Tanner Hospital in Carrollton is currently in the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ARES. Under this agreement ARES will coordinate the deployment of amateur radio operators to the hospital upon activation by the hospital’s emergency management staff.
Many of you are already ARES members. Those of you who are not please feel free to contact me by clicking on "Contact WX4BK" on the sidebar menu and I’ll send an ARES membership application along to you.
Just to be clear, ARES is an organization that operates interdependently of radio club leadership structure. That being said, there must be a cooperative effort between all radio clubs, amateur radio operators, and ARES. Many of us have been working hard to rebuild our working relationship with ARES and local served agencies like the county and local hospitals. Those who participated in the 2010 Simulated Emergency Test remember a busy day dealing with simulated and real equipment problems in order to complete our part of a three state emergency communications test. State ARES
One of the problems with practice, courses, and training activities such as this, is the fact that theory fails the moment it meets reality. Even exercises suffer from the fact those planning the exercise are, well, planning. Preconceived ideas are brought to the exercise by the planner or planners.
Of course, the planned exercise usually suffers the same fate as every other plan, it too will show its flaws the moment it meets reality.
So, what do we do to improve our ability to refine our skills and deal with unexpected circumstances? There are several options. We can improve our skills by participating in special activities such as fox-hunting, balloon launch and tracking, and special events.
Tonight we’re going to discuss Special Events. Special Events are unique from the other mentioned activities because we are serving other organizations and people we may never have worked with before. As a result, the participants, routes, weather conditions, and unexpected emergencies will change from year to year.
So what are the similarities to an real EMCOMM event? Here are a few:
Setting up UI-View can be daunting for some, especially if you want to interface it with a radio. In the interest of getting people up and running I have created a setup guide for my preferred configuration. I'm open to suggestions and corrections, as I want this to ultimately be a quick-start guide. These instructions assume you are installing at home with an internet connection and/or (optionally) a radio.
Installing the UI-View 32 software
First, you need to download the program and open/run it. This is actually the installer, so let it run and install with the default settings.
Install PA7RHM Map Server (Strongly Recommended)
PA7RHM is a map server that will allow UI-View to download maps of your location off the internet and also store maps for use while you are mobile. You can download PA7RHM's updater and then, from his "updater" utility download and install the map server. It does all the work for you!
Install AGWPE (optional)
If you intend to interface with a radio you will need a hardware or software "Terminal Node Controller" or TNC for short. I use a free software TNC program named AGWPE, which can be downloaded.The AGWPE download is not an installer, it's a "zip" file. So when you open it you'll need to extract it to a directory and run the setup program. Once complete you'll have a new icon by your clock on the start bar. Right-click and select "launch IBrowser". Login with the username LOGIN and the password as "password". A new menu will appear, click on "New Radio Port". Select "Sound Card" from the pull-down menu and click "Next". Select 1200 from the pull-down menu and click Next. Select "Single" and click Next. Pick a name, but I used "APRS" and click Next. Use "1200" for the on-air baud rate and click Finish. Close the browser.
A Simulated Emergency Test is exactly what the name implies: A planned simulation of an emergency designed to test our ability to respond to both anticipated circumstances and unanticipated events. The purpose of a SET is to:
- To find out the strengths and weaknesses of ARES and the National Traffic System (NTS), the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and other groups in providing emergency communications.
- To provide a public demonstration to served agencies such as Red Cross, Emergency Management, hospitals, and through the news media of the value to the public that Amateur Radio provides, particularly in time of need.
- To help radio amateurs gain experience in communications using standard procedures and a variety of modes under simulated- emergency conditions.
One important aspect of the SET is to ensure operations on emergency power. Carroll County is blessed with a repeater that operates from a facility that has extensive short-term and long-term backup power capability. However, operators should, whenever possible, be prepared to switch to battery backup power as part of the test.
APRS (Automated Packet Reporting System) is the creation of Bob Bruninga (WB4APR) . Although the primary use of APRS is for position reporting, it can also be used for communicating telemetry, short text messages, weather information, and virtually any other information that can be conveyed in short packets.
By integrating GPS APRS can be used to track vehicles, bicyclists, and even joggers. This makes it an ideal tool for EMCOMM and Public Service events.
You can actually get started with APRS with nothing more than a computer and internet connection. While you won't be “digipeating” or acting as an “igate” you can get a feel for how APRS works and what it does.
Visit http://www.apritch.myby.co.uk/uiv32.htm to confirm you are an amateur radio operator. You'll be given a registration number that you can then use to download a software package named “UI-VIEW” from http://www.ui-view.org/. If you go to www.ui-view.org first there will be a direct link to the registration site.