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Ham Radio and Disasters

The site below has an interesting article.  Climate change is a topic all unto itself and at this point it is still under discussion. The take away from this article is once again we have to learn the hard way.


The  following has been received from the ARRL

ARRL Bulletin 19  ARLB019
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  August 29, 2023
To all radio amateurs

ARLB019 Idalia Prompts Amateur Radio Activations

Volunteers of ARRL are activating ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia.
The storm, which is forecast to intensify into a hurricane, was
tracking from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, between Cancun and the western tip of Cuba. Models agreed that it could make landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane on

In a planning call Monday night with leadership of ARRL Florida
sections and ARRL Headquarters staff, Section Emergency Coordinator of the ARRL Northern Florida Section Arc Thames, W4CPD, shared plans for activation of Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers within the section. “Beginning at 7:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday, August 28, ARES volunteers will begin to staff AUXCOMM positions at the State EOC,” he said.

The Florida Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARnet) is the primary emergency communications system planned for use. The system is a series of linked UHF repeaters that covers the entire state. There are also HF nets planned as a backup.

Radio amateurs are asked to yield HF frequencies to emergency nets when they are activated.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) was activated Monday afternoon. HWN activated on 14.325 MHz at 2:00 PM EDT (1800 UTC) and planned to remain active until 11:00 PM EDT (0300 UTC) or until propagation was lost. HWN then planned to activate on 7.268 MHz at 7:00 PM EDT (2300 UTC) and remain active until 11:00 PM EDT (0300 UTC).

HWN Activation Plans for Tuesday, August 29 through Wednesday,
August 30:

20-meters: 14.325 MHz at 8:00 AM EDT (1200 UTC) daily until
propagation is lost at night.

40-meters: 7.268 MHz starting at 7:00 PM EDT (2300 UTC) Tuesday. HWN will remain active on this frequency throughout the remainder of this event.

“We will suspend operations each morning at 7:30 AM EDT to allow the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club Net – WRCC (Waterway Net) to conduct their daily morning Net. After the Water Way Net has
concluded, generally around 8:30 AM ET, we will resume operations,” wrote net manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV.

The WX4NHC amateur radio station at the National Hurricane Center also activated Monday and plans to be active Tuesday and Wednesday as the storm continues towards Florida.

WX4NHC is active on the HWN frequencies but will also utilize the
VoIP Hurricane Net: IRLP node 9219 / EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203. Details can be found at, .

The station is also monitoring WinLink reports sent to, (subject line must contain //WL2K).

WX4NHC asks that radio amateurs please relay any surface reports
(weather data, flooding, damage) to them by one of the nets or an
online hurricane report form at, .

The Hurricane VoIP Net plans to activate on Tuesday. “In addition to
reports meeting Skywarn criteria, the operators, using Echolink
WXTalk conference server 7203 and Internet Relay Protocol 9219, will
be joined to the Kansas Sunflower Network offering Hamshack Hotline
94032, Echolink KC5FM-r, Allstar 28848, and other modes such as
D-Star, Fusion, M17, and P25,” wrote Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, Public
Information Officer for the VoIP net.

ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, and the
ARES headquarters staff are staying in frequent touch with members
of the ARRL Northern Florida Section. Section Manager of the ARRL
Southern Florida Section, Barry Porter, KB1PA, sent a message to the
hams in the lower part of the Sunshine State. “Much of the northern
part of our state will be facing impacts from Idalia, which could be
a Category 3 or higher storm. In other words, they might be the
victims. Since the southern part of Florida will not see much severe
impact, we should be ready to assist with backup communications and
welfare messages, if asked,” he wrote.

ARRL will provide updates to the situation as it develops. Members
in Florida are encouraged to monitor local emergency officials and
prepare to take action to keep themselves safe as the storm moves
toward them.

A Request For Clear Frequencies – Hurricane Hillary

The following was received from the ARRL


Special Bulletin 9  ARLX009
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  August 21, 2023
To all radio amateurs

ARLX009 Tropical Storm Hilary: Amateur Radio Activates

Amateur Radio operators activated on Sunday, August 20, 2023 to
provide communications and information for Tropical Storm Hilary. As of mid-morning Sunday, the system was moving up the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, expected to cross into Southern California. Heavy rains were falling in San Diego, and local media reported that 250 airline flights had been canceled.

Amateur radio operations began Sunday morning. The WX4NHC amateur radio station – – at the National Hurricane Center was on air. “WX4NHC will be on the air on the Hurricane Watch Net frequencies of 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz depending on propagation. We will also be on VoIP Hurricane Net (IRLP node 9219 /
EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203,

“We will also be monitoring WinLink reports via
(subject line must contain //WL2K),” wrote WX4NHC Amateur Radio Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) was also activated Sunday morning. “We will remain active until our services are no longer required. This system does have a good chance of crossing into California as a Tropical Storm. If so, it will be the first Tropical Storm to hit California since 1939,” wrote net manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV.

