Winlink Thursday #3 with the American Red Cross

Again this year, the American Red Cross (ARC) will be conducting Emergency Communications (EmComm) training drills and exercises using Winlink.

(* This event counts towards WCARES participation requirements )

A groups.io group has been set up for announcements and information:

https://groups.io/g/ARC-EmComm-Training

You can join that group or simply access the messages using the Message History calendar at the bottom of the page linked above.

The third exercise for 2021 is Thursday, Jan. 21st and is related to last week’s ARC-213 form. You can find all the details in groups.io message #11 . Note the request to include the words THIS IS A DRILL in the title of this and any other form used during these practice sessions.

The second exercise for 2021 was Thursday, Jan. 14th and was slightly more involved than the first requiring copying and sending an ARC-213 form. You can find all the details in of groups.io message #10 .

The first exercise for 2021 was Thursday, Jan. 7th and the straight-forward instructions were provided in a PDF document linked from the bottom of groups.io message #9 .

Here is the announcement from Mike Walters, W8ZY, CT ARES SEC:


Well, we’ve pulled through 2020 and are ready to resume our popular Winlink Thursday exercises. Our goal for these sessions is to help you learn more about Winlink and how it can be used to support emergency communications for the American Red Cross.

In January, we will repeat the exercises we did last fall as 4 weekly exercises to review and practice the skills identified for a Basic Operator. Beginning in February, we will shift to a monthly exercise on the second Thursday of the month to help prepare operators for the May 8th exercise.

Each week in January, you will receive an email notification from the ARC-EmComm-Training groups.io with directions for that week’s exercise. You can send your message at any on the Thursday listed for the exercise. Our divisional clearinghouses will then collect and process the messages with an acknowledgment and results made available that weekend

Our exercises are designed to introduce you to the concept of sending email using radio where traditional internet is not available. Sending a digital message can improve efficiency and accuracy when passing traffic in an emergency. To get started you will need to install the Winlink software on your computer. You will also need a way to get the message from your computer to your radio. A Terminal Node Controller (TNC) like those from Kantronics, if you have a packet node nearby, or a sound card interface like the SignaLink can be purchased to make this connection.

To help guide you through downloading, installing and using Winlink, there are many video tutorials available on the internet. We have listed several videos and other resources in the Winlink Proficiency Goals found in the General Information Folder on the shared Google drive. In that same folder, you will find a map of Red Cross Divisions and a table listing the Winlink Tactical address for each division’s clearinghouse. These addresses are used for collecting the training messages that are sent as part of Winlink Thursday and the May general exercise.

We encourage everyone to make use of available RF gateways when possible. If you are not able to access a Winlink gateway via RF, feel free to participate using Telnet. While it is best to be able to send your traffic over the air, it is fine to use Telnet to become familiar with Winlink and be able to navigate the software.

Attached is our first Winlink Thursday (WT) exercise of 2021. In this exercise, you will complete a Winlink Check-In form and send it to your Divisional Clearinghouse. Refer to the map in the General Information Folder on the shared Google drive to find the Winlink Tactical address for your division. It is important to follow the directions and fill in the fields as directed. This will allow our divisions to extract information from the check-in form some what automatically.

If you have difficulties or questions, we have a team of volunteers available to assist. Send your questions to winlinktech@redcross.org and one of our WInlink Elmers will get back to you.


AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox 1E Deployed into target orbit (update 6)

Updated 2021-JAN-17 17:17 CST – Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl released LauncherOne for launch at 1:38 PM CST from the racetrack off Long Beach.
At 4:28 PM Virgin Orbit tweeted:

Payloads successfully deployed into our target orbit! We are so, so proud to say that LauncherOne has now completed its first mission to space, carrying 9 CubeSat missions into Low Earth Orbit for our friends @NASA.

From ANS-017 AMSAT News Service Weekly News Bulletin:

<…>
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-017.01
ANS-017 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 017.01
From AMSAT HQ Washington, DC
January 17, 2021
To All RADIO AMATEURS
BID: $ANS-017.01

RadFxSat-2 Launch Delayed Until Sunday, January 17, 2021

Virgin Orbit announced a new launch date of No Earlier Than (NET) Sunday, January 17, 2021
with additional windows in January if needed. The specific window is 10:00 to 14:00 PST
(1800 to 2200 UTC). Virgin Orbit seems to be using its Twitter account to make their
public announcements, so that may be worth watching at https://twitter.com/Virgin_Orbit.

