Amateur Radio Emergency Service and SKYWARN Respond to Major Nor’easter

ARES logoFrom ARRL:

10/28/2021–A major nor’easter struck eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island this week, with ferocious winds stronger than those that Tropical Storm Henri brought to the region in August.

Starting on the evening of October 26, eastern Massachusetts amateur radio operators on the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) and National Weather Service (NWS) SKYWARN™ storm spotter teams joined forces to help emergency services provide a focused and effective response as the powerful nor’easter caused widespread damage. Tree and wire damage, trees falling on homes and cars, and a few cases of direct structural damage to weakened structures have been reported. ARES and SKYWARN operations will continue until the impact of the weather system subsides.

“We have handled several hundred reports of damage, and photos of damage are streaming in from ARES and SKYWARN operators to support damage assessment efforts and to keep the NWS in Norton apprised of the severe weather conditions affecting the region,” said Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator and ARES-SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Boston/Norton.

ARES-SKYWARN operators relayed reports of hurricane-force wind gusts reaching 94 MPH in Edgartown, Massachusetts, at Chappy Ferry Point; 84 MPH in Dennis, Massachusetts; 79 MPH in Sandwich, Massachusetts, and 78 MPH in Rockport, Massachusetts. Amateur operators with WX1BOX, the amateur radio station at NWS Boston/Norton; Cape Cod ARES and SKYWARN, and South Coast SKYWARN completed overnight operations, when the peak winds occurred.

“The dedication of our volunteers to provide this critical information in a major storm like this one to the NWS, media, and emergency managers during such a grueling stretch is very critical to inform people what is happening during such a significant storm when they wake up in the morning, so they will hopefully make safe decisions to avoid being out in a significant severe wind situation,” Macedo said.

Cape Cod ARES was activated by the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) to staff the Multi-agency Coordination Center (MACC) at the Barnstable County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The damages, power outages, and intermittent cell service from some providers could mean an extended activation for ARES members in Cape Cod and the Islands, Macedo explained.

According to the Cape Cod and Islands ARES District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O, “Damage assessments in the region will give us a better sense of how long it will take to restore power and in some cases communication service to the Cape [Cod] and Islands area, and that will determine how long Cape Cod ARES will be needed, and if additional support from Eastern Massachusetts ARES will be needed.”

Macedo called the nor’easter “one of our more extraordinary weather systems within the last few years, and the most severe of several other major SKYWARN/ARES activations in this past year.”

As many as 500,000 customers lost power in the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section, with hardest-hit areas in southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands, and the Cape Ann area north of Boston, where hurricane-force wind gusts pummeled the region for several hours. Maximum sustained winds were 50 and 65 MPH. Rhode Island reported nearly 93,000 customers without power at the peak. These outages were an order of magnitude greater than during Tropical Storm Henri in Rhode Island, and about five orders of magnitude more severe than Henri in Massachusetts.

Storm conditions wound down toward the evening of October 27, allowing the process of more widespread power restoration to begin.

 

CQWW SSB Contest, October 30-31, 2021

CQ logoJohn Dorr, K1AR, writes on the cq-contest list:

Good morning contesters!

What is the world’s largest radio contest that takes place during the last weekend of October, attracting more than 40,000 participants? You guessed it — the CQ WW! As you may have noticed, band conditions are rapidly improving. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the current solar bounty will last through the weekend.

I also want to remind you of two new additions to this year’s contest.

First, there is the new YOUTH overlay. If you’re 25 or under, you will have a special place in the CQ WW contest, including the opportunity to receive one of 14 new plaques that have been sponsored just for you. Whether you’re 25 or 85, spread the word. Let’s show the world that the Youth movement in contesting is alive and well!

Finally, we also have created a new EXPLORER category designed to allow experimenters to be creative in their technical approach to the CQ WW with relaxed rules and a sandbox to compete against others with similar interests. For more information, check out: <https://cqww.com/explorer.htm>.

No matter what category you enter, be sure to have fun! I hope to hear many of you this coming weekend!

73, John, K1AR
CQ WW Contest Director

[See rules at <http://www.cqww.com/rules.htm>]

Hampden County (MA) RA Halloween Fox Hunt, October 31, 2021

Hampden Co RA logoLarry Krainson, W1AST, writes on ctfoxhunter:
 
W1TRK (Chris) will be the Halloween Fox for this Sunday’s FoxHunt. He will be within 10 air miles of the starting point.
 
Starting Point: The back parking lot at the Holyoke Mall near where Whitney Ave turns left and right.
 
Time: 10:00 am
 
Hunting on the input to the KB1AEV 146.715 (PL100.0) repeater which is 146.115
 
This is a live and in person Fox Hunt.
 
Base stations are invited to give bearings and signal reports.
 
Time Limit: 2 hours
 
Everyone invited to join in the fun!
 
I hope to see you at the starting point!
 

Larry, W1AST

​HCRA​ President

Head of the Charles Regatta, Boston/Cambridge, October 23-24, 2021

Jim Palmer, KB1KQW, writes on Facebook:

Back at it again today [10/23] and tomorrow [10/24] for the 2021 edition of the Head of the Charles Regatta. Working in the Massachusetts State Police Command Post/Unified Command Center again this year as the Emergency Services Liaison for Amateur Radio. Hoping for another great and safe event this year – and good to be back in the seat and see everyone again after skipping last year. At least for this event I can “sleep in” a bit with a 6 am start time instead of 5 am for the marathon lol.

