Western MA Emergency Net Operations for Winter Storm Izzy

The Western MA Emergency Net will operate tomorrow as a part of the SKYWARN operations form Winter Storm Izzy. This storm system we have coming up is a quick hitting but potent storm system for our area.

For portions of western and northwest Massachusetts, we will see the snow heavy at times with the potential of 5-9″ before a change over to sleet/freezing rain and possibly rain. Wind gusts of 40 MPH coupled with the snow and ice may bring some pockets of tree and wire damage. In Eastern Massachusetts, we are preparing for the potential of damaging winds and heavy rainfall with coastal flooding at the coast. Wind gusts of up to 65 MPH are likely especially in heavy rainfall that can bring the wind down to the surface.

A good chunk of the snowfall will occur overnight and then for a few hours in the early to mid-morning. Snowfall reports would be helpful particularly in locations in northern Worcester and Middlesex counties through Franklin, western Hampshire and western Hampden counties as well as changeover of precipitation type and any storm damage. Higher elevations may see the heaviest snowfall from this event.

In response, above and beyond the normal 2M VHF SKYWARN nets which will run at the top of each hour tomorrow morning, the Western MA Emergency Net will start at 6:30 AM with hourly call ups on the bottom of the hour thereafter until its no longer needed (likely 12:30).

All SKYWARN participants are welcome to check in to either the VHF nets or WMEN on or around 3944 kHz LSB with weather reports that meet reporting criteria. For this particular storm, WX1BOX is particularly interested in the following information on each call up:

  • Measured snowfall
  • Measured ice accretion (if any)
  • Current precipitation
  • Current temperature (if available)
  • Precipitation changeover time (if changes occured since last report)
  • Measured wind gusts of 40 MPH or greater
  • Any storm damage (wind or combo of snow/ice/wind)

The latest SKYWARN storm response messages can be seen on wx1box.org. Applicable reporting criteria can also be reviews on wx1box.org.

Updating ARES Membership Roster – Your Help Needed!

WMA ARES is in the process of updating our registered Members roster. Below you will find a list of those members who are currently registered as of 10/27/2021.

If you are a member of WMA ARES and do not appear below or need a correction, please drop me a note at k1yo@arrl.net with your name, callsign, and email and I will make the appropriate changes.

Conversely, if you are in the list but want to be removed, please notify me at the same email above.

Thanks in advance and 73!

Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
SEC – WMA ARES

Last NameFirst NameCallsign
AckleyGwenN1XYZ
AddisonAaronkf1g
AdeltCoryN1XWS
Al-BeikHishamKB1JLW
AlexanderToddKC1OKD
ALVESTOBYKB1CJT
ArchamboScottNot Provided
BarnettDylanNot Provided
BournJoshuaN1ZGA
CannataNickW1NJC
CyrAdamKO4GCH
DaviesTimothyK1RN
DeChristopherMikeN1TA
DionKenKD1KU
DunlapCharlesK1II
ElkinsMaryKB1ME
EwellJohnN1JIE
FarringtonSamuelKC1ENA
FOLEYDAVIDW1TTT
HABERMANNALEXANDERKC1NHG
HayesGilbertWK1H
HicksAmyNot Provided
KinahanTomN1CPE
LavioletteRichardKC1AEO
LosawPaulN1PUA
LukeJeffreyN1NWQ
MauriceBasilKB1PQZ
MeneguzzoBobK1YO
MoralezEdwinKC1BTX
MyersChristopherKb1nek
OborneTomKC1TAO
OquendoVanessaW1IRL
PalmerWilliamKC1PNR
PyraJacobW1JJP
RiceBradleyNot Provided
RichardsonKyleNot Provided
SaccoMatthewKC1JPU
SantanielloJosephKC1PNX
SegersonPhilipNot Provided
SmithCharlesKC1IKA
SmithGaryNot Provided
SpencerLarryN1LWS
St GermainChristopherKC1MAO
StephanGeorgeK1GXS
TarbellJohnKC1GRU
TorresBryanKB2UZY
WindykaKenKB1PKI
WoodhullAlbertN1AW
WyattDaveNot Provided
YoungAdamW1ACY

Upcoming Activities – Western Massachusetts ARES

Hello Western Mass Amateurs!