AMSAT does not have preliminary TLE for the upcoming launch. If you are hoping to snag the
first contact, Jerry Buxton, N0JY, AMSAT VP – Engineering suggests checking the
nasabare.text TLE just prior to launch, maybe thirty-minutes after launch or until they
are posted.

[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information.]
<…>

Via ARRL News and additional links:

SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS001
ARLS001 AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox 1E Set to Launch

ZCZC AS01
QST de W1AW
Space Bulletin 001 ARLS001
>From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT January 12, 2021
To all radio amateurs

SB SPACE ARL ARLS001
ARLS001 AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox 1E Set to Launch

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne is a go for launch on Wednesday, January
13, at 1500 UTC
, carrying the AMSAT/Vanderbilt RadFXSat-2/Fox-1E
CubeSat into space.

The LauncherOne vehicle will carry 10 other satellites.
RadFXSat-2/Fox-1E carries an inverting linear transponder, with
uplink at 145.860 MHz – 145.890 MHz, and downlink at 435.760 MHz –
435.790 MHz.

Telemetry will downlink on 435.750 MHz. More information is on the
Space Launch Now website at,
https://spacelaunchnow.me/launch/launcherone-launch-demo-2/ .
NNNN
/EX

Additional links related to RadFxSat 2 Fox 1E including frequencies:

ANS-0103 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Jan. 10, 2021

https://amsat-uk.org/2020/12/03/launch-window-for-amsat-radfxsat-2-fox-1e/
https://www.amsat.org/foxtelem-software-for-windows-mac-linux/

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/smallsat/2019/all2019/55/
https://www.nanosats.eu/sat/radfxsat-2
http://www.arrl.org/news/launch-window-for-amsat-s-radfxsat-2-fox-1e-opens-on-december-19


Jan 2021 Virtual Monthly Meeting: Hospital Net, Winter Field Day and Vacation Shack Tour!

Our EC, Ed WB4RHQ dropped in briefly before travelling to the all-day ARRL Board Meeting – virtually on the other computer.

Presentations & Shack Tour!

Today Trey, KI4ZIN gave a presentation on the Hospital Net, discussing the organizations and people involved along with how and when the net is conducted. The net takes place primarily on the MTEARS UHF linked repeater system and provides backup communications options for facilities and primary communications in the event of an emergency. Trey also mentioned they are always looking for new volunteers to help out. Get in touch with Trey or use the Contact form on the website if you are interested in getting involved.

Cliff, N4CCB ran through a more detailed overview of Winter Field Day this year – expect to hear more from Cliff in future WCARES Notes e-mails and keep an eye on the Event Calender:

https://wcares.org/events/event/winter-field-day-2021/

Garry, W9WHF gave us a Virtual Shack Tour of his vacation setup and discussed the antennas, the radio gear and the challenge of salt coating pretty much everything. As this is a temporary spot he needed to be sure to leave it better than he found it which required some creative solutions, particularly with 4 radios and 4 antennas! The discussion about low power supply voltage at the radio due to corrosion will be of interest to anyone, even without the salt air.

Hospital Net – Trey Spain, KI4ZIN

https://youtu.be/AsQ93aLDIOU

Winter Field Day 2021 – Cliff Batson, N4CCB

https://youtu.be/gEfw8C741EI

Virtual Ham Shack Tour # 7 – Garry Decker, W9WHF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK1MFQR81mI

These and other presentations will now always be listed under the new:

Library & Special Interests --> Presentations

section of the website.


WCARES.org – website updates
    Jan 01-03, 2021

Here’s a list of the some of the new and expanded pages on the website that you might like to explore:

Frequencies and Nets

  • The Frequencies and Nets page and the WCARES Frequencies list in the sidebar have been updated to add the new WCARES DMR repeaters.

Library & Special Interests --> Books References Guides

Library & Special Interests --> Presentations

Library & Special Interests --> Special Interests --> DIY & Kit Building

Frequencies and Nets --> NOAA Weather Radio (NWR)

Frequencies and Nets --> Nets


Filtered Out! – a filter for 650 kHz by Doug, W4DML (more updated pics!)

