Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Ohio Section News Update – January 03, 2017 Edition


- Second Annual Ohio ARES VHF Simplex Contest
- Multi-Multi Kids Day
- Backup Your Files
- Getting this Newsletter
- One Question Survey
- Upcoming Hamfests
- Got Questions
- Final - Final



Lloyd Cabral, KH6LC, reports he plans to have his station on the air for Kids Day as a multi-multi on 20, 15, and — if it opens — 10 meters. He is anticipating a half-dozen young visitors to his Keaau, Hawaii, home.

Kids Day begins on Saturday, January 7, at 1800 UTC and concludes at 2359 UTC. “We’ll be spotting ourselves on DX Summit,” Cabral said. “I’m not sure who has more fun, the kids operating or the adults ‘coaching’ them. We must be on to something good because everyone wants to come back year after year.

Please consider inviting some young people in to operate.”
Sponsored by the Boring (Oregon) Amateur Radio Club, this event has a simple exchange, suitable for younger operators: first name, age, location, and favorite color. Details are on the ARRL website.


ANNOUNCING >> The Second Annual Ohio ARES VHF Simplex Contest! January 14, 2917.

After a lot of requests, we are opening this up to 6 meters as a part of your score as well!  There is a lot of potential for wide-area coverage on that band, and we need to cultivate some interest- so, for the sixers out there, burn eggs on your beam!!

Some questions, and answers:

- On the bonus situations, the EOC bonus is exactly what it says- operation must be from an EOC, not a nearby trailer or remote location. EOC ops, add 50 points to your total contact score. Operation from any portable location (trailer, tent, park bench, igloo) is 100 points added to your total contact score. Contact an ARES officer of any type, add 5 points to that contact (in other words, if your contact says he’s an EC, it’s worth 6 points.)

- On digital. All modes are open and we’ve had some questions as to ‘which’ mode. Any of the modes commonly accepted for NBEMS work!

- Frequencies haven’t been mentioned. Grab any you like- if your district has a prescribed simplex frequency, try that first. Anything except a repeater. Make sure you get the county or location of your
contact- the whole point is to be able to plot your best coverage area. Look for ‘real’ signal reports.

- You know what? If you get bored and want to fry some eggs on your six-meter antennas, go for it. DO INCLUDE your six contacts in your score!


Here are the rules again!

ARES is tasked with being able to provide communications “When all else fails.” Local communication is critical and typically takes place on the VHF or UHF amateur band. In order to improve our ability to perform on these bands, Ohio Section ARES is sponsoring the ARES VHF Contest (Yeah, we know, but calling it the Ohio VHF / UHF Contest got a little long-winded). Participants in the contest are encouraged to make as many contacts as possible within the time-frame of the contest, with as many different geographical locations as the bands permit. The contest is open to all Amateur operators. ARES members are strongly encouraged to participate. How else are you going to win the ‘bragging rights’ session of your next ARES meeting?

When did you say it was?
The contest is January 14, 2017. The start time is (for those of us who sleep in) 10 AM through 6 PM Eastern. Yeah, a civilized time-frame that doesn’t rob sleep, and allows time with the family. Why, you can even watch a few cartoons in the morning!

Where you gonna’ be?
You may operate this contest from anywhere. There are certain benefits for venturing out from your warm, comfortable home station. EOC stations can gain extra points. Portable stations can gain even MORE extra points – that is, if your frozen fingers will still be able to operate a keyboard. Portable stations MUST use portable antennas, nothing permanently attached…kind of like Field Day on ice. We are not going with any mobile operation this time. The image of a bunch of vehicles running around with portable towers, 150 pounds of antenna hardware and an occasional grounding anchor is best left to the ARRL contesters.

Da Bands – a la’ Mode
Because local emergency communication takes place primarily on the two meter and 70 centimeter bands, the contest is limited to those two bands plus 6 meters! Within each band, we will have these modes: FM Simplex, “Everything else” Simplex; DIGITAL simplex contacts will make up a third mode on each band. Contacts with a station count once per mode- if you can talk the other guy into abandoning “his frequency” and meeting you on SSB or CW, more power to ya! NO REPEATER CONTACTS WILL COUNT. If you get bored, you certainly are welcome to chat amongst yourselves on repeaters, or simplex, or cell phones, or smoke signals.

Da Contacts
The goal is to contact as many different stations in as many different counties as possible. You can make as many overall contacts as you like, they will then be multiplied by the number of counties you’ve reached. Extra points will be available for contacting an EC, AEC, DEC, ADEC, ASEC or SEC. Pretty simple- any more complex and we’ll confuse the scorekeepers.

