*** UPDATE ***
October 1, 2016 Virginia Section Simulated Emergency Test
September 27, 2016
This is the first ARRL Statewide SET exercise that is being activated in Virginia in several years. We need to do our best in performing this exercise to the best of our abilities. We are not expecting perfection, just doing our best. This is going to be a learning exercise for everyone and our sitrep (Form A) reports will be very valuable to our future success. Please be sure to copy your DEC and the SEC!
Joe Palsa, K3WRY, Virginia Section Manager
September 19, 2016
This is an IMPORTANT OPEN email for ALL VIRGINIA AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS in addition to ALL ARRL members and local governmental agencies.
Over the past 10 years there has been much turmoil in the ARES/RACES Virginia community. As part of this PAST history, there has not been an ARRL Section (State Wide) SET (Simulated Emergency Test) exercise held in Virginia. To the credit of some Amateur Radio operators, they had picked up the ball and established what best can be called a private SET exercise in localized areas, for some of these years.
NOW, it is critical to leave the PAST behind us. The situations and persons involved are LONG GONE. The time has come to re-establish the cooperation of all amateur radio operators and the NEW ARRL yearly SET exercise.
“THIS IS AN IMPORTANT CALL FOR ALL ARRL ARES/RACES, PUBLIC, PRIVATE, EMCOMM AMATEUR RADIO GROUPS AS WELL AS ALL VIRGINIA LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL EMERGENCY COORDINATORS AND AGENCIES”.
Over these years, the involvement of FEMA and Homeland Security has become more pronounced in the training of all ARES groups. This training has evolved to contain all of the recommended FEMA ICS Courses as well as ARRL Courses and some privately offered emergency courses. Very simply said, all basic courses are the same for everyone in Amateur Radio Emergency Communications. More recently Homeland Security has offered limited training on the Federal level for Amateur Radio, identified as EMCOMM. This fulfills the Federal Mandates of Interoperability of Emergency Radio Communications for Amateur Radio.
NOW on OCTOBER 1st, the Virginia Section of ARRL is planning to activate the 2016 SET exercise titled as “HORIZON 16”.
The NEW plan was written by a small committee and is based “upon other proven successful” state ARES groups. It must be understood that this plan, is a living plan, that will change to meet the needs of Virginia amateur radio emergency communications as well as federal guidelines, as necessary, in the future. We will start now in 2016 and adhere to the NEW plan details as best we can and use this first year as a learning experience, by which changes may be made for the future. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated and we will be happy to accept suggestions for consideration of plan improvements after this years exercise.
The plan may be downloaded from the main menu.
Dr. Joe Palsa, K3WRY, Section Manager
Virginia Section District02 EC, WD5DBC - a Marine Corps Marathon volunteer since 1997 - is urging radio amateurs in the Mid-Atlantic area, including Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, West Virginia, and other states to join him on the Marine Corp Marathon course this fall to, as he put it, "participate in The Peoples Marathon." On Sunday, October 30th, Amateur Radio volunteers will provide communication support for the 41st running of the Marine Corp Marathon. The Marathon runs along a scenic route starting near Arlington National Cemetery into Washington, DC past many monuments (hence the nickname "Marathon of the Monuments") back into Virginia finishing after 26.2 miles at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.
Amateur Radio volunteers provide emergency medical and logistics communication support throughout the course, working in concert with the various law enforcement agencies as well as the Arlington, VA and Washington, DC Fire Department Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to aid the more than 25,000 athletes that are expected to take part this year.
"Additional ham radio operators are still needed to staff some points along the course including mile markers, water points, food stops, aid stations as well as some post-finish locations," said MCM Marathon Amateur Radio Communications Director Howard Cunningham, WD5DBC.
Dr. Joe Palsa - K3WRY - SM
Section Theme--- “Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
Well summer is supposed to be gone and fall is arriving. If you believe this comment, you are living not living in the eastern part of the USA. The summer heat and humidity is lingering in many areas.
Hermine was a Tropical Storm storm that became a category 1 hurricane and did most of its damage after making landfall along Florida’s Northern Gulf Coast. We were fortunate that no additional significant weather problems occurred. The Hurricane Watch net (HWN) was activated to gather ground level reports for a total of 19 hours.
We are into the downhill slide of the Hurricane season to the November end date. However, please do not let down your guard as over the history of USA Hurricanes, we have had some of worst storms in the second half of the season.