Doug, W4DML was having trouble with WSM AM 650 interfering with the 17m band of his uBITX v6 radio.

No stranger to radio hardware and filter design, Doug designed a notch filter to deal with the problem.

Doug designed the filter using Elsie software from Tonne Software ( http://tonnesoftware.com/elsie.html ), creating a notch filter to block WSM on 650 kHz. The program gives values for capacitors that do not exist so he substituted available capacitor values close to the calculated values. The inductors are wound to the revised calculated value. Doug settled on 0.01 uF caps and 6 uH toroidal. The toroids are T68-7 with 34 turns of copper wire (magnet wire). Doug notes that the wire gauge does not control the inductance and used 22 gauge.

Doug shared some photos of the design and build and a short video demonstrating the results:

Here is a screenshot of the filter schematic in the Elsie program (Doug says the student version is sufficient for the kinds of ham radio filters he designs.) (click on the images to see larger versions)

along with a plot of the design using the Elsie software:

After wiring up the design:

… the spectrum analyzer with tracking generator confirms prototype:

Doug’s comment on the analyzer plot above:

The [plot above] shows the marker at 640 KHZ at the top of the photo and the marker pointer is on 640 instead of at the bottom of the dip in the notch. This is because of the scaling of the marker. It skips several KHZ between each movement of the adjustment dial. The next click up is 680 and the next click down is 620. I could have set the stop frequency to a lower frequency and this would give more resolution in the marker. I think it was more important to show the stop frequency of 30 MHZ in order show the minimal loss on other frequencies in most HF radios.

Here is the plot displaying about 2MHz:

The filter can be evaluated with a relatively inexpensive Nanovna as well:

Doug finaly transfered the prototype to a box with connectors:

This video ( https://youtu.be/0ycqMaBs2CA ) demonstrates just how well the filter works:

No more WSM interference!

Doug has designed and built a number of other filters as well:

Thanks Doug for taking the time to share the details of this build.

Be sure to check out Doug’s Virtual Ham Shack Tour, #6 along with other videos Cliff, N4CCB has under the WCARES Media channel on Youtube. Thanks Cliff!


Middle Tennessee NOAA Weather Radio Transmitters are Back On the Air

Relayed by Laura, N4CLO – NOAA NWR Public Information Statement:


https://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&product=PNS&issuedby=OHX


000
NOUS44 KOHX 302152
PNSOHX
TNZ005>011-023>034-056>066-075-077>080-093>095-310000-

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Nashville TN
352 PM CST Wed Dec 30 2020

…All NOAA Weather Radio Transmitters are Back On the Air…

All NOAA Weather Radios transmitters across Middle Tennessee are now
back on the air.

Thank you for your patience. We apologize for any inconvenience
this outage may have caused.

$$

Shamburger

Note: you can find links to NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio information including Public Information Statements here: https://wcares.org/noaa-weather-radio/


WCARES Status – Final update from AT&T on Outage Recovery

Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 5:50 p.m. CST

AT&T website, final update Tuesday, December 29, 2020, 5:30 p.m. CST
https://about.att.com/pages/disaster_relief/nashville.html

This will be our final update. We want to thank our customers for their patience as we have worked to restore service after this devastating explosion. We also give thanks to the first responders who have been tireless in their efforts to investigate the bombing and secure the area.

The local utility has made repairs so we can begin to restore commercial power to our building. Our second generator is online and providing power. We are in the process of activating the last of the remaining wireline equipment this afternoon. As we make the transition back to normal operations, we will continue to make repairs to the building and keep our equipment running. We will have significant resources on site as needed until the building is fully restored.

For customers who need additional assistance, they should contact our customer care teams at 1-800-288-2020 or by dialing 611 from their mobile devices.

AT&T will waive overage charges for affected customers
https://about.att.com/newsroom/2020/nashvillerelief.html

Xfinity WIFI and Wifi available from businesses
To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected after today’s explosion in downtown Nashville, Comcast is reminding residents that its network of public Xfinity WiFi hotspots is available for anyone to use, including non-Xfinity customers, for free.

Comcast opened its network across the country at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and has already committed to keeping it open through June of 2021.

