300 was waivered. The level of training was quite high, some of us may not proceed on to Certification to COML level (it requires completion of a Task Book being signed off which is quite a task in itself!) BUT, the training has better prepared the six of us for actual participation in training sessions and actual incidents at the EMCOMM level, giving us the knowledge and confidence to deal with these matters in a professional manner. We came away with knowing the importance Hams play in the overall plans of actions. Their importance was stressed to all the class members who also included, US Army, CDC, EMA Directors and Regional Communications Center Directors. Again, Thanks Andy for allowing us the opportunity to be part of the puzzle and the plan to solve it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Federal Communications Commission DA 12-1342

“This report contains the FCC’s “ review of the importance of emergency Amateur Radio Service communications relating to disasters, severe weather and other threats to lives and property in the United States; and recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio operators in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts; and recommendations for improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in the planning and furtherance of initiatives of the federal government.” It also required “that the study identify impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications and provide recommendations regarding the removal of such impediments.”~ARRL This 15 page document shows that the Government has taken a closer look at the importance of Amateur Radio and it’s role in Emergency Communications. Take the time to read this document at the ARRL website:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FIELD DAY 2012..Lamoine ME..Be There!

EAWA, Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association will be participating in the annual ARRL Field Day along with thousands of others across North America. Hams go out into the field and use their equipment as efficiently as possible while operating on supplemental power sources. For some it’s a test of preparedness, others it’s a contest and for all a great social event that unites hams from all areas to have a good time, make new friends and of course eat some great grub! EAWA will be operating from Lamoine State Park in Lamoine almost to the end of Route 184..the end is easy to spot…it’s the Atlantic Ocean. Anywho, we will be setting up Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. This is a great time to see how things go together and learn a lot in the process. Operations start at 1400 hours June 23rd, Saturday afternoon and officially end at 1359 hours on Sunday, June 24th. Help is always appreciated during set up and especially during teardown times. We will be operating a SSB Phone station out of Club President Mark Albee, N1MEA’s trailer, the Hancock County EMCOMM Communications trailer will be there as well housing the CW station. We will also have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station for those that are new to the HF part of Amateur Radio and for those not licensed to give Ham Radio a try (you will get hooked, just fair warning!) Saturday at supper time we will be having our pot luck supper if you wish to join in the fun! Any questions contact me, W1KRP at or 460-0093, or President Mark N1MEA at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Handy "app"!

Us "Bloggers" are a strange bunch, we like to spread the wealth. Well now a post can be made to the EMCOMM site remotely from iPhones an iPod Touch appliances such as this post. Yet again another useful tool for us communicators. 73 de W1KRP

Monday, May 9, 2011

EMCOMM Meeting!

Hancock County EMCOMM meeting this coming Thursday, the 12th at 1830 hours prior to the scheduled EAWA meeting. Anyone interested in Ham radio and its role in Emergency Communications support to served agencies is urged to attend. Meetings are held at Meadow View Apartments, Phase 4 Dining Hall. Go 3/10 mile past Maine Coast Memorial Hospital on Union Street and turn right onto Tweedie Lane, building is in there about 75 yards on left. Dining Hall on the front of the building. 73

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

EAWA Participates In Winter Field Day

SPAR Announces;
“Not only during Field Day in June, do the bands come alive with improvised signals proving the ability to respond to emergencies. Since emergencies and natural disasters don't always happen in the summer, during Winter Field Day, frigid winds, icy limbs and bitter cold replace the thunderstorms and blistering heat of summer. In 2007 SPAR established a Winter Field Day event and invited all Amateur Radio operators to participate. The event was repeated in 2008 and was considered a success, so it was then designated an annual event to be held the last full weekend each January. In 2007 - 2010 the event was enjoyed by many, but it is time to issue the invitation for the Fifth Annual SPAR Winter Field Day!”
“The 2011 Winter Field Day will be held from 1700 UCT (12:00 noon EST) Saturday January 29, 2011 through 1700 UCT (12:00 noon EST) Sunday January 30, 2011. The object of the event is familiar to most Amateur Radio operators: set up emergency-style communications and make as many contacts as possible during the 24 hour period. The rules encourage as many contacts on as many bands and modes as possible, because during a real emergency, the most important factor is the ability to communicate, regardless of band, mode or distance.”
“The official rules can be found at the SPAR web site. The event is open to all amateurs, although we encourage everyone to join in the discussions and other activities sponsored by SPAR. Information about SPAR can be found on the SPAR Home Page. Membership is free and open to all amateurs who want to encourage technical and operating skills. You can register by going to the SPAR Forum and registering, using your amateur callsign as your user name. “

NOW: Here is Ellsworth, the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) will be participating in it’s second annual Winter Field Day. EAWA will operate from Meadow View Apartments Phase 4 dining hall where the group along with Hancock county EMCOMM hold their monthly meetings (For those with GPS it is “25 Tweedie Lane”) The group will start operating at 1200 hours on Saturday January 29th and operate until 2000 hours Saturday evening. There will be a potluck supper at 1700 hours and those attending are urged to bring a dish to share with the group, and you might want to bring drinks for the day as well. Set up will beging earlier than 1200 hrs so you might want to stop by to lend a hand as well. This is a fun time to join in on during the cold winter months..getting us psyched up for the big June event! Hope to see you there, and if you are not a Ham but interested in what this great hobby is all about you are invited to attend and find uot! Further info email Phil, N1EP at or Mark N1MEA at n1mea