ETH032 – What is Going on Lately?!


Hello everybody and welcome back to the Everything Ham Radio Podcast! In this episode we are going to be talking about some things that have been happening lately. We are going to learn what the Amateur Radio Emergency Services(ARES) is and talk about the Hellgate Amateur Radio club in the Amateur Radio Club Spotlight.

LA Flood

Brad Kieserman, the Vice President of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross, called the flooding disaster “the worst to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy, and we anticipate it will cost at least $30 million – a number which may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.”

According to estimates, more than 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of residents displaced. The flooding also left 13 people dead. As of early today, August 20, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was reporting that about 3100 evacuees remained in Red Cross shelters. The Louisiana Emergency Operations Center remains at full activation, and more than p2800 National Guard personnel have been conducting flood relief operations around the clock.

In an August 20 (2116 UTC) status update on Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) operations in Louisiana, Assistant Section Manager Matt Anderson, KD5KNZ, said that Louisiana ARES is in the process of deactivating from the recent flood response, and the need for volunteers has ended

“All ARES personnel should preleased by this evening,” said Anderson, who has been currently serving as the Incident Point of Contact in Baton Rouge.

Amateur Radio volunteers from Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi volunteered to serve at multiple Red Cross chapters and shelters throughout the affected area.

The calamity struck quickly and ferociously. In one part of Livingston Parish, more than 31 inches of rain fell in 15 hours. 6,900,000,000,000 (6.9 trillion) gallons of rain in one week

California RACES and CERT Volunteers Team Up to Assist Seniors during Blackout


When the power went out on June 4 at both the Huntington Gardens and Five Points senior residences in Huntington Beach, California, Huntington Beach RACES (HBRACES) and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers promptly activated to help. Each residential structure stands 14 stories tall. At Huntington Gardens, a generator supplied power to the hallways and elevators, but not to individual living units or telephones; residents had no way of calling 911 if an emergency occurred. At Five Points, which has no back-up generator, the facility was left in complete darkness.

RACES Radio Officer Dr Steve Graboff, W6GOS, and his assistant, Steve Albert, KE6OCE, started a 2 meter net and logged in available communicators. Operators checked into the net were advised to proceed to the staging at Huntington Beach City Hall.

“[T]he response to the call to activation by HBRACES was impressive,” Graboff said. “The professional communications skills displayed by the operators were outstanding. The quality of HBRACES training was clearly evident in all of our responders, including those deployed in the field and others who were assigned to the incident command post.”

HBRACES communicators paired with a Huntington Beach CERT responder, and each team assigned to a floor of the two facilities to cover communication and emergency calls. This marked the first time Huntington Beach RACES and CERT members were deployed in pairs.

The volunteers patrolled the floors of the buildings in the dark, looking and listening for people in need of help, or for anyone who might take advantage of the situation. Residents thus had direct communication with the Huntington Beach Fire and Police departments. Graboff said that having both organizations working together created a safer environment for the volunteers, since they were not alone. The Red Cross dispatched a canteen vehicle to support the volunteers with snacks and coffee.

“RACES and CERT worked well together, and I believe this is a response model we will use again in the future,” Graboff said.Some 60 volunteers turned out, and several residents of the affected facilities thanked the RACES and CERT volunteers for being there. One resident said afterward that knowing the volunteers were in the hallway was the only thing that allowed her to sleep that night. The cause of the power failure was traced to a chain reaction fire/explosion in area underground utility vaults. — Thanks to Bob Zamalin, WA6VIP, via the ARRL ARES E-Letter


The ARRL News

What is the Amateur Radio Emergency Services(ARES)?

ARES is an organization started by the ARRL that consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur is eligible to apply for ARES membership.

There or four levels to the ARES organization: national, section, district, and local. The national level is handled by the ARRL membership and volunteer program manager. At the section level the section manager is the elected by members in his or her section. They, in turn, appoint a section emergency coordinator who is responsible for all ARES activities in his or her section. The section emergency coordinator also appoints district and local emergency coordinators. At the district level, the district emergency coordinators can be appointed to handle a large area such as several counties or a portion of the section emergency coordinators area. The local level is the most organized of all the levels, in most cases. The local level is the level that has the most interactions with the ARES mepmbership in the area and also with the local emergency management personnel. Assistant emergency coordinators can also be assigned to assist the section, district, for local emergency coordinator. They can be assigned specific tasks or just assist the emergency coordinator.

Local ARES operations usually take the form of nets –HF, VHF/UHF repeater nets, RTTY, packet, were other special mode nets. If you are a member of your local ARES organization, make sure that you let your leadership know what your interest are so that they can better utilized your assistance. If you are great with working with computers, then you could be of use at the EOC. If you were well under pressure, then you could be a net control operator.

