Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"FirstNet"....Defining EMCOMM'S Future!?

Drawn from ARRL

Buildout of Nationwide First Responder Broadband Network Could Drive ARES Changes

06/01/2017The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) — a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders — could change the complexion of how the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) functions to support communication for responders during disasters and emergencies. As an independent authority within the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), FirstNet’s mission is to build out, deploy, and operate an interoperable nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. Ralph Haller, N4RH, the chairman of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), told ARRL that the advent of FirstNet “will likely be as significant as when public safety first began using radio.”

“The nationwide network will be hardened, so that it will be more likely that many of today’s public safety systems remain operational in emergencies,” Haller said, pointing out that Amateur Radio should not expect to have access to FirstNet. He cautioned, “The endurance of Amateur Radio systems in disasters has been a big selling point in the past for incorporating amateur operators in emergency plans, but perhaps not so much in the future.”
NPSTC is a federation of organizations that work toward improving public safety communication and interoperability, and ARRL has a seat on NPSTC’s Governing Board. Haller predicted that Amateur Radio’s role in emergencies will not disappear. “There is no substitute for eyes and ears on the ground in an emergency,” he said, adding that radio amateurs “can and should continue to play an important part” in supporting emergency communication.
“Amateur operators can continue to provide valuable information to emergency operations centers in the recovery phase of disasters,” he said. “Whether that intelligence gathering is reporting on storm clouds, power outages, or road closures, amateurs can help provide critical, real-time information about conditions over a vast area. While first responders are treating the injured or protecting life and property, the amateur community can concentrate on assessing the overall picture.”
On March 30, FirstNet and the Commerce Department announced a 25-year partnership with AT&T as the primary contractor to make FirstNet a reality. “The ability to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions is critical for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) when securing large events or responding to emergencies and disasters,” a Commerce Department news release said. “In those instances, networks can become overloaded and inaccessible, limiting responders’ use of vital communication technologies, such as smartphones and applications dedicated to public safety services.”
Public safety agencies already use commercial wireless networks, such as AT&T and Verizon, to supplement their own radio systems and networks, although such communication is not point to point. FirstNet is initially targeted primarily to provide video and data, with mission-critical voice communication at least a decade away. EMS is likely to become a heavy user of the network, which will employ voice command functions a la Siri or Alexa.

“Be sure the public safety organizations never forget how valuable the amateurs are!” — NPSTC Chairman Ralph Haller, N4RH

Inevitably there will be coverage gaps, and the development of “deployables” is critical. These devices can expand the network to areas it doesn’t cover but where it may be needed for a specific incident. Deployables could include satellites — Inmarsat is a member of the AT&T team. Network security and encryption is a high priority. The Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) now uses encryption on its data nets.
While images in the form of digital Amateur Radio television (DATV) and a plethora of digital modes are available to ARES, FirstNet could nudge ARES to more quickly adopt a similar approach. A new generation of radio amateurs steeped in data, image, and video technology is likely to drive ARES to think beyond analog.
Haller advised that the Amateur Radio community should continue to work closely with public safety organizations at all levels to assure that they remain a part of emergency plans.
“The hype about broadband should not result in amateurs inadvertently being swept under the rug,” Haller stressed. “Be sure the public safety organizations never forget how valuable the amateurs are!”
FirstNet will use spectrum at 700 MHz — no immediate threat to Amateur Radio allocations, although there is no guarantee that this won’t change as the network approaches the shift to 5th generation (5G) technology. Amateur Radio has access to significant spectrum above 700 MHz.
The expectation is that within a couple of years, a nationwide “core” network will be ready to roll out, and the first public safety users will be on board. Some regional networks have been set up for proof-of-concept purposes and to work out wrinkles. — Thanks to Mike Corey, KI1U, and Ralph Haller, N4RH

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EAWA Website Comes Alive!


The Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association has dug its website out of mothballs with the help of Charles AC1BS and is being updated on a regular basis with input from local hams. For information in reference to the W1TU club please check out www.eawa.org  Thanks Chuck!!

Time Passes...Things change!


