Category: ARES

What to report

Douglas County Amateur Radio Emergency Service is dedicated to public service and support of our served agencies. One of the primary functions in this area is participation as weather spotters. Note that this is the only emergency where self-activation is permitted. Once you hear of severe weather in your area, you should monitor 146.940 and give your report to the Net Control Operator.
If you observe severe weather and there is no net, please use the information you received at spotter training to report directly to the NWS office.

The most important requirement of weather spotting and reporting is SPEED, ACCURACY and VERIFICATION.

SPEED…is needed to offer ample warning time to areas in the path of an impending severe storm. Reporting visual sightings as quickly as possible allows the NWS to expedite the warning process.

With the advancement of the more sophisticated radar, complemented by the visual information of trained SKYWARN spotters, lives and property can be saved not only in your community but also in other counties and communities in the storm’s path.

ACCURACY..is important because the equipment and information available to the NWS are not always sufficient to determine the on site conditions of severe weather. NWS personnel depend on trained local observers (spotters) to identify, report, and verify conditions in their area.

VERIFICATION…is needed after the weather event has passed. Spotters are trained to report any visual items that meet severe storm damage criteria for verification of the NWS warnings. It’s no wonder why the NWS refers to amateur radio weather spotters as “the eyes of the National Weather Service”.

Note that our mission is slightly different that the mission of SKYWARN. The National Weather Service only wants to have reported:

 

TYPE OF EVENT WHEN TO CALL NWS REPORTING CRITERIA/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
TORNADO Always Call Tornado Warning Issued. Look for debris on the ground
FUNNEL CLOUD/ WALL  CLOUD Always Call Look for organized persistent sustained rotation
HAIL Call if Half-inch size or larger** Severe thunderstorm Warning Issued: 1 inch diameter or larger. Always report he largest size hailstone
WIND GUSTS Call if 50 mph or higher Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued: Sustained 40 mph. gusts to 58 mph or greater. Specify esitmate or measurement
HEAVY RAIN/ FLOODING 1.0” rain/hr or greater for urban areas. 1.5” rain/hr or greater for rural areas. Also call 911 for flooding Flash Flood Warning issued: Flooding that impacts roads homes or businesses.
STORM DAMAGE Always Call Damage to structures (roof siding windows etc). Damage to vehicles (from hail or wind). Trees or large limbs down. Power/telephone poles or lines down. Damage to farm equipment machinery. Or any other significant damage.

 

 

 

Winter Field Day

Winter Field Day, sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association (WFDA) , and takes place the last full weekend in January.  For 2019 that will be Janurary  26th and 27th.   

“Don’t let those winter doldrums keep you locked up in the house,” the WFDA says. “Get out and play some radio!” The WFDA said it believes that maintaining operating skills should not be limited to fair-weather scenarios.   

There are three entry categories — indoor, outdoor, and home. The rule are similar to those for ARRL Field Day. Operation will take place on all HF bands except 12, 17, 30, and 60 meters, as well as on VHF, UHF, and satellite. The event runs 24 hours. Starting at 1:00 pm CDT on Saturday and running to 1:00 pm on Sunday.   US and Canadian stations exchange call sign, operating category, and ARRL or RAC section.

The Omaha Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) will be participating in Winter Field Day from the local EDS building at 10629 Burt Circle and invites all interested amateur radio operators to participate with them.     At this point everything is still in the planning phase, but so far the plan is to operate as in the Indoor category with at least 2 HF stations one voice station and one digital stations.  The stations will run off of generator and battery power.      Hours of operation will depend on band conditions and the number of participants to work those late night hours.   

If you’d like to participate send an email to winterfd@aksarbenarc.org 
 

FM Hand Held Radio Front Panel Programming

It’s happened or will happen to every amateur radio operator who’s been involved in public service or emergency communications for a while: you get to the drill or event site and your radio isn’t programmed correctly.  You find out the repeater you’ll be using has a CTCSS tone to access it now, or you have the wrong offset, or you don’t even have that frequency in your radio.   NOW WHAT???

With new feature rich radios many of us do not know how to program a radio without a laptop and programming cable, but in the field you may not always have access to those things.    To help use be better able to communicate in those situations,  SATERN will be hosting a “Hand Held Front Panel Programming” class.    – You do not have to be registered with ARES or SATERN to attend.

The class will be held Saturday, February 9th at 1:00 pm at the Salvation Army EDS building at 10629 Burt Circle in Omaha.    So that we are better prepared to assist you, you will need to bring your HT with a fully charged battery and the radio’s manual.    We also ask that you register at this link and let us know that you will be coming :

https://tinyurl.com/y9he2etc

DO NOT BRING THE PROGRAMMING CABLE OR SOFTWARE!  We will not be assisting with computer programming of the radio.

