WAPR News - July, 2001

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

Hello and Happy July 4th to everyone. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday.

As many of you may vividly remember, the middle of June was not kind to us here in Wisconsin, at least with regard to the weather. Severe thunderstorms with high winds, and even a tornado or two affected many people in Wisconsin. Many Amateurs found themselves assisting various emergency response organizations after taking part in weather reporting nets. For the most part, the Wisconsin packet network made it through OK. There were a couple of scattered outages that were directly attributable to the storms, and nodestacks that had emergency power were using it in a few cases.

Al, KB9BYQ in Appleton found himself with a wet basement and no power on the night of the June 11th storms that turned Outagamie and Winnebago counties (among others) into declared disaster areas. His node stack kept right on ticking, though. It wasn't until the early morning hours of the 13th mat his commercial power returned. His BBS was down for the duration, however. Folks in Waupaca were not so lucky - their node stack was without power for a day or two as well.

We were lucky that mere were no more problems than just power - high winds made this a particularly dangerous event.-Packet is another one of our many communications resources we use to support emergency management agencies. It can be especially valuable to us in maintaining contact with the State Department of Emergency Management when voice channels may not be available, may be crowded with other disaster-related activity, or just not suitable for the information we're trying to pass.

In addition to the "regular" packet network, Wisconsin has it's own ARES node network specially provided to carry out Emergency and Drill packet traffic. It is on the frequency of 145.610 MHz, 1200 bps (same speed as the regular VHF packet you probably normally use). This is a state-wide coordinated frequency that has long been designated as such I recently received an E-Mail reminder concerning the use of this frequency, and this would be a good time to share it with you. It comes from Len Kryer, N9QIP who is the state ARES packet coordinator. Here's the full text of his note:

Just a heads up to all those who are running a packet station oh 145.610 Mhz. Each 'station that operates on this frequency shall be for Emergency purposes only!

I am seeing many stations with mail boxes and invites to drop each other a line using this frequency. This emergency network relies on keeping the frequency clear of general BBS type traffic and personal mailbox traffic. If you have not done so, please limit your personal stations to ID only with no other text following your ID beacon. Do NOT use a Digi to relay your station beacon anywhere on this network. In a real emergency, those beacons, digis, and IDs from any stations other than ARES/RACES tend to clog the network and take valuable time away from emergency traffic.

If you wish to use your station for assisting the emergency network on a full time basis, please turn off the digi function and enable the node operation on your TNC instead.

Failure to help keep traffic to a minimum will simply render the network useless.

Len Kreyer, N9QIP Wisconsin Emergency Packet Coordinator

Len's note was forwarded to me by a couple of different people. Along with his note, I saw a request from ARRL Official Observer and Section Technical Specialist Richard Polivka, N6NKO. Here's his request:

Along with the request to limit the traffic on 145.610 MHz, I would like to make the following request to all.

Could you please email me the location, callsign and function of any equipment mat anyone may have on 145.610 MHz? I am trying to come up with a map of 145.61 stations and nodes for Wisconsin. This map will be regularly updated and released. Having a map of the 145.61 system will be of great use in getting messages through in a time of need.

Thank you.

73, Richard E. Polivka, N6NKO [email protected]

I hope that if you have any equipment on the state ARES frequency, you operate it in the spirit of it's intended use, and let Rich know about it. After all, you never know if, when or where a disaster will strike. Having this frequency clear for emergency communications may well help you if disaster ever affects your community.

That's all I have for this month. As always, feel free to send me your packet news at one of the addresses st the top of this page. Until next time, 73 from Andy.

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