Software Defined Radio

Apps for the Emergency Services community

From Richard, WB4TNH:
Website for apps for the Emergency Services community. ReadyTN is one of the apps listed. Looks like it has a lot of potential.

AppComm is APCO’s Application Community forum where first responders can learn about existing apps, rate and comment on apps, and share thoughts about these new tools.

Learn Winlink!

This is the greatest development in years! It is easy to get started. And there are many RMS sites, VHF and UHF, in our immediate area. This mode should be a mainstay for us, especially in emergencies when the internet may be down. Best source of information:

Additional information (from K4IDK):
Anyone wishing to check-in using Winlink is encouraged to do so when not available at 7PM for the regular net. All you have to do is send me, K4IDK, an email using Winlink by way of any RF mode (packet, winmor, pactor). When doing so, include your power source and the mode that you used when checking in. I will acknowledge receipt of your check-in at some point during the day as I’ll be signing in periodically to check for email, and following the repeater net I will send out an email on Winlink with any/all announcements. This way you will be able to check-in at a time convenient for you and still get any information that was given out during the regular net. The only catch is that you must use an RF mode, meaning that Telnet will not count as a check-in, and you must check-in prior to 6:30 PM so that we will have time to get the roster set for net control.
If you are still learning about Winlink, then please feel free to send me an email via Winlink using Telnet as a training tool and I’ll be more than happy to send you a reply while you gain proficiency in the use of RMS Express. Phil, W4PHS, has an excellent paper that he’s written and kept up to date on Winlink at You can download it and read through it at your leisure. Getting involved in using Winlink using an RF mode is not difficult or expensive, costing about $100 or so for a basic 1200 baud modem for VHF, such as a Tiny Trak 4, or a TigerTronics Signalink sound card for use with winmor when using HF. The same sound card is useful for other modes as well, such as PSK-31 or RTTY. If I can do it, you can as well, as I’m far from a computer guru. Winlink provides us, as an ARES group, the ability to send message traffic in real time devoid of any errors that can occur when passing traffic from station to station using voice and is therefore critically important in emergency communications.

‘SOS,’ ‘CQD’ and the History of Maritime Distress Calls

” ‘SOS,’ ‘CQD’ and the History of Maritime Distress Calls”
by Neal McEwen, K5RW

Future Cell Phones Will Make Emergency Calls Even When the Network Goes Down

See the Scientific American article here.

Yahoo Group – Middle TN ARES

From our Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator for Middle Tennessee, Paul, N4AAN:

“I have been thinking of ways to further enhance communication among ARES membership in Middle Tennessee.  Toward that goal, I have created a Yahoo group,

The group is open to all ARES members in Middle Tennessee.  To join send an E-mail to: or visit the website.  I hope you all choose to join.  It is an excellent tool for keeping informed and for expressing ideas.”

The Future of Shortwave Broadcasting

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting foresees a dim outlook for the medium. The Committee in 2014 released its assessment of the current and projected use of shortwave radio as a platform for programming by US international media.

“United States international media must optimize delivery by audience/market,” one main finding concluded. “While there is still a critical need for shortwave in key countries, it is a medium of marginal and continuously declining impact in most markets.” The report said that even in countries where shortwave radio will enjoys significant usage levels, “audiences will migrate to other platforms as they become more accessible.”
Among other things, the Committee reviewed audience-based research, including analysis of user experiences and user choices, as well as opportunities and limits of the medium. It also examined “the characteristics and listening experience of shortwave users in the BBG’s target markets, the use of shortwave radio by the BBG’s networks, the networks’ relative success in reaching their target audiences through shortwave, and the costs of operating the BBG’s shortwave transmitting facilities.”
The panel recommended that the Broadcasting Board of Governors take “an aggressive approach to reduce or eliminate shortwave broadcasts where there is either minimal audience reach or the audience is not a target audience based on the BBG’s support of US foreign policy.”
The report said that its evidence suggested that declining use of shortwave radio is primarily due to the availability of high-quality content on “preferred platforms” such as AM and FM radio, podcasts, and mobile streaming, which are more widely used for audio consumption.
The committee found that shortwave use does not increase during times of crisis. “Audiences continue to use their existing platforms (TV, FM, and the Internet) or seek out anti-censorship tools, including online firewall circumvention, private chat software, flash drives, and DVDs to access content,” the report said.
The report also said that shortwave radio was “a relatively expensive platform to operate and maintain” and that digital shortwave radio (ie, Digital Radio Mondiale or DRM) “is unlikely to become an established mass media distribution methodology in enough of the BBG’s current or future markets to justify the costs.”
The committee said it largely supports the reductions in shortwave radio broadcasts previously approved by the Board. Those include recent cutbacks in a number of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia broadcasts. But, the committee added that given the current situation in Ukraine and nearby states with significant Russian-speaking populations, it recommended that the BBG revise its fiscal year 2014 operating plan to ensure that “shortwave broadcasts in Russian to Russia and the Caucasus be continued at current levels, subject to re-evaluation during FY16 budget formulation processes.”

Who’s Who in WCARES (K3OL)

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Who’s Who in WCARES (N7BIZ)

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Who’s Who in WCARES (K4MGY)

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