Da Score
Each FM Simplex contact counts as 1 point.
Each non- FM simplex contact counts as 1 point.
Each digital simplex contact counts as 1 point. (Detect a pattern here?)
Contact with EC, AEC, DEC, ADEC, ASEC or SEC adds 5 points.
Contact with an EOC or with a portable station adds 5 points.
Operation from an EOC add 50 points to your total contact score.
Operation from a portable location add 100 points to your total contact score.

Total contact score (all bands/modes added together) will be multiplied by the total number of counties you contacted.

Da Logs
Please use any of the appropriate computer logging programs, paper dupe sheets, a well-worn slide rule or rusty abacus. Just keep all that to yourself, we can’t find anyone with the time to go through all the detail contacts. Submit an email to:  contest@delares.org  with the following:
Your name:
Group name:
Location: (City, county)
FM Simplex Contacts:
“Everything else” Simplex Contacts:
Digital Simplex Contacts:
EOC bonus:
Portable bonus:
Total Contact Score (Add above together, but you figured that out already):
Multiply by total number of counties contacted (include your own!):

Bask in the glory of a well thought out, well executed effort!

Definition of acronyms..
EOC = Emergency Operations Center
NBEMS = Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System
ARES = Amateur Radio Emergency Service
SM = Section Manager
SEC = Section Emergency Coordinator
ASEC = Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator
DEC = District Emergency Coordinator
ADEC = Assistant District Emergency Coordinator
EC = Emergency Coordinator
AEC = Assistant Emergency Coordinator
CW = Continuous Wave
SSB = Single-Side Band
FM = Frequency Modulation


Backup Your Files

Hey Gang,

With the new year upon us you might want to take a good hard look at doing a backup of all the files on your computer. Portable hard-drives are really cheap and easy to hookup. With most of them, all you do is just plug it in to your computer’s USB port and away you go, instant extra storage. The best thing is you can transport this little gadget from one computer to another. If you are like me, you have several computers in the house, and by using a single portable hard-drive I can keep all those important backups all in one place. Now that makes sense!

You can get these small, lightweight portable hard-drives practically everywhere, and they are well worth the few dollars you’ll spend on them. In most cases a 2 Terabyte hard-drive will cost less than $80, and that will give you enough memory to easily backup most everything on your computer(s) several times this year.

Have you got pictures that you want to keep? I have pictures that date back into the 60’s and 70’s that are priceless to me, and since they are of family members that are now no longer with us, those memories could be gone forever if they weren’t backed up! By the way, I would highly recommend that you download all those pictures from your cell phone to your computer and then back it up onto the portable hard-drive. This way you won’t lose any of your pictures from your cell phone in case it gets damaged or lost. How about that all those important emails or documents that you have been saving (your IS 100, 200, 700 & 800 certificates come to mind). it can all be gone in a flash if it’s not backed up somewhere.

Now most of you know that I’m a real advocate of backing up my files. I have backups that date back to the middle 1990’s, and over those years I’ve had computer crashes, many of them in fact. Getting those oh so valuable files back now becomes a real panic if you are counting on the internal disk drive for them alone.

Well, let me tell you that even though I subscribe to a very reputable “cloud based” computer backup company, I have found that sometimes things just don’t get backed up when you think they do, and that’s when you find out that you don’t have them anymore. That’s happened to me a number of times. So, I no longer count on just that alone. I do my own backup of those very valuable files.

That’s why I’m recommending that you purchase one of those inexpensive portable hard-drives for just this situation. It’s really easy to backup most everything. I don’t recommend trying to back-up your programs however. That’s because most programs are tied to your computer’s registry, and if you’re starting fresh with a new computer, or you’ve had to reformat your current computer’s hard-drive, it won’t understand where those very important registry logs are kept. Save those disks that the programs came on. Don’t just throw them away. If you’ve purchased programs on-line, keep the original download, usually it’s a zipped file that you can burn to a disk or keep on a flash drive. If you don’t, you could easily loose them forever.

Backing things up today is so easy and affordable, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t invest a few bucks into a portable hard-drive.


NIMS / ICS Training

For all of 2016 you have heard from Stan and myself about the importance, and need to get your four basic NIMS/ICS training (ICS 100, 200, 700 & 800) completed.

Our state database shows that we have been very successful at getting those courses completed, as that we have well over 300 people with the 4 basic courses registered with us. We also have more than 500 others working their way through these courses at various stages of completion, and hopefully they will be completing them very soon.