This is just a quick note to explain some of the things related to Emergency Services that we will be putting into place shortly.

First, we are going to focus heavily on training and practice for our net operations. Charlie (Smitty) Smith, KC1IKA has accepted a position as Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator and is taking over responsibility for Section net operations. The plan is to establish regularly-occurring training nets, both for simplex and repeater VHF/UHF operations. This will provide a forum for persons interested in participating on nets to learn the proper operational procedures in an environment specifically setup for learning and practice.  This should also be a good entry point for those interested in becoming a Net Control Station (NCS).

Additionally, we are initiating training in digital modes (JS8Call, FLDigi, and WinLink) to enable their use in passing messages as required on HF and VHF. Practice nets will be established and operate on a regularly scheduled ongoing basis for those interested in this type of communications. The training will also focus on getting the proper hardware and software setup and configurations to ensure you have the optimal configuration of your own equipment to operate effectively.

A link to a registration form for digital training will appear on this website so that you could choose which digital mode(s) you would be interested in … we will post a short announcement here on how to access that on the menu choices at the top of the main web page.

Operating nets properly and effectively is of prime importance in an emergency situation. I am currently investigating the communication needs of several agencies within the Section to ensure that what we can provide fits their specific needs. We are planning to hold frequent SET-type events involving those agencies to provide ongoing opportunities to fine tune and focus our combined efforts.

Finally, we intend to reach out – through the individual clubs – for assisting in communications with local public service events of various agencies. This has been a very common activity in the past and it would be great to see it rekindled.

Please watch this website for further developments for all the above.

Stay safe and well !

Vy 73

Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator, WMA ARES
K1yo@arrl.net

Communications for two events in our area

The Franklin County Amateur Radio Club will provide communications for two events soon to take place in our area. We welcome licensed amateurs who would like to join us.

On 21 August, the Franklin County Land Trust will host an off the beaten path bicycle tour, called the Deerfield Dirt Road Rondonee (D2R2). It is part of their fund raising efforts. As the name of the tour suggests, it is mostly over dirt roads, in rural towns of western Franklin County and up into southern Vermont. Radio communications are necessary for key points along the tour where cell phone service is not available. At those points, our communicators will be the only way the Franklin Land Trust staff can send or receive messages to and from the base for the race in Deerfield.

The tour consists of three routes: 100k, 160k, and 180k. The first group of riders start at 6 AM, and the last rider may return as late as 6 PM. We will not cover that entire time period. We will ask radio volunteers to work in shifts. Volunteers may occasionally be asked to bring equipment, water, or food to remote stops along the way

On 29 August, the Connecticut River Conservancy and the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club sponsor a traditional, 26 mile marathon. It starts at the campus of the former Marlboro Community College, in Marlboro, VT, and follows a path along the banks of the Green River, over mostly dirt roads. Our club members, with help from others, will help with the needs of the race staff, many positioned at water stops along the way. We are also there to call for help if needed by runners in distress.

For the D2R2, contact Al Woodhull, N1AW, at aswoodhull@yahoo.com, or 413-773-3522.
For the Green River Marathon, contact Chris Myers, KB1NEK, at camyers@protonmail.com, or 413-625-0344
More information on the Groups.IO site, at FCARC-MA, in the FILES section.

Emergency Radio Communications personal enrichment course

MWCC Noncredit Personal Enrichment Course
Instructor Name: Paul Topolski
Name of Course: Emergency Radio Communications
Dates: Thursdays, September 9 to October 28, 2021
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Where: Gardner Campus
Cost: $169
Description of Course:
A course for everyone who uses or wants to use two-way radios professionally, as part of their emergency
preparedness efforts, on-board air and water craft, to help their community during disasters or special events, or
as a hobby.

