Friday, January 26, 2007

The Three P's Of Public Service

Here is a quick reminder of what we consider the basic 3 P's of Public Service, which are always valid, but even more important in these times:

Ensuring your family is protected. You cannot help others as an Amateur Radio Operator if you have not planned for this. This requires:
Having a written Family Disaster Plan.
Maintaining a Family Disaster Supplies Kit with a minimum of three days food. This is not I probably have enough stuff in my cupboard, but food dated and stored for immediate evacuation if needed. At the very least, having such a kit prevents you from having to fight shopping lines when others panic or a snowstorm approaches, and thus makes you available for public service..
Keeping a minimum of a half a tank of fuel in all vehicles.
Knowing your county EMCOMM plans, including your county alert frequency and self-alerting assignments.
Having appropriate equipment, antenna kits and interchangeable emergency power sources.
Keeping batteries charged and generators tested.
Keeping your HT in your briefcase, purse, etc. with you during heightened alerts.

Knowing how government and agencies respond to disasters.
Knowing how amateur radio supplements them.
Knowing what to do and what not to do.
Maintaining skill in tactical and formal message handling.
Completing certification through the Emergency Communications courses.

Attitude - Helping, not hindering
Reliability - Being there when called
Flexibility - Doing what is needed to get the job done.
Thinking - Think before speaking especially concerning government/military operations or using your radio as a soapbox for political opinions.
Appearance - Representing Amateur Radio in a favorable light.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


by D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ
The use of ITU phonetics in both tactical and formal message (record) traffic handling is essential for accurate and efficient communications. (I use them on a daily basis just to keep in practice.) It is my experience that some hams simply haven’t ever researched “the why”. Others just haven’t ever taken the time to learn them. From the earliest days of radiotelephone communications, several different “official” phonetic alphabets have been used. During WW II the British used one version, while the U.S. had another. Others forces had yet even different phonetic alphabets. In 1947 the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), adopted rules and procedures that standardized phonetics. The reason? TO SAVE LIVES. There are documented incidents where aircraft (and lives) have been lost as a result of phone traffic being misunderstood or unreadable as a result of non-standard phonetics and thereby miss-communication betweenpilots (usually by those whose primary language was not English) and ground control stations. In 1956 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) adopted the ICAO phonetic alphabet. Today it is THE worldwide standard for military, naval, civilian aeronautical and maritime, search and rescue groups, public safety, (law enforcement being an exception); and...the A.R.R.L.
Below are a few reasons that the ITU Phonetic alphabet is used byproficient EMCOMM and NTS radiotelephone operators:1) It is the INTERNATIONAL standard. Operators for whom English is not their primary language can clearly spell out a word that is difficult to copy. Use of standard ITU phonetics is crucial under conditions of weak or poor propagation or interference. I know personally, of an incident, where EMERGENCY traffic (reporting a traffic accident), originated by an operatorwith a heavy foreign accent operator (who was visiting in the U.S.), calling for assistance on 2 meters FM was bungled, because the responding ham did not understand ITU phonetics.2) In handling RADIOGRAMS, or other traffic, a skilled operator that is familiar with ITU phonetics will automatically recognize that a phonetic is NOT part of the text of the message. If non-standard phonetics are used, it may confuse the receiving operator and delay the traffic.3) It sounds ”professional” and is efficient.ITU phonetics with the correct pronunciation:
A--Alfa “AL-FAH”
B--Bravo “BRAH-VOH”
C--Charlie “CHAR-LEE” or “SHAR-LEE”
D--Delta “DELL-TAH”
E--Echo “ECK-OH”
F--Foxtrot “FOKS-TROT”
G--Golf “GOLF”
H--Hotel “HOH-TELL”
I--India “IN-DEE-AH”
J--Juliett “JEW-LEE-ETT”
K--Kilo “KEE-LOH”
L--Lima “LEE-MAH”
M--Mike “MIKE”
N--November “NO-VEM-BER”
O--Oscar “OSS-CAH”
P--Papa “PAH-PAH”
Q--Quebec “KEH-BECK”
R--Romeo “ROW-ME-OH”
S--Sierra “SEE-AIR-RAH”
T--Tango “TANG-GO”
U--Uniform “YOU-NEE-FORM” or “OO-NEE-FORM”
V--Victor “VIK-TAH”
W--Whiskey “WISS-KEY”
X--X-ray “ECKS-RAY”
Y--Yankee “YANG-KEY”
Z--Zulu “ZOO-LOO”
Numbers pronunciation:
0 - “ZEE-RO”
1 - “WUN”
2 - “TOO”
3 - “TH-UH-REE” or “TREE”
4 - “FOW-ER”
5 - “FI-IV” or “FIFE”
6 - “SIX”7 - “SEV-EN”
8 - “ATE” or “A-IT”
9 - “NIN-ER”

ANOMALIES and IDIOSYNCRASIES:1 - To distinguish “Z” from “C” on phone, it is common practice to say “zed” (an old British phonetic) for “Z”, especially when saying a call sign. “Zed” is shorter (one syllable vs. two for “zulu”.) However, in formal traffic, the ITU: “ZULU” is more correct and proper.2 - “ROGER” (an early phonetic) is still used for “received” (equivalent of sending “R” in Morse) - It does NOT mean “yes” or “affirmative”. It only means: “I have received your message completely.”

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Stay "Tuned"

Look for a EMCOMM meeting with a training session to be held soon in either February or March on a Sunday. The session will take place at Meadow View Phase 4 dining hall where the EAWA meetings are held. The morning will consist of an EMCOMM meeting and an EMCOMM Training session to be announced. After a lunch break, the afternoon will be a Packet Session refresher with emphasis on Packet's usage in EMCOMM situations.

Stay “Tuned” for further information.

As always for further Hancock County EMCOMM information contact:
Everett KA1BFA at 667-8642,
Dick W1KRP at 460-0093,
EMCOMM Repeater: open machine, 146.910 with a 151.4 tone

Thursday, January 4, 2007

EMCOMM Repeater Reminder

Just a note to let everyone know that the Hancock County EMCOMM repeater is back up and running. The repeater was down for a shot time due to equipment defects causing failure to the system. The repeater was back up and running a couple of weeks ago due to the work of Jim, N1NTM who has dedicated quite a bit of time to this project, thanks Jim! Also the machine 146.910 (151.4 tone) is an open repeater that all licensed Amateur Radio Operators are urged to use. We have had good signal reports with operators checking in from Rockport, Hermon and “Tropical” Milbridge! Please use it whenever you wish.

Lets Try Again!

Well, here we are again! The blog we had up and running to spread information in reference to what was going on in Hancock County EMCOMM..well..vanished! was in the process recently of reformatting so I will blame them, hi hi.
Anyway, this blog is as stated above for the posting of information pertaining to EMCOMM operations here in Hancock County Maine. It is recommended that you check in often to see what is going on. It will take us a while to get back up to speed, but hopefully within a few days it will be back, going full speed.
Any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me at