Our Hamfest season is also winding down with Berryville and Virginia Beach behind us. Our Hamests attendance in 2016 in my estimation was fairly good this year. The influx of new hams being able to see new equipment in person as well as see and learn the history of equipment we have been using for the 100 years, has been an education in itself. It also gave them the opportunity to purchase equipment that still was in good operational condition, inexpensively, and was also good for our ham radio hobby.
The worldwide exposure of Ham Radio for communications in several earthquakes over the last several weeks has once again displayed the value of ham radio providing the life saving and welfare emergency communications anywhere in the world.
The ARRL Virginia Section 2016 SET is scheduled for October 1st. The complete SET plan will be distributed via email to all ARRL members in Virginia within the next few days.
Over the last several years it was very unfortunate that the ARRL SET exercise was not accomplished. In lieu of this, several private EMCOMM groups performed similar exercises in localized areas of the state.
Now in 2016, we are asking all ARES groups as well as all private EMCOMM groups in addition to local government’s Emergency Managers to participate in this SET exercise.
There is no “One Size Fits All” definition of ham radio tools for emergency communications. With this year’s exercise, we hope to identify communications capabilities of all areas of the state along with their local government capabilities. This will then allow a good accounting of who has voice, digital, internet, satellite, etc., capabilities as well their ability to communicate with the Virginia Department of Emergency Services in Richmond. This exercise will utilize the FEMA Interoperability ICS forms. In addition, we will have NWS SKYWARN members participating as part of critical weather reporting capabilities. The subject selected for “the emergency communications” will be a storm known as “HORIZON 16”.
It is of great importance and recognized by Homeland Security and FEMA that all Emergency Communications during any emergency or disaster event that a standardized protocol be developed and followed to allow interoperability between volunteer communicators and organizations and all governmental agencies.
This is why------ WE INVITE ALL EMCOMM groups to participate in this exercise.
Remember, education and training is the only way to learn what to do during an actual emergency. This is why football players, military, police, fire, EMS and many other types of professions train and practice constantly.
Again, I ask all hams to make use of our new ARES Virginia Web site. It contains links to many important ham radio web sites as well full interactive ARES reporting, ARES applications and many other features for old as well as new hams. http://www.aresva.us.
ARES/RACES of VA on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/101756496822770/ is very active and I am pleased to report quite a number of new ARES applications. We are really excited that we are getting applications not only from new hams, but also from experienced older hams.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Be sure and check the Ready Virginia web page for emergency preparedness. https://www.ready.gov/virginia
This page includes what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area.
We have had storms this past month in various parts of the state. Hermine as a Tropical Storm had winds, rain and flooding in the Tidewater and Southeast part of Virginia, did significant residential and commercial damage while offering significant power outages. SKYWARN had been activated in these areas for a significant number of hours. When storms sit in an areas for many hours, the water build up and beach sand losses mount up very quickly and flooding occurs.
For those in the SKYWARN program V 8.0 portal is deployed and working. In addition, we are in Hurricane Season so be sure to check with the National Hurricane Watch Net, www.hwn.org and the VOIP Hurricane Net at http://www.voipwx.net, when you are advised of storms forming.
The NWS Wakefield SKYWARN Amateur radio Support Team announces a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Prince George County ARES and City of Hopewell ARES.
New Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) build a framework for resource sharing between SKYWARN and ARES, resulting in improved mobile and portable coverage for SKYWARN Spotters in the tri-cities area of central Virginia.
Our traffic systems continue to utilize very dedicated hams. Traffic remains steady, but slow. We encourage all hams to learn about the ARRL traffic system as it is still in use during emergencies . Please support your local NTS operators.
NATIONAL PARKS ON THE AIR UPDATE
The ARRL/National parks year long event, is progressing very well. With just a few months to go, more than 495,000 contacts have been made from over 440 of the 485 eligible NPS units. So far 55 of the 59 National Park Service units have been visited by NPOTA Activators. Please check the NPOTA calendar for additional details. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter.
AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT
The House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R.1301 bill. Please continue to support the Senate Version of this bill.
CERTCON 2016 is scheduled for September 24, at the Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus. This conference is the sixth annual conference of the Fairfax County Community Response team in the National Capitol Region. The National Capitol Region is a collection of sovereign jurisdictions, including cities, counties, states and the District of Columbia. The focus of CERTCON 2016 is all about “Back to Basics, Neighbors Helping Neighbors”. Http:/www.fairfaxcountycert.org/
Please Check the ARRL Letter for all ARRL events and meetings.
REMEMBER----Education is the key to your success, both in Ham Radio as well as in your life.
Dr. Joe Palsa - Virginia Section Manager
K3WRY@ARRL.ORG - 804-350-2665