Public safety professionals such as police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, hospital nurses, and more,
depend heavily on two-way radios to request and receive vital information. More importantly, the radio is the
critical link to safety and getting help. Unfortunately, little if any time is spent in training academies on how radios
work, why they will not work, and how to resolve communications failure issues on the fly. Students will learn
about the different types of radio system systems such as repeaters, simplex, trunk systems, analog and digital
systems.

The prepper community knows all too well the importance of communications and they have a large variety radio
services to choose from. Learn what radio services best suits the type of communications needed. Which service
is best, FCC Part 95 CB, MERS, FRS, GMRS products, or a Part 97 Amateur Radio license? This course will help you
sort it all out.

Are you interested in learning about new things, emerging technologies, nature, physics, and electronics? Are you
interested in communicating locally or internationally, without the aid of expensive infrastructure such as the
internet, cable provider, cell phone or landline telephone systems? How about having a casual conversation with
an astronaut aboard the International Space Station? STEM students will find this course exceedingly helpful in
their studies.

This course, based on the FCC Technician Class Amateur Radio examination criteria. The material provides
answers and solutions to the questions above. At the end of the class, students will have an option to take the
exam and apply for a Technician Class License. The course fee includes the required text and materials. Not
included is an optional exam fee of $15 and FCC license application fee of $35.

Text and Materials required:

  • The ARRL Technician Class License Manual
  • An inexpensive digital multimeter
  • A Texas Instrument TI-30xa Scientific Calculator
  • Access to one of the many free on-line exam practice sites such as www.qrz.com

WMA ARES Announces Drawing Winners from SET Log Submissions

Hello Everyone …

As promised, we put all stations submitting a SET Log into a drawing and had an impartial volunteer pick 4 winners from equally sized slips of paper in a container.

Our Section Manager, Ray – KB1LRL, kindly provided the prizes  …. 4 highly relevant ARRL books on amateur radio topics. Thanks Much, Ray !!

Here are the winners. I will send each of you an email asking where you’d like your prize sent.

1st prize: 2021 ARRL Handbook to KC1IBU – Leominster EOC station represented by Jerry AA2T

2nd prize: 2021 Repeater Directory to KB1JWZ – Bill Pease

3rd prize: HF Dipole Antennas for Amateur Radio to KA1HAH – Robert Weller

4th prize: Energy Choices for the Radio Amateur to W1RVY – Eric Wilhelm

Id like to again thank all of you who participated in our recent SET, and extend congratulations to our prize winners! This exercise is proving truly valuable to the development of our WMA ARES communications capabilities.

Vy 73,

Bob – K1YO

Section Emergency Coordinator – WMA ARES

2021 Western Mass SET – Stations Submitting Activity Logs

Here is a list of SET log documents received as of May 24, 2021. Please accept our sincere thanks to all stations that participated in this event as it has provided valuable data (still under analysis) regarding the Inter-County communications capabilities and the utility of several communications modes available for use in potential emergency situations. If you have submitted a log and are not listed, please notify Bob at k1yo@arrl.net asap.

As previously mentioned, we will shortly have a drawing for a few simple prizes for those stations that have submitted log sheets. Winners will be announced on this website when the results are in – probably by this time next week!

Again, THANK YOU to ALL participants for your assistance in out very successful exercise from your entire WMA ARES team!

SET Logs Received From:

K2MZWORCESTER EOC
KA1HAH
KB1AKU
KB1JWZ
KB1NEKSHELBURNE EOC
KB1NOXNCS
KC1FIDSPRINGFIELD EOC
KC1IBULEOMINSTER EOC
KC1IKANCS
KC1OKV
N1AW
N1NWQ
N1PVX
N1YL
W1BCC
W1ECTWORCESTER EMER COMM TEAM
W1RVY
W1SEXGARDNER EOC
WC1SWSOUTHWICK EOC

A Message from the WMA ARES Section Emergency Coordinator

WMA ARES

So, 2020 is finally winding down! This year has certainly been a challenge across a broad spectrum of events, interests, and areas…. and the continuing development of the Western Massachusetts ARES Section has borne its share of difficulties driven by the pandemic.  As Amateur Radio operators, communications is woven into our fabric just by the nature of what we do. This is even more important relative to the ARES organization – it’s our primary charter and mission.