  When I got my License years ago it was to participate in a hobby that got my interest piqued due to my Dad’s decade’s long passion in electronics leading him to having his FCC Commercial license even with Radar endorsements. I picked up some info from him when he was alive but as a kid, Dad being immersed in it constantly, I did not take advantage of his wealth of information available. So, me being one who is quite often slow on the uptake AKA: after Dad passed, I decided to learn electronics (some!) and at the same time get my Ham ticket! (Disclaimer: Bruce N1VLQ is to blame..another story!) Why the ramblings, well I have been a blogger for years and decided after a few years of big life changing events to get back to my RF roots…just Ham radio. Yes, I will continue to report on EMCOMM items which I will still support, but this blog from this point forward will be a sounding board for Ham Radio FUN…with my sometimes contorted viewpoint thrown in for the hell of it. Yes, the URL will remain the same but the title of the page and primary purpose has changed. Please feel free to check in, I will post blog update status on FB and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them below the posts or email me at w1krp@arrl.com   Thanks and 73!!

W1TU FIELD DAY...It's Almost Here Folks!


11 Days folks, just 11 short 24 hour time cycles away from Field Day 2017! Set up will start Friday June 23rd after 12 noon. Operations start at 1400 hours Saturday June 24th and end at 1400 hours Sunday the 25th. Of course help will be needed after it ends! There will be a pot-luck supper Saturday night so bring some good stuff to share and plan on having a great time! For those that are GPS savvy the numbers are as follows: 59 Jacobson Dr, Winter Harbor, ME 04693, USA…….Latitude: 44.338 | Longitude: -68.060131 further info go to the EAWA website at www.eawa.org and contact one of the officers listed at the top of the page!

Monday, May 15, 2017

FIELD DAY!!!

Field Day is coming soon!
Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. EAWA will be once again operating a 2A station from the SERC facility on Schoodic Point in Winter Harbor. Plans are being tuned up and anyone interested should contact the club via Facebook at the EAWA page….or better yet attend the next EAWA meeting which will be on Thursday June 8th. Also, anyone interested but not familiar with the location go to the ARRL web page ( www.arrl.org ) and go to the Field Day page and check out the FD Locator function for the Maine area. We are listed and it works! Within two hours after posting I received an email from a Ham from Florida who will be camping on MDI that weekend and would like to join us for the operations! 73!

Antenna Raising Meeting


This coming Sunday, May 21st, there will be an antenna raising meeting at Meadow View Apartments, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth at 12 noon to install the new HF antenna that will be able to be used for both EAWA and EMCOMM functions. If you are able to give a hand we would love to see you then!
Further info email me at w1krp@arrl.net.

"Touch A Truck"

 
On Saturday, May 13th, EAWA and Hancock County EMA/EMCOMM participated in a Touch A Truck event at Mount Desert Island High School. We had the EMCOMM Comms Trailer, the portable tower and of course Hams! We had a good time and talked to quite a few people about the hobby and its use in emergency situations under the guidance of Hancock County EC Chris Weaver, AB1PZ and HCEMA Director Andy Sankey, KB1TGL. And Jeff Hanscom, KA1DBE even made a contact with a Russian station using a Yaesu FT-817, 5W QRP. This was a memorable contact seeing Jeff was outside his "CW comfort zone" Hi Hi. The event was a fundraiser for the Harbor House in Southwest Harbor and we were please we were asked to join in! 
(Photos courtesy of Jeff KA1DBE)
 
 
 
 
 
 



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

QRP In Downeast Maine!

naqcc_logo (10K)
 
 
Jeff, KA1DBE recently had some good news for those interested in QRP Ops here in Downeast Maine:

 Greeting all,
As I stated in the EAWA meeting, this will be an informal group of QRP operators sharing what they are doing with the rest of North America.
The NAQCC has a monthly news letter and I would like to have something to spotlight each month.  Could be new gear, antenna project, contest, etc.  Let me know what you have been up to.
 Not sure how many of you are contesters but the NAQCC has a monthly 2 hour sprint. 
 I like sprints because they do not take a whole lot of time and it is a good way to get your feet wet in contesting if you have never done it before.
I will try to set up a FB page or group and maybe a Twitter account.
Lastly, this Saturday, I will be operating the QRP to the field (QRPTTF) contest.  I will be set up at the Ellsworth waterfront park an Marina.  Plan to get there around 8 am to set up and be on the air by 10.  Stop by and say hi if you have some time.
Thanks again for your support and let's show them how we do things Downeast!
 73/72
Jeff, KA1DBE

Further NAQCC Info:  http://www.naqcc.info/index.html


 

Electrical Tape Tips by KØFF


(From www.eham.net)

Image result for electrical tape

Did you ever notice that electrical tape, like a hammer, comes with no instructions? Perhaps the makers figure that everyone automatically knows all the "tricks of the trade". Read on, you may pick up a new wrinkle.