For a map of public Xfinity WiFi hotspots, which are located both indoors and outdoors in places such as shopping districts, parks and businesses, visit Xfinity.com/wifi. Once in range of a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Xfinity internet customers can sign in with their usernames and passwords, and they will be automatically connected to Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the future. Non-Xfinity internet subscribers should visit the “Not an Xfinity Internet Customer” section on the sign-in page to get started. Non-customers can renew their free sessions every two hours.

More information is also available here: https://xfinity.com/learn/internet-service/wifi

Some businesses also offer free Wifi; for example, we have a report that the Dunkin Donuts in Fairview is one such location with operational Wifi.

ARRL News release on the WCARES and MTEARS nets
https://wcares.org/2020-dec-arrl-ares-news-wcares-standby/ Original ARRL article is here.

NWS Public Information Statement (contains county emergency numbers):
https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/wx/afos/p.php?pil=PNSOHX

HubNashville link to 2nd Avenue explosion information and assistance:
https://hub.nashville.gov/s/request-type/a0ut0000001GMMtAAO/2nd-avenue-explosion-information-and-assistance?language=en_US

Williamson County EMA and Office of Public Safety
Williamson Co. Office of Public Safety
https://twitter.com/WCTNEMA

AUXCOMM of TN – Action Requested – tracking status of Tennessee communication infrastructure
https://wcares.org/2020-dec-26-auxcomm-1400/

The WCARES net is not in full activation but Net Control operators are monitoring, both to take reports of continuing outage or re-establishment of service and to read pertinent information over the air for those without Internet access.

WCARES can been reached via the Contact Us form: https://wcares.org/contact/

Our Regional Frequencies page, https://wcares.org/repeater-network/mtears-frequencies/ includes a list of regional frequencies and links to ARES groups and radio clubs in neighboring counties.

Middle Tennessee Electric Co-operative Outages: https://www.mtemc.com/Outages





AUXCOMM TN – Action requested – updated Dec 28, 2020

From AUXCOMM of TN, Elizabeth St. Vincent, K4KTG


WIDEST DISSEMINATION REQUESTED – PLEASE SHARE THIS EMAIL WITH AMATEUR RADIO COMMUNICATIONS GROUPS & TEAMS

WHAT WE KNOW: As efforts continue to bring online Tennessee’s communications systems, I wish to take a moment and thank everyone for their valuable ‘ground-truth’ reports. We have been able to utilize your data points for understanding where there are still lapses in coverage, and where restorative efforts have been successful.

Approximately 59 Tennessee 911 centers (PSAPs) experienced partial, or total, telecommunications disruption as a result of the explosion in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day. With over 140 AUXCOMM data points collected from all across Tennessee, with a variety of area codes included in the mix, we were able to provide invaluable feedback to served agencies who worked to establish back-up telephone numbers for their dispatch centers.

WHAT WE NEED: To assist in the tracking of Tennessee’s communications infrastructure status, Amateur Radio systems are being exercised for various served agencies:

o DMR TEMA TalkGroup 31478 Net Daily at 10am & 2PM (CST) – Call Sign, County, System Connectivity (ie. Are you using a HotSpot: Internet Service Provider or DMR Repeater to access TalkGroup)

ACTION REQUESTED: At this time, we are modifying the request for data collection. Please submit a response to the Auxiliary Communicators of Tennessee Facebook Group ONLY if:

1. If your Cellular of Internet Service Provider link has NOT been restored
2. If you have experienced a sudden change (either up or down) in service

Use this NEW template, and look for the text of this email for a NEW thread that will be used to track updates from any given station:

1. Amateur Radio CallSign
2. County Name (State Abbreviation if you are an out-of-state (TN) Station)
3. Personal Cellular Area Code
4. Personal Cellular Provider’s Name
5. Personal Cellular Status (Restored / No Coverage)
6. Internet Service Provider (ISP)
7. Personal ISP Status (Restored / No Coverage)

SAMPLE:

1. K4KTG
2. Williamson
3. 615
4. AT&T
5. Restored
6. Comcast
7. Restored

****** Only if you DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO FACEBOOK (https://www.facebook.com/groups/AUXCOMMofTN) may you respond to this email [send to: estvincent@secureidea.com ], and I will copy/paste your completed template into the Facebook thread.