I’d be derelict of duty if I didn’t acknowledge that communications from leadership to members of our community is critically important. This pandemic has wrought quite some havoc in my trying to visit individual clubs to solicit inputs and let them know what the planned direction of our Section currently is.  You are all aware that we are in the process of rebuilding a dormant ARES Section. Reasons for the past decline are varied … but we are on the way back though we’ve surely been hampered by setbacks in personal contact, staffing, and other unexpected obstacles.

Several folks have asked for a brief overview of what’s been done and what else is coming so I’d like to take this opportunity for a quick update.  You may have noticed that we have a new Section website that has just recently come out of construction. It’s the same url … wma.arrl.org … but has been totally rebuilt on another web hosting service to allow us better control and functionality. A thankful shout out to Aaron – KF1G, Gil – WK1H, and Grant – KC1KCE for all their work in accomplishing this.  Under the Emergency Communications menu there is an option for new members to submit a request to join us. Doing this sends an email to an administrator and me and allows the user to be added to a new members group and redirected to a place where they can assign themselves a password. This will allow entry into the main profile system where we collect important information regarding their capabilities and interests.  We are also going to generate a communication asking current members to follow a similar process which will allow us to update our (sometimes ancient) information.

This was a primary concern for me … you need accurate member information to be able to assess the needs and interests of our Section and to enable accurate interfacing with municipalities and agencies that may require our assistance in various ways. That being said, I’m sure you’d like a glimpse of what’s to come. Here are some of the key activities underway currently:

  • Continue website development to include sections covering technical, public service events calendars, and team-building with agencies served.
  • Develop a new and effective Notification System for Activations of all types.
  • Update our WMA Emergency Plan document to reflect staffing and any organizational and procedural changes.
  • Implement a drive for new membership and renewed participation from existing members … provide services that will enhance their efforts in Emergency Communications and technical topics to help grow their capabilities in amateur radio overall.
  • Enhance our current VHF / UHF net activities … add practice nets across the Section with a focus on emulated EmComm situations, and setup mentoring for interested parties to become Net Control Stations (NCS).
  • Establish a Section – wide Digital HF net enabling messaging across counties if needed by served agencies.
  • Form a Steering Committee comprised of internal (ARES) and external representation to evaluate our capabilities and provide guidance in developing new goals and objectives focused on our members’ and agencies’ needs.
  • We are developing, with the assistance of our ARRL Technical Specialists and volunteer technical ‘consultants’, a program of technical training sessions (Zoom and/or document based) to enhance the skills of new and existing members.  Typical topics considered are:
    •  Soldering, Cable Fabrication, Simple Antenna Design, Construction and Testing
    • Introductory and NCS net training
    • Go-kit needs and assembly
    • Portable Power Sources
    • Radio Testing with basic tools – DVM, Oscilloscope, Antenna Analyzer
    • Digital Modes Introduction / review with hands – on : NBEMS, JS8Call and WinLink
    • … others to be determined with YOUR inputs!

I sincerely hope you will consider joining us or renewing your previous interest in ARES. I am very interested in what would be valuable to you specifically on your journey through Amateur Radio.

Please feel free to offer your suggestions to any of our leadership team or  contact me directly with comments and ideas.

We’re well on the way to reviving a substantial and valuable organization that can provide important assistance to our communities and agencies. We need you to help make this a reality. Please give this your thought and consideration

With sincere wishes for a Safe, Blessed and Happy Holiday Season …

Vy 73,
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
k1yo@arrl.net
ARES Western Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator

WMA ARES Section Upcoming Activities

WMA ARES

There is a substantial amount of work underway in the WMA Section for activities upcoming in the near future. I’m certain most of you are unaware of these since they are still in the planning stage, but I wanted to give you a quick update.