Vinyl electrical tape has been around since 1945, but for a long time after it was introduced, black cotton friction tape was still used for most applications, partly because of the cost difference, partly because of tradition. I remember tearing long strips of half-inch friction tape into quarter-inch wide strips as a cost savings. A unique feature of the adhesive on the friction tape is that it gives off an eerie blue light when the tape is peeled from the roll. It is bright enough to be easily seen in a darkened room. Aside from that trivial fact today's friction tape is used for special applications only as a topcoat for delicate rubber tape as used on high voltage cable spices. Modern materials are superior in every respect. The first vinyl tape I ever saw on the job was gray in color, not black, I suppose it was a telephone company spec.
Today I recommend using only Scotch 33+ tape for all ham radio uses, except as noted at the end, as it has predictable characteristics and is good for every indoor/outdoor application. The temperature range is zero F to 220 F.

Make sure to get the type with the + sign, as there is also a plain type 33.

3M also makes product called Temflex, but again type 33+ is suitable for every application, especially outdoors.
When taping over coax connectors, or coax splice kits, it is helpful to first wrap the connector with a self-amalgamating Silicone Tape product. The 3M version is Type 70, and Radio Shack also sells it in small rolls under the part number 64-2336.
This is NOT the same product as the coax-seal, or Radio Shack #278-1645 "sealant for RF connectors". I do not care for that sticky material, dum-dum, or any other putty type material that is hard to remove later. The silicone-tape peels off cleanly and easily, so easily in fact that it needs to be covered with a topcoat of Type 33+ to protect it. This two layer approach, when applied as explained below will give a waterproof seal that is weather resistant, and stays flexible for years, but can easily be removed if changes need to be done to the system.

Any time you wrap tape on a threaded component, make sure you wrap it in the direction that tends to tighten the screw threads, not the other way. That means if you are taping a splice, for example two PL-259's screwed into a double barrel female (PL-258/83-1J) you must tape each connector from the cable end to the barrel center.
Always run the tape "uphill" that is from the smaller diameter to the larger diameter.
Start at the smallest end, make several tight turns of one-quarter lap for a good seal, then run the tape in one-half laps to the center, with moderate stretch so the diameter of the 33+ is reduced to about five-eighths of it's original width. On the last few turns reduce the stretch tension until it is zero at the last turn, to prevent flagging. Use a scissors to cut the tape end square, as a knife or ripping will add stretch to the last lap and cause it to come loose. Repeat the same strategy from the other side, and meet in the center (if it is a splice kit), overlap the left hand side tape with the right hand side tape. If the connection is to be removed at a relatively short timeframe, fold the last hat does not stick. If the tape job is permanent, simply lay the last lap down flush. Now for the best-kept secret, spray the entire assembly with clear coat enamel or other dielectric spray. I use Krylon Crystal Clear. The over-spray absolutely seals the joint and keeps the ends flat.
Non-electrical uses for electrical tape.
 
For taping cables to tower legs and other such jobs, consider using the Temflex or straight Type 33 as they both are less expensive and have a slightly higher breaking strength. The superior conformal qualities of the 33+ are not needed in these applications.
 
One of the most common non electrical uses of vinyl tape is to secure rolls of wire, bundles of tubing, cables to rungs, and many other odd jobs that use the material for other than it's weatherproof or electrical qualities. To tie up a roll of cable, the cheapest grade of black vinyl tape is adequate, except that it leaves a gooey mess behind when removed. The secret here is to make the first full two turns with the sticky side OUT. Then simply twist the tape around on itself and continue making a few more turns with the sticky side IN. This same trick can be used with cellophane tape to secure hardware store bundles of conduit, pipe etc, so that it removes cleanly. Wish I had a nickel for every minute wasted trying to get that sticky mess off copper water pipe before soldering!
 