This was the reason we have trained so hard across the years. This is why the Incident Command System is critical for our understanding of served agencies. This was why we exercised frequently, so that our individual response was a calm and collected response. This was the moment for TN-AUXCOMM to shine, and you did so valiantly! Thank you!

Talk to you soon,
Elizabeth St. Vincent
FCC Callsign: K4KTG

Certified Communications Unit Leader (TN-COML)
Communications Unit Technician (COMT)
(615) 946-9766 Mobile
(615) 301-1747 Fax
estvincent@secureidea.com



NOAA Weather Radio restoration status

From Laura, N4CLO

From Faith Borden at OHX, during the morning briefing:

These NOAA weather radio frequencies are on the air: Nashville (162.550), Lawrenceburg (162.425), Spencer (162.450), and a fourth whose name was not given. Restoring the systems used for transmitting wx information are lower priority for AT&T than other services. No severe weather is expected the next few days.

OHX list of all NOAA weather radio frequencies in the area, including frequencies and SAME codes:
https://www.weather.gov/ohx/weatherradio

 

Note: current NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) status including outages: https://www.weather.gov/nwr/outages
Note: a page with NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) links is available here, under Frequencies and Nets.


ARRL News – Ed, WB4RHQ: ARES volunteers monitoring & standing by to assist

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-ares-volunteers-standing-by-to-assist-if-needed-in-wake-of-nashville-blast

ARRL ARES Volunteers Standing By to Assist if Needed in Wake of Nashville Blast
12/26/2020

ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers remain ready to deploy in Williamson County, Tennessee, in the aftermath of an apparently intentional explosion early on Christmas morning in downtown Nashville. In addition to injuring at least three people and possibly killing one, damaging more than 40 buildings, and causing multiple water main breaks, the blast disrupted telecommunication systems. The explosion occurred in front of an AT&T switching facility. Nashville’s mayor has declared a civil emergency and imposed a curfew through December 27. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee called the damage “shocking” and has requested a federal emergency declaration. ARRL Vice Director and Williamson County Emergency Coordinator Ed Hudgens, WB4RHQ, who lives in Nashville, is monitoring the situation.

“Here in Nashville and the surrounding counties things are a bit of a mess still. The explosion did a lot more damage than was originally thought. AT&T now has about 30 mobile cell units deployed throughout the area.

“Since about 0730 yesterday, we have had monitoring nets up and running on the local analog repeaters and DMR repeaters. We have mainly been answering questions as best we can considering the limited information coming out from AT&T. My ARES group is ready to deploy to the Williamson County PSC to assist with communications for various county offices when the call comes.

MTEARS [Middle Tennessee Emergency Amateur Repeater System] is holding nets on our DMR repeater system several times a day. The main repeater at the TEMA [Tennessee Emergency Management Agency] site is affected by the outage and fortunately we just last week got two DMR repeaters online in Williamson County, and all communications is going through them.

WCARES is holding a continuous net on our five-repeater linked system to assist hams as needed. We are relaying news updates from AT&T and county governments and assisting callers on AT&T to implement wireless calling on their phones. In the future we may start taking traffic and routing it to the state nets.” The monitoring net on the linked system will remain u p until AT&T systems begin to come back online, he added.

Hudgens said that a net is active in Davidson County in Middle Tennessee, in addition to the WCARES net. “The MTEARS system is active and providing similar information. Our DMR repeater system is also up and running. The main repeater at TEMA is down because of the AT&T outage, but just last week we got two new DMR repeaters up in Williamson county and all DMR traffic is running through them,” Hudgens said.

ARRL Headquarters has reached out to Tennessee Section Manager David Thomas, KM4NYI, to offer any possible assistance.

A public address system on the RV broadcast continuous warning messages, counting down from 15 minutes. Police called to the site after reports of gunfire quickly evacuated residents. According to FEMA, outages with patient-tracking systems were reported, but there is no anticipated impact on patient care. Air traffic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is on hold due to a communication outage, FEMA said. Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the only Level I trauma center serving the region.

AT&T is experiencing service outages across middle Tennessee and Kentucky, including with local 911 systems, cable TV, telephone, and internet customers. The Tennessee Emergency Operations Center is at partial activation, experiencing telephone and internet outages. The FBI is heading up the investigation. FEMA reports it’s received no requests for assistance.