I’m planning for a local Section Emergency Test (SET) to be conducted soon … likely in the mid to late December timeframe. What we’d like to do with this is (of course) exercise our voice net capabilities to give us a bit of needed practice in handling and forwarding messages to / from agencies that would likely require the same in the event of a disaster. …. But additionally, to come up to par with what ARES sections are doing across the nation, we need to also develop the capacity to handle messages digitally – and by that I mean via WinLink and NBEMS / FLDigi. Updates will appear here as things progress.

There has been a LOT of activity in this vein across ARES nationally in the past month or two. WinLink training videos (along with many other excellent and useful topics) are now available for free via Vimeo (video) to be viewed at users’ convenience. Also, you’ve all seen the offerings going on right now from the New Hampshire Training Academy … which have produced some great feedback!

But while training is great, PRACTICE is the key determinant of our abilities. To this end, our plan is to setup additional nets for practice handling digital messaging, and some additional exercises (beyond just check – ins) for voice nets.  To do this we need participants … which we have a good share of for our HF voice nets, but to a lesser extent for UHF / VHF repeater and simplex nets. MUCH testing has been done recently to determine our capacity for cross – county communications on HF, and VHF digital operations (digital VARA FM via 6 meter repeater, for ex.) and for simplex on VHF. Work will continue in these areas. The VHF / UHF repeater capacity should be back to its original capabilities in the near future also, so hopefully the VHF/UHF net participation will increase.

If you have digital capability already ( HF and / or VHF ) and would like to become part of the proposed digital messaging networks, please let me know (k1yo@arrl.net) . If you don’t have the experience but would like to get involved, that’s great !   We have some pretty good startup documents to help you and will offer short Zoom classes to finalize your capabilities …. even one on one if needed !

Anyone with solid digital messaging experience would be welcome to help train others to come on board!  Those with traffic handling expertise are also needed to get users up to speed on how messages should be passed to existing NTS traffic nets as that would be a probable conduit in a large scale disaster.

Simply, there has recently  been much work done  towards reviving the ARES capabilities of WMA. I believe we are now ready to start moving forward – simply at first – but engaging additional capabilities and technologies as we ready ourselves to meet the needs of our healthcare partners, agencies, and communities

The only thing missing is you !

Vy 73
Bob – K1YO
SEC WMA ARES

P.S. .  Several Worcester area stations have already volunteered for helping with additional testing … my apologies but due to an email error I have lost the specifics on  those of you who already contacted me!  Please resend – thanks.

WMA ARES HF Emergency Net Signal Reports

Hello to all stations that checked into the WMA ARES HF Emergency Net on Sunday October 11.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve requested your power levels to be reported also … this is to assist in studying some of the 75m ionospherics at play during our net relative to the time and your location. I’ve attached a table of your received signal strengths at my station here in Southwick MA for your information. Receive antenna is a multi band Off Center Fed Dipole (OCFD) at about 70 feet into a Yaesu FT-1000MP. Results are interesting especially at low and QRP power levels.

While I have not calibrated the meter at this point, I believe the readings vs power levels vs distance from the station will give us a better idea of what could be the case in a large scale emergency where 100 watts might be the maximum power a station could produce – especially if deployed. Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) signals are the defacto mode of communication for our nets due to the typical heights of our antennas. This is usually a good medium for reliable communications out to 300 miles or so. However, there has been information published that describes a ‘donut hole’ of about 100 miles that may pop up depending on the condition of the ionosphere with time…most likely the D and E Layer absorption growing as the sun heats things up.

Certainly other layers and factors affect our efforts and I’m trying to get a handle on all this by collecting reports and trying to relate things to ionosphere level  readings taken at the same time as our net from the nearby ionosonde site at Millstone Hill in MA. I will keep you advised of any findings as I study the voluminous data on ionograms and their translations on the web. I am pretty new to this and the data available is primarily at research science levels so if any of you are well – versed or have a potential contact that might be, I’d appreciate your inputs <grin>!

I’m going to try to collect and refine readings going forward and will make these available as I collect them … at a location to be determined – possibly posted here for the time being.

Thanks to all of you for your net participation and your willingness to serve your communities in disaster situations.

Vy 73,
Bob – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator – Western Massachusetts Section