This year we will be keeping up the pressure to get the training in, but I’m now going to push hard on all of you to not only get this training, but to get those so valuable certificates turned in to me so that we can get you added to the database as well. Yes, we have a lot of folks in there, but we know that we don’t have yours. How do we know that? Everyone that has the 4 basic courses and has shared those certificates with us is now listed on the Ohio Section NIMS Roster. Do you know if your certificates have been turned in? You can now find out quickly if we have you in the database, Here’s a link   http://arrl-ohio.org/SEC/special/nims_roster.html

If you don’t see your name on the list we don’t have all 4 of your needed certificates, and we definitely need and want them! This list shows those who have all 4 certificates turned in. If you don’t see your name on the list, send them to me  n8sy@n8sy.com   Now even if you haven’t gotten all 4 of these courses in, we still need you to get what you do have turned in to us so that we can get you started on your way.

I’ve had a lot of folks ask me why this training is so important. The answer is easy. In 2014 the ARRL signed a MOU with FEMA to help them when needed. This puts ARES in direct contact with FEMA now, this is a relationship that we didn’t have before. The agreement indicates that we are to be a TRAINED corps of communicators. With that stated, FEMA’s expectations are that we have the 4 basic courses – ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 completed so that we can properly operate within their Incident Command System that ALL emergencies now operate under. So you see, we’ve now agreed to get this training, and that’s why we need to fulfil our part of this MOU as best as we can.

The Ohio Section has taken a lead in the country with this and really dug its heals in and has done a great job of completing this training. Let’s keep it going for 2017!!   


DMR.. Hey Everyone on DMR – The Ohio Talkgroup Net is now set to be every Wednesday night at 8:30pm EST. Don’t forget, there will be an Ohio Statewide DMR Net every Wednesday night starting this coming Wednesday!!!  Come, join in on the fun and learn more about DMR from those who are on.

Want more information about DMR? Here’s a link to get you started..
http://arrl-ohio.org/digital/digital.html   and also located there is Andy, K4AWC’s newest Ohio Codeplug. You can download it while you’re on this same page.

Did you know one of the really unique features of the Brandmeister DMR System is that it records all of the activity? It does, which means that even if you’ve missed checking in on the weekly statewide net, you can still hear it. Here’s a link for you..  https://hose.brandmeister.network/3139/archive/  Now if you noticed 3139 is the Ohio statewide Talkgroup. You can change that to any of the Talkgroups and listen to the archived files.

There’s lots more information about DMR on the Ohio Section DMR webpage. Go take a look.


Are you getting those emails from me? If not, all you have to do is to “Opt-In” to receive them.

Heck, just send me an email:  n8sy@n8sy.com and let me know that you want to be added. It’s really just that easy. We have over 2,500 persons on our Ohio Section Mailing List now and growing.

Are you passing this newsletter on to others? Please, if you know of anyone that would be interested in this information, feel free to pass it on to them. You don’t have to be an ARRL member or even a ham to receive these emails.

You can always  “Opt-Out”  at any time if you feel this is not what you were expecting.


One Question Survey. Have you seen that there is a NEW question on the website? There is, please take just a few seconds and answer the question. It’s FUN to see how your answer stacks up with all the other folks and it’s good for me to know so that I can tailor articles to your responses.  http://arrlohio.org

Are these responses really useful? The simple answer to that is YES. I have seen several presentations given by others with this One Question data being used. It’s really great to know that others see this information as useful too.

NOW..  Do you have any questions that you’d like to see posted? Let me know, send me an email n8sy@n8sy.com  with your question(s).


Upcoming Hamfests in Ohio..

01/15/2017 | Sunday Creek Amateur Radio Federation Hamfest
Location: Nelsonville, OH
Sponsor: Sunday Creek Amateur Radio Federation

01/29/2017 | TUSCO Amateur Radio Club Hamfest
Location: Strasburg, OH
Sponsor: Tusco Amateur Radio Club
Website: http://tuscoarc.org  


Got questions, concerns or would just like to sit and chat awhile?

Give me a call at (419) 512-4445 or email me at:  n8sy@n8sy.com   

Want to sit and just chat awhile? I’m available, Heck, I’ll even buy!!


Finally..  As Phil Esterhouse of the acclaimed Hill Street Blues used to say..  “Hey, let’s be careful out there..”  this holds true for all of us as well, but have FUN doing it!!


Scott, N8SY..