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June In-Person Training Cancelled: Prepare for Field Day!

posted Jun 6, 2017, 4:08 PM by C. Matthew Curtin

June's in-person training is cancelled due to a schedule conflict. However, we've got a big training opportunity in June: Field Day!

Please join us on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, for Field Day! COTN will be working in support of the operation at Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security. We need traffic operators, as well as other radio operators.

Sign up to help, and we will be in touch to coordinate! Please indicate if you are interested in working specifically in the Traffic Unit, or if you are also interested in working as a radio operator during the course of the contest.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Register for Field Day, Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security!

posted Jun 4, 2017, 10:13 AM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Jun 4, 2017, 10:15 AM ]

COTN will be joining the Field Day operation at Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security. We are looking for radio operators, as well as traffic handlers specifically. We'll be making contact with as many stations as possible on as many modes as possible for points. We will also have a "Traffic Unit" that is specifically tasked with the origination and relay of traffic from the site.


May 2017 Meeting Moved to Thu 18 May

posted May 5, 2017, 4:29 PM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated May 14, 2017, 4:14 PM ]

COTN's monthly in-person training and planning meeting will move to Thursday, May 18, 2017, to accommodate schedules at Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security.

Please join us on Thursday, May 18. We'll start gathering at 6 P.M., and get our training kicked off at 6:30 P.M. We'll consider the topic of net control, with emphasis on recordkeeping, check into the Ohio Single Sideband Net, and then the Central Ohio Traffic Net regular session. We'll also hold our own special session for the evening where we'll all have an opportunity to practice simplex operations.

Looking forward to seeing you at Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security, 5300 Strawberry Farms Blvd Columbus, OH 43230 on Thursday, May 18, 2017!

Radiogram Web Application: Organize Your Traffic

posted Apr 16, 2017, 4:41 PM by C. Matthew Curtin

Traffic handler Aly Badawy, N2SHO has released a web application called Radiogram to help traffic handlers organize and manage their traffic. It requires no local installation, just an Internet connection and a web browser. Naturally you'll want to maintain proficiency with lower-tech management methods so you can operate should the emergency that causes you to operate without Internet access come your way, but for day-to-day traffic handling, the application addresses many common problems.

Not only can you keep your radiograms but you can keep track of the status—what is and isn't relayed—and at the end of the month you can use it to generate your station activity report.

Take a look at radiogram.n2sho.com.

April Training: The ICS-213 Compliant Radiogram

posted Apr 2, 2017, 3:18 PM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Apr 2, 2017, 3:25 PM ]

As FEMA's promulgation of the Incident Command System (ICS) leads to more organizations making use of the system, the "General Message" form (ICS-213) becomes more commonly encountered. As we find that our service of relaying third-party traffic can support not only members of the public but official communiqués of government agencies, we need to be able to transmit these messages. After all, the universally-recognized form helps people to understand what they're seeing. What's not to love?

Earlier forms, including the humble radiogram, have assumed transmission of the document to get it from one place to another. As such, those forms include critical information such as routing and handling instructions, as well as accountability for the process of getting the message to its addressee. Attaching an ICS-213 to email allows for accounting of where and when the message has gone, since email provides that kind of information. But how do you transmit an ICS-213 by radio?

Radio Relay International has introduced its Form 1703-ICS, an ICS-compliant radiogram form!

The most important thing to remember is that we should not confuse form with format. Critically, common format is what allows for interoperability, while form will allow for presentation. It turns out that by recognizing what elements are part of the ICS-213 format and what is needed by the radiogram format, we can combine those elements to create a means to transmit an ICS-213 by radio, while providing the accountability that we look for when handling third-party traffic. (The separation of form from format is what allows the Internet to work: whether you type your message into a form presented by Microsoft Outlook or Google's Gmail, both will go into the Internet Message Format for transmission. We can do exactly the same thing here.)

In our April 2017 training, we will discuss the ICS-213 in detail. We will consider its uses, and we will then look to the Radiogram at the particular features it provides that we need to provide excellent service in transmission by radio. We will conduct examples of originating ICS-213-compliant messages, transmitting them, and delivering them.

Time

April 13, 2017. Join us at 18:00 to meet everyone and get settled. Training will start at 18:30, sharp! We will conclude after about two hours.

Bring your HT, and some printouts of the RRI 1703-ICS!

Location

As usual, we'll hold the training at Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security, 5300 Strawberry Farms Blvd., Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio ARES Conference: "The Changing Face of Traffic Handling"

posted Mar 30, 2017, 2:59 PM by C. Matthew Curtin

ARRL Ohio Section will hold its ARES Conference on Saturday, April 1, 2017. (No joke!)

Starting at 8 A.M., Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers from around the state will gather at Marion Technical College / OSU - Marion Campus, 467 Mt. Vernon Avenue, in Marion. With a program getting underway at 9 A.M., we will consider topics ranging from training to technology, and operations to messaging.

Our own net manager, C. Matthew Curtin KD8TTE will present "The Changing Face of Traffic Handling." In that presentation we will consider handling third party traffic and its role in emergency and disaster response. We will also hear from the president of the Ohio EMA Directors Association on how amateur radio and EMAs can help one another.

If you're interested in attending, please register at http://arrl-ohio.org/SEC/form.html.

RRI-East Status: AWARE

posted Mar 14, 2017, 3:43 AM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Mar 14, 2017, 4:10 AM ]

BULLETIN—RADIO RELAY INTERNATIONAL
Effective 1100Z March 14, 2017

Radio Relay International will be activating for a limited response to the winter storm due to impact the East Coast this evening and tomorrow. This will be a limited operation designed to serve three purposes:

  1. Collect basic situational awareness from Amateur Radio Operators in the affected area.
  2. Exercise and demonstrate our capabilities for served agencies.
  3. Test our abilities to activate and collect data for an emergency event.

