[CQ-Contest] emergency communcations, contesters and the spotting network

David Robbins K1TTT k1ttt at arrl.net
Tue May 23 18:50:46 EDT 2006

Ham radio has a long tradition of helping during emergencies.  I have at
times suggested that emergency coordinators should team up with contest
operators and station owners to improve their capabilities.  However due to
busy contest schedules and having a large station to maintain I have been
less than active following through.  I think this time I am going to put my
foot where my mouth is, or is that get off my high butt, or something like
that anyway...  On June 5 there will be a state hurricane emergency drill
for Mass.(see http://ares.ema.arrl.org/)  I will have at least the local
skywarn coordinator at my station to participate.  I would urge others to
contact your local coordinators who may be participating and invite them to
visit and see some of your station capabilities.  I will almost guarantee
that most of them have no idea of what could be done for HF or even VHF
communications from even a moderately well equipped contest station.

Related to this.

The original PacketCluster software added a WX command that has proven
useful over the years for notifications of severe weather events.  In
particular I have actively used it for announcing north east regional severe
thunderstorm watches and warnings, and regional radar or lightning detector
warnings of thunder storms that may alert cluster users to approaching
storms.  During this drill I will be using this facility to deliver short
updates and solicit inputs as requested by nets and other participants.  Now
is the time to figure out how to set your node or personal filters if you
don't want to see announces of this type.  I will be making test announces
in the evenings over the next week or so about this so that you may test
filter settings in case there aren't any real thunderstorms or other events
to announce.  I would appreciate it if New England area sysops made sure
that these announces reached their nodes.  While I think the network's
emergency capability has been reduced by reliance on internet connections,
it may still provide at least some pre-emergency or initial notification
capability.  Even when disconnected from the internet, nodes that have RF
capability can still serve as local collection points for traffic or
bulletins that can be relayed via other HF or VHF methods.


David Robbins K1TTT
e-mail: mailto:k1ttt at arrl.net
web: http://www.k1ttt.net
AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list