Naval Sub Base K1SSN Update

USS NautilusHarrison Solt, N1FAM, writes on the Radio Amateur Society of Norwich (CT) mailing list:

I recently toured the MARS/K1SSN shack on the Subbase [in Groton, CT] with the MARS Team (Ted, K1YON and Bob, N2XN).  Trustee Rich Courtney, N9HL, and Dick, KF6UF, were also on site.  While the shack is serviced by a very robust antenna farm it has sparse gear.  There is a Kenwood TS-440S HF transceiver.  There is also an external power supply and a MFJ tuner.  The shack needs gear.  Some solid-state gear, even vintage solid-state gear, would be nice.  Also needed is a computer with a logging program.

The MARS team and the Trustee are trying to involve and work with the Base to rebuild the station.  But reconstitution of the Base shack and eventually a Base Ham Club will require help.  They have reached out to the Base command structure and hope to involve the MWR office and Emergency Command Center as allies in moving things along.  Right now, the goal is to establish a solid presence and a viable operating station for Hams stationed on or near the Base.

The purpose of this post is to update you on this project and seek individual and organizational support, be it in word or deed, to support the effort.  I.E.  Many times, individually or organizationally we come into gear via Ham estates or through upgrade of personal or club shacks.  When this happens consider offering any excess gear and equipment to the K1SSN shack.  Help from local Hams and Clubs can go far to get K1SSN up and running again.  Plus, local organizational support and involvement can result in new members for one or more of the local Clubs.  Let us all be Elmers and help when and where we can.  The Trustee Rich can be reached at rcourtney@mars-mil.us.  MARS lead Ted can be reached at k1yon@juno.com.

[See also: K1SSN Sub Base Radio Station Needs Help]

Technician License Training Course Added to ARRL’s YouTube Channel

ARRL’s YouTube channel, ARRLHQ, has launched a series of amateur radio Technician-class license courses. This series of videos features Dave Casler, KE0OG, QST’s “Ask Dave” columnist, who leads viewers through The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. These videos supplement the manual and provide an overview of the sections you’ll be studying, along with a few videos on how things work. Share this excellent resource with those who are preparing to take their Technician exam, and visit the ARRLHQ YouTube channel for more great amateur radio videos.

Hampden County (MA) Radio Association Halloween Fox Hunt, October 31, 2021

Hampden Co RA logoLarry Krainson, W1AST, writes on the HCRA mailing list:

We’re having a fox hunt. The old fashioned way. With a person hiding as the fox and transmitting one minute out of every 5 minutes.

Reserve Sunday morning, October 31st at 10:00 AM.

Chris, W1TRK, is the fox.

The hunt will end at 12:00 noon.

We will be hunting on the 146.715, (PL 100.0) KB1AEV repeater located on the Soldiers Home in Holyoke.

The hunters will hunt on the input at 146.115 for the fox.

This is a great fun way to get your kids and grandkids involved. Whether you hunt in a group or by yourself, it’s a ton of fun.

Base stations are invited to give bearings and signal reports to help the mobile hunters too.

The starting point will be announced soon.

I hope to see you out there hunting!

73,

Larry, W1AST
HCRA President

Greater Bridgeport (CT) ARC Combined SET, JOTA & POTA for Fun-Filled Weekend

Greater Bridgeport ARC loogo

Members of the Greater Bridgeport Amateur Radio Club combined the best of a Simulated Emergency Test (SET), Jamboree On The Air (JOTA), and Parks On The Air (POTA), while operating from three state parks on October 16, 2021: 

  • Sherwood Island SP (Park K-1715)
  • Silver Sands SP (Park K-1716)
  • West Rock SP (Park K-1727) (2 stations)

“Our goal [was] to provide community outreach for ham radio, and to help train our new operators,” explained GBARC president Emily Clarke, N1DID.   

During the POTA Event the groups also participated in the CT ARES SET using simplex VHF/UHF as well as DMR.

“I wanted to do the SET from a distance away from our ARES region (Region 1)  so we could simulate simplex communications outside our region.   I was in Region 2, and all our other stations were in CT State Parks in Region 1 or were mobile enroute.  After the SET we turned our attention to our main reason for being in the park, our POTA event,” says Clarke.
 
According to N1DID, the JOTA contact wasn’t actually planned. 
 
“We were doing HF communications for POTA when a huge troop of Scouts walked by.  We asked, ‘Does anyone want to learn about ham radio?’ and they all ran and formed a very disciplined semi-circle around us.  I gave them an explanation about HF communications, then gave a short talk explaining how we and other radio amateurs were active on the air promoting our beautiful state parks.”
 
“We gave additional information about emergency communications. how parents and even scouts can get their technician licenses, and about how they can reach out to local clubs for help with their radio merit badge.  
 
Clarke and her group took  questions from the kids and parents and got a big thank you.  Clarke encouraged them to reach out to the club in the future. “Afterwards the Scout leader came up and took my email address and said ‘I always wanted to do this.’”
 
Although N1DID and the other GBARC members got to interact with the public at the other parks “The 40+ Scouts and parents we met  was the icing on the cake of a wonderful day in the park.”
 
Scouts at GBARC POTA event
Scouts visiting Greater Bridgeport ARC Parks On The Air event