We will go over

  • setting frequencies
  • setting repeater offset and direction
  • setting squelch tones
  • writing to a memory
  • selecting a memory
  • locking and unlocking the radio
  • adjusting volume and squelch

Because of special requirements for P25, DMR, D-Star, Fusion and other digital modes, we will only be covering standard analog FM programming for your radios for this session.

Amateur Radio Disaster Preparedness

You must make sure you’re personally prepared for a disaster before you can even consider helping with Amateur Radio. If you are preoccupied with personal matters, you won’t be able to help us. To be ready for disaster communications, do the following:

  • Register with your local ARES group.
    • This registration helps the ARES leadership know the number of potential volunteers and their capabilities should we be called up on to provide communications services.
  • Train regularly with your local ARES group.
    • How you train today, determines how you perform tomorrow.  Attending training, participating in ARES nets, and community service activities help you lean how to be a good communicator when there are fewer distractions.  During emergency and disaster responses, the familiarity of the net routine will help keep the frequencies and communications clear.
    • Being known to your ARES leadership is also important.   They will be making decisions as to what your assignments are.   The more familiar they are with your level of training and other skill sets, the better fit can be made.
  • Have a personal/family disaster plan.
    • If you are distracted by your home situation, you will not be a valuable asset during a response.   Take care of your own first!
  • Have all resource materials you need in printed form.
    • Don’t depend on downloading your radio manual or ID from the internet.  Computers, smart phones, etc may not work during a disaster, they require electricity for charging and are relatively fragile.
  •  Practice doing things such as calling nets and handling traffic the pencil-and-paper way once in a while. Remember, you are you may not be able to spare the amp-hours or the table space to run a computer.
  • Have an Amateur Radio “go-kit” ready to supplement your personal “go kit”.
  • Upgrade your license.
    •  Many disaster communications assignments require HF privileges to move messages in and out of the disaster area.

ICS for Amateur Radio

On Thursday April 26, at 7:00 pm Metro/Douglas County ARES and the Omaha Metropolitan Medical Response Communications Training Committee will host a training overview on the Incident Command System and how it applies to Amateur Radio Communications Volunteers.   This training will not replace the  FEMA  IS-100.b online course  but it will give you a basis for understanding the system that we will be asked to work within.  If you have taken the IS-100.b , this program will help explain how amateur radio fits into the plan.

The Class will be held at Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Building at 10629 Burt Circle in Omaha.   The building will open at 6:45 pm and the course will start at 7:00 pm.

To ensure that we have materials and seating  available for everyone who wants to attend, we asked that you sign up so we know you are coming:

Amateur Radio and the Incident Command System Registration

Please note, that all ARES Volunteers, should have the following FEMA Independent Study Courses:
IS-100.b
IS-200.b 
IS-700.a
IS-800.c

If you have taken an early version, you do not need to take the newer version.

No one is compelled to take these courses, however many of the agencies we work with required these courses for the employees and volunteers.  You may not be able to help if you have not taken these courses.  Make sure you save the certificate when you have completed them.   These same agencies may require additional training (example, to be placed, storm spotters need to have completed the annual training at least every two years)

 

 

 

 

Advanced Spotter Training

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED – All Seats are Spoken For!

Are you a SKYWARN spotter?  Have you attended a spotter training class in 2017 or 2018?  Then…
Douglas County ARES has arranged with Brian Smith, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service to present an Advanced Weather Spotting class for trained spotters in the Omaha Metro Area.  This training only happens every few years and covers more than the annual spotter training.

The Advanced Spotter training will be held on Thursday April 19th, 2018 at 7:00 pm at  Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services 10629 Burt Circle Omaha NE.

Attendees must have had in person spotter training in 2017 or 2018.

There is Limited Seating for this event.  To ensure seating,  attendees must sign up using the following link

https://tinyurl.com/advanced-spotter

The registration form will automatically close when the seating limit is reached.

FEMA Courses

IS-100.b – Introduction to Incident Command System

Introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Revised 10/12/2010.

IS-200.b – ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
ICS 200.a is designed to enable personnel to operate efficiently during an incident or event within the Incident Command System (ICS). It provides training on and resources for personnel who are likely to assume a supervisory position within the ICS. Revised 10/12/2010.

IS-700.a – National Incident Management System (NIMS)
NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and non-governmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents. Revised 12/22/2008.

IS-800.b – National Response Framework, An Introduction
This course introduces participants to the concepts and principles of the National Response Framework. Revised 10/12/2010.

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