Traffic handling is a very important part of our job as communicators. During an ARES operation, messages are passed using the RadioGram format of the National Traffic System. It is important to use this format when passing traffic because it keeps a record of the message, it is more concise which makes its faster when done correctly, and it’s easier to copy because the receiving station knows the order of the information that they are receiving therefore resulting in fewer errors and less repeats. Traffic handling is required training for all ARES members.

Pre-disaster planning is also an important part of the ARES organization. Planning before a disaster happens allows the organization to identifying those who may need amateur radio communications. After they are identified, you need to find out what the nature of the information they will need to communicate and who they will need to communicate with. Once all this information is obtained, drills should be done to make sure that everything is done correctly before a disaster happens.



The 100th anniversary of the National Park Service — known as Founders Day — is August 25. NPS units across the country have planned special activities on that day. Many units also will include Amateur Radio and NPOTA activity during all of next week. One of these will be Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont, where some ARRL staffers will team up with members of the West River Radio Club on Saturday, August 27, to help showcase the NPS unit and Amateur Radio to the general public. Unless you’re visiting an NPS unit next week as part of the official Centennial celebration, stay close to your radio and see how many NPOTA units you can work!

There are 39 Activations slated for the week of August 18-24, including Fort Frederica National Monument in Georgia, and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site in Virginia.

Details about these and other upcoming activations can be found on the NPOTA Activations calendar.

Keep up with the latest NPOTA news on Facebook Follow NPOTA on Twitter (@ARRL_NPOTA).


The ARRL Letter


FEMA Teaming with Amateur Radio Clubs to Present Preparedness Information:


September is National Preparedness Month. As part of its focus on educating and getting prepared, FEMA is offering a “Family Emergency Communications Plan,” which helps families work out their communication strategies in the event of an emergency. ARRL is partnering with FEMA to offer this material to interested Amateur Radio clubs that are willing to present it in their localities during National Preparedness Month.

While the FEMA presentation focuses on the Family Communications Plan and doesn’t specifically mention ham radio, the material offers Amateur Radio clubs a great opportunity to raise their visibility in their communities.

A webinar with FEMA Region 1 Preparedness Liaison Sara Varela will take place on Tuesday, August 23, at 8 PM EDT (Wednesday, August 24, at 0000 UTC), to offer background and training for any club wishing to present FEMA’s Family Emergency Communications Plan material in September. Registration is requested.

Presentation of the FEMA material to local communities should take approximately 1 hour. It will include a PowerPoint presentation and links to worksheets that families can discuss and fill out together.

Clubs are free to offer additional presentations on their activities following the program covering the FEMA material.


The ARRL Letter

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Amateur Radio Club Spotlight

Hellgate Amateur Radio Club



This club has a very interesting history. It started in 1930 as the Missoula Amateur Radio Club with 19 charter members. They have one member, Bob Williams W7IPB, that has been an active member of the club since 1957!! That is a long time!

The club call sign was the call sign of a long outstanding member of the club, Phil Coulter. After he became a silent key, the club approached his daughter requesting that she allow the club to apply for it as the club call sign as a way to honor his memory. She agreed and the FCC granted the club the license in mid 1986. It has been the the club call sign ever since.

In December 1983, WA1JXN/7 (now W7GJ) , Lance Collister became the first amateur radio operator in the world to communicate with an astronaut in space.  Lance communicated with W5LFL , Dr. Owen Garriot while the Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-9, orbited the earth 250 nautical miles above the western Pacific.  The antenna, a home brew “moon bounce” two-meter array of 12 yagis.


  • Meetings are held on the second Monday of every month at the Missoula Fire House #4 at 3011 Latimer Street (near Murdoch’s – the old Quality Supply) at 7 p.m. Testing starts at 5:30 p.m. The December meeting is a Christmas dinner at the Eagles Lodge on South Avenue.
  • Saturday Breakfast – Saturday morning finds area hams jawing over coffee, eggs, pancakes and toast at the a local Restaurant. We will now meet at Paradise Falls at 7:00 a.m., 3621 Brooks Street in Missoula.


Repeaters and Nets

Monthly Newsletters


  • The Grizzly Triathlon
  • The Riverbank Run
  • Tour of the Swan River Valley (TOSRV)
  • Field Day
  • July 4 at the Fort – W7PX Special Event
  • Missoula Marathon July
  • Scouts Jamboree On The Air
  • SKYWARN Recognition Day


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Until next time…

73 de Curtis, K5CLM


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