Response Procedures

RRI requests the following information to be collected at three hour intervals (as available):

  • Total storm snowfall
  • Wind speed measured/maximum gust in the preceding three hour-period (if available).
  • Any significant infrastructure issues such as closed roads, power outages or the like.

RRI radio operators and others are encouraged to review Section III-A of the Tropical Storm Net Standard Operating Guidelines available at http://www.tropicalstormnet.org/services.html.

A few examples of typical reports might be:

22 P W2ABC 6 PERTH AMBOY NJ  100Z MAR 14
NWS-PHI
MIDDLESEX COUNTY SNOW 650 WIND
47/55
STEVENSON
23 P W2ABC 13 PERTH AMBOY NJ 1400Z MAR 14
NWS-PHI
MIDDLESEX COUNTY SNOW 1120 POWER
OUTAGE AFFECTING PERTH AMBOY EDISON
AND RARITAN NJ
STEVENSON

Please note that the wind speed and barometric pressure noted in the Standard Operating Guidelines are optional.

Frequency/Net Procedures

Reports will be collected via CW at the top of the hour on 7115 kHz (+/- 5 kHz):

0700 EDT (141100Z)
1000 EDT (141400Z)
1300 EDT (141600Z)
1600 EDT (141900Z)

Reports will be collected via voice at the bottom of the hour (half past) on 7235 kHz LSB (+/- 5 kHz):

0730 EDT (141130Z)
1030 EDT (141430Z)
1330 EDT (141630Z)
1600 EDT (141930Z)

Call “RRI” or “Radio Relay International.” For example, on CW: RRI RRI de WB8WKQ QTC 1 P K

Sources of Data

Sources for data include:

Direct observations.
Please note: when measuring snow, three to five measurements of depth should be taken and then averaged to arrive at a value. Measurements in areas protected from high winds and drifting are preferred.
Reliable third party.
This can include observations from EMCOMM members, CERT groups and others.

Please note that there is no restriction preventing delivery of basic weather data to several agencies. For example; a weather or SITREP report can be transmitted via a local Skywarn Net and also the RRI network.

Operations Supervisor

The operations supervisor will be Jeff Miller, WB8WKQ.

END

N8RFT, SK

posted Feb 16, 2017, 4:01 AM by C. Matthew Curtin

We are sorry to report to the net the passing our very own Jim Patterson, N8RFT. An Amateur Extra class licensee, Jim was first licensed in 1991. He joined COTN in 2014, when his radiogram to our roster keeper came through as SET traffic. He jumped in with both feet and served as our Assistant Net Manager in 2015. Since then he regularly served as a net control station and handled local traffic. We'll miss him.

More information is available from Jim's obituary in the Bellefontaine Examiner.

COTN will be sending condolences to Jim's family by card.

Net Control and Liaison Training Thu 9 Feb

posted Feb 5, 2017, 6:28 AM by C. Matthew Curtin   [ updated Feb 5, 2017, 6:30 AM ]

Are you interested in learning how to run a directed net, or act as a liaison between nets? COTN will hold in-person training on these vital skills at the next in-person training session, to be held on Thursday 9 February 2017. We'll begin gathering at 18:00 EST, and get training underway at 18:30 EST.

Whether you are experienced or a novice, training on the skills of net control and net liaison is imperative to functioning well. Most amateur radio nets convened for public service—including traffic nets, ARES, and RACES—are directed nets. The same net structure is used in other avenues of service available to amateur radio operators including the Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS).

We invite you to join us for training. Sessions will be led by Matthew Curtin, KD8TTE. He is COTN Net Manager, and maintains ARRL appointments as Ohio Section Assistant Emergency Coordinator, Official Emergency Station, and Official Relay Station. He regularly relays traffic on COTN, Ohio Single Sideband Net (OSSBN), Indiana Traffic Net (ITN), Eighth Region Net (8RN), and Eastern Area Net (EAN). He is a frequent trainer and lecturer at amateur radio, cybersecurity, and legal conferences throughout the United States. He spent fifteen years as part-time faculty at The Ohio State University in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, most recently as Sr. Lecturer.

Bring writing instruments, your logbook or other notebook, and a 2M HT or mobile if you've got one. Be sure that you can operate your radio on the COTN fallback simplex frequency, 147.51 MHz FM.

Schedule

 18:00 Welcome and introductions. Arrive at or after 18:00. We will monitor the 146.97 repeater for anyone having trouble with directions.
 18:30 Overview of radio nets: Purpose and operation of a directed net.
 18:40 Introduction to net liaison: Purpose and function of liaison.
 18:45 Check-in to Ohio Single Sideband Net, listen for liaison to Central Ohio
 19:15 Check-in to Central Ohio Traffic Net, listen for liaison from OSSBN
 19:50 Break and time to originate traffic
 20:00 Exercise: operation of special session
We will begin with a demonstration, and then have small nets, giving opportunities to act as net control and liaison stations.
 20:30 Wrap up. 

Location

As usual, we'll hold the training at Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security, 5300 Strawberry Farms Blvd., Columbus, Ohio.

New Net Callup and Traffic Assignment Procedures 1 Feb 2017

posted Jan 28, 2017, 4:03 AM by C. Matthew Curtin

From Operations Officer Mike Walker, KE8DLC:

Starting February 1st, after asking for check-ins with traffic only, the Net Control Station will ask for check-ins from Franklin County by quadrants defined by I-70 and I-71. The final call will be for check-in from anyone outside of Franklin County. The Net Control Station will then assign pending traffic to the station closest to the final destination. This will give all stations a chance to get practice in taking traffic and delivering it to the public. If there are any questions, please feel free to ask. Remember that we are a training net and your question would likely help others also.

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