HWN seeks reports to relay to the National Hurricane Center in
Miami. They have operators who are fluent in English and Spanish to
take reports. “Such weather information we look for is maximum
sustained winds, winds gusts, wind direction, barometric pressure,
rainfall amount – how much over x-amount of time, storm surge, and
damage. Should you have any outgoing Health and Welfare Traffic
before, during, or after this event, we are happy to assist as we
work closely with the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN),” wrote Graves.

HWN also exists to provide backup communications to official
agencies such as emergency operations centers, Red Cross officials,
and storm shelters in the affected area and relays damage reports.

The primary frequencies the net uses center on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz, depending on propagation. HWN thanks radio amateurs for yielding those frequencies during operation. “It certainly makes our job easier, and I know those in the affected area appreciate it as
well,” said Graves.

ARRL will continue to monitor the situation and update its various
social media outlets.  HQ staff members are in contact with WX4NHC, The Hurricane Watch Net, and VoIP Hurricane Net officials.

Oregon ARES works with Airlift Crews in A Drill

Combine 2,850 pounds of donated food, 20 cargo flights by 17 general aviation pilots flying over 8,800 air miles, eight airfields, and 44 amateur radio operators, and one can have an effective full-scale exercise. On July 8, and 9, 2023, the Oregon Disaster Airlift Response Team (ODART), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, activated volunteer pilots from Oregon, Washington, and California to simulate what a response effort might be like when the next full-length megathrust rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) off the west coast takes place.

The impact of that CSZ earthquake and tsunami incident will be severe, with widespread failures of electricity, cellular and landline phone systems, commercial radio, Internet services, and (yes, even) amateur radio repeaters. Remote coastal communities will be cut off from food and medical supplies. However, general aviation pilots can utilize small landing strips to deliver cargo of 150 to ~400 pounds per flight, and are expected to be a valuable resource for local and tribal emergency managers.

ODART planners understand the value that amateur radio communications bring to assist them with their disaster response mission. Amateur radio volunteers practice with the pilots’ group by transmitting airfield conditions, sea state (for amphibious aircraft pilots), current weather and fuel supplies on hand at airfields, relaying roadway and bridge conditions gathered by aircraft during overflights of impacted areas, and tracking each aircraft (arrival time, cargo quantity, departure time, destination, etc.).

The July 2023 exercise involved ARES, AuxComm, and ACS groups from 10 different counties across a 300-mile footprint, each standing up a Winlink station which, per the exercise scenario, could only connect to an RMS located east of the Cascade Mountain range.

We know that real-world events can affect exercises, and this event encountered three. Cargo flights between Walla Walla, Washington, and Aurora, Oregon, had to fly around smoke from the Tunnel 5 fire  burning in Skamania County, Washington. One ODART aircraft experienced avionics problems and returned to its home base at Hillsboro, Oregon, without cargo (or a working aviation radio in controlled airspace). Another ODART aircraft was enroute from Bend, Oregon, to La Grande, Oregon, when a Winlink message was received from Tyson Brooks, W7BL, who was staffing the radio station at the La Grande airport, notifying the ODART “Air Boss” of the closure of both runways due to the crash landing of a World War II vintage T6 aircraft. This information was quickly relayed to the amateur radio station at the Bend Airport, and the pilot was successfully recalled using aviation radio frequencies.

According to the “Air Boss” for the exercise, commercial pilot Jim Origliosso, KK7ILC, both the pilots and communications volunteers did an excellent job. The food delivered via the ODART cargo flights went to food banks close to the delivery airports. Food bank supplies are sparse this time of year, so the food bank directors were thrilled to receive the airlifted cargo.

Lessons learned in this exercise included the need for a better structure for VHF/UHF radio communications between the airfield flight line and the Winlink radio station, additional resiliency and testing of airport antenna options, establishing Winlink tactical call signs based on the unique FAA ID of the airfields, and the need for developing several custom Winlink forms.

In an exercise scheduled as part of the International ShakeOut Day on October 19, 2023, ODART will practice coordinated overflights of roadways and bridges in the impact areas to gather situational awareness of simulated damage. Amateur radio will again be used to relay these reports via Winlink to transportation officials.

Volunteer general aviation groups with missions similar to ODART exist in most areas of the country, so if your Emcomm group isn’t currently helping one with their communications, you may want to reach out.