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HURRICANE IRMA EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS GUIDANCE

posted Sep 7, 2017, 12:56 PM by C. Matthew Curtin
Notice to Radio Relay International Volunteers:

In anticipation of a significant hurricane impacting the Southeastern United States and surrounding areas, we are taking the following steps:

1.      A partial mobilization will take place effective on Friday, September 8 at 1200Z (8:00-AM EDT), with RRI volunteers asked to provide liaison between Radio Relay International and both the Hurricane Watch Net and the SATERN Net.

2.      A duty roster is being assembled to ensure coverage of the Radio Relay International IATN frequencies. These frequencies are identified in our National Communications Emergency Response Plan and are referenced in a latter portion of this document. We may delay activation of the watch (QSX) function until the likely hurricane path is better defined and communications needs are specified. In the meantime, IATN operators and others are asked to voluntarily monitor these frequencies when available.

RRI volunteers or other experienced traffic operators are asked to register for these liaison/function slots, which are broken into either two or three-hour shifts throughout each day from 1200Z to 0400Z. The sign-up schedule may be found at:

www.signupschedule.com/jwades

One will note that three different functions (“events”) are scheduled on September 8, 9 and 10 respectively. These are:
  • Liaison between the Hurricane Watch Net and Radio Relay International
  • Liaison between the SATERN Net and Radio Relay International
  • Standing watch (QSX) on the IATN (emergency) frequencies.

Please select the function/events and day(s) on which you can be of service. We respectfully ask that all those who can assist please do so to ensure complete coverage of these functions. While it’s tempting to “leave it to the other guy,” this is not the time to do so. One can sign up for multiple slots and some functions, such as liaison to a net and monitoring the IATN frequencies can be done simultaneously.

We have created only one volunteer slot for each function. However, other RRI volunteers are encouraged to monitor these nets and IATN frequencies as available to complement this basic coverage.

Voice Nets:

At the present time, RRI does not plan to activate any special voice networks beyond the state and region voice networks already in place in the affected area. Furthermore, several good voice options already exist in the form of wide-coverage independent nets operating on 20 and 40 meters, including the aforementioned “Hurricane Watch Net” and the SATERN Net. We feel it would be best to support these latter nets through effective liaison to RRI, thereby allowing record message traffic to be transferred to the RRI national messaging layer.

Ideally, liaison stations should have the ability to access RRI networks using either voice, CW or the RRI Digital Traffic Network via the Digital Traffic Station (DTS) function.

CW Nets:

As mentioned earlier, the IATN frequencies will be monitored if necessary. These CW circuits can be used to expedite the flow of traffic out of the disaster area, between areas or they may be used in the absence of an active section-level network.

We respectfully ask that these frequencies be kept clear of any unnecessary communications. Those wishing to clear operational message traffic, situation reports or health and welfare traffic are asked to call “RRI” on the primary or secondary frequency. For example:

“RRI RRI de K8QMN QTC 1 W PAN K”

The IATN emergency frequencies are as follows:

Day: Primary: 14115 kHz CW / Secondary: 10115 kHz CW
Night: Primary: 7115 kHz CW / Secondary: 10115 kHz CW

Please keep in mind that Cycle 4 routine nets will be operational throughout the evening on both 80 and 40-meters. In the absence of state/section net facilities, or in the event a local or state net is overloaded, one is at liberty to inject traffic into any available traffic net within range.

Digital Traffic Network:

The Radio Relay International Digital Traffic Network operates 24/7/365. Digital Traffic Stations are asked to monitor the unfolding hurricane situation and increase the frequency of traffic download for their state to ensure incoming traffic is cleared expeditiously.

Those originating traffic via DTN are reminded that all traffic MUST have a zip code for proper routing.

Official Requests for Support or Activation:

Radio Relay International networks are available to support local and statewide operations in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma. In keeping with our standard policy, any net manager or emergency communications program manager (EC, RO, etc.) may request activation of Radio Relay International networks to support statewide, regional or national communications functions. During this operation, the primary and secondary points of contact for activation are, respectively:

Jeff Miller (WB8WKQ)
Eastern Area Coordinator
5763 Lake George Rd.
Dryden, MI. 48428
jeff.miller@radio-relay.org

James Wades (WB8SIW)
National Emergency Communications Coordinator
810 Skyline Dr.
Marion, IL. 62959
269-650-0215

All that is necessary is to get a message to either the primary and secondary contact to arrange support operations. The Radio Relay International Digital Traffic Network (DTN) remains available 24 hours a day for emergency communications support. Likewise, assigned watch frequencies can be assigned for voice or CW operation based on our National Emergency Communications Response Plan.

National SOS Radio Network:

RRI’s National SOS Radio Network may prove of value in this emergency. This program leverages the ubiquitous Family Radio Service (FRS) walkie-talkie as an emergency communications tool during situations in which regular cellular or terrestrial telecommunications services are unavailable.

Radio amateurs are encouraged to monitor FRS channel 1 using a suitable UHF-FM transceiver tuned to 462.5625 mHz for emergency calls from citizens isolated by flood waters or other disaster conditions. A citizen can insert a few fresh AA batteries in an FRS walkie-talkie, tune to channel one, move to the highest possible location and call for assistance. The radio amateur then responds and relays his message to emergency services or, in the case of a disaster welfare message, transfers that message to RRI networks for routing and delivery.

National SOS Radio Network Public Service Announcement (PSA) files are available at our web page for distribution to news media, such as radio and television stations. Simply download the file or provide the link for broadcast purposes. A thirty and sixty second spot are available at:

http://radio-relay.org/emcomm/national-sos-radio-network/

Search and rescue teams, local EMCOMM groups and similar units equipped with Amateur Radio Service communications are encouraged to monitor FRS channel one (462.5625 mHz) to support and relay possible local distress calls.

More information about Radio Relay International and the National SOS Radio Network is available at our web page: www.radio-relay.org

Point of contact for inquiries regarding the National SOS Radio Network is:

Joe Ames (W3JY)
610-715-3501
joseph.ames@radio-relay.org

 END

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