Another slick idea Scotch came up with is the color-coded vinyl tape. I've tried many schemes over the years of using red, blue, green white and other color tapes to identify certain cables, for example coax cables in a bundle run up the tower. After toughly confusing myself, I decided to simply use the white tape, and mark the ID on it with a Sharpie permanent marker. Foolproof, and lasts for years.
 
              

April EAWA Meeting!

 
EAWA held its monthly meeting on April 7th.
 After the business meeting Rob, W8HAP, gave a presentation on antennas.
 




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sunday Session and EMCOMM = Interesting





 As scheduled, there will be a “Sunday Session” this coming Sunday, March 26th at 12 noon. Anyone interested in ham radio is invited to attend and participating hams are encouraged to bring their latest projects, problems, comments and questions and of course….coffee.  See you there. Any questions on the Sunday Sessions? Drop me an email at res@gwi.net.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

KA1DBE's Satellite Comms Demo


On Thursday March 9th the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) held it’s monthly meeting. After the business meeting, member Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE, gave a great presentation on Amateur Radio Satellite Communications. A lot of info was passed on and a lot of interest was shown. Look for lots of radio reports coming from Grid FN54!




Monday, March 6, 2017

Field Day 2017...It's Sneaking Up!

The following is a classic article from eHam on Field Day operations and planning. FD 2017 is approaching fast, time to start thinking about it EAWA members!
 
 

Top of Form

 

Bottom of Form

How to Come Back After Field Day by KA7EKW)  
Well, it's that time again. Those little flakes of "global warming" have stopped falling, the snow shovel is hanging in the garage, and a ham's thoughts turn to Field Day.
However, you will be facing risks this year that you never have faced before. It doesn't matter how many contacts you make, if you are the highest-ranking Silent Key in the list!
The risks break down into three areas: Technology, Environment, and Medical.
Let's deal with Technology first.
Oh, sure, you've done this every year, so long that you still have a couple of Motorola plugs in your tool kit, but unless you are running a solo effort, there is a good chance that someone you've never met is bringing out equipment that you've never seen. Look from a distance, until you know the ways that it might bite you.
If you're in a club, it's a good idea to appoint a safety officer -- an experienced ham who likes to build things -- to check all installations during and after setup. His or her ONLY job is to look for things that don't look right. No power is applied until cleared with Safety.
Are the power leads properly insulated, the antenna properly grounded, the generator safely away from hazards -- and not aimed to fill your tent with carbon monoxide while you sleep?
Antennas deserve special attention -- they tend to be sharp at one end, hard to see at night, and can zap you anywhere along the length. Are you running an NVIS (aka "Radiating Neck-Wire") . . ? It's a good idea to drape something like barrier tape at invervals, so that it's obvious there's something there. A tower? Imagine the worst-case scenario, and it falls over -- where will it go? Onto a power line, or someone's sleeping bag?
Everything needs to be labeled, unless nobody other than the builder will operate it. ALL power leads must be marked, in case you need to cut off the juice in a hurry.
Field Day is supposed to be a disaster DRILL, let's not make it REAL.
Second, we have Environmental.
Some of this might be related to Technology, like the guys I watched raising a tower during a lull between thunderstorm cells passing overhead, or the guy who drove his ground rod through the school sprinkler system.
However, the environment is other things. Do you have a security issue, where equipment is likely to disappear if left unattended? Or maybe most of your planned area has recently been sprayed with bug killer. Or a new power line has been run . . .there are a lot of factors.
Don't be afraid to find somewhere else to operate -- that's a big part of working a field expedient site, learning where not to put them. Even just picking the opposite corner of the park may make all the difference between a safe weekend and a real problem.
Lastly, we have Medical.
Sorry, OM, but you ARE an OM! That tower trailer that you eagerly cranked a couple of years ago (well, let's be honest, TWENTY years ago) is ready to be your first heart attack. If you're the only one around to crank it, take it easy, take your time on the crank.
Unless you are Jack LaLanne (I think that guy is allergic to Kryptonite!), as you get older, you are no long able to jump into the same level of effort that you used to. If nothing else, this is your incentive for recruiting some teenagers into ham radio!
You also need to think things through. Make sure that you know what you are doing, and that you're at that step in the process (especially important if working as a team). If in doubt, start over rather than miss an important step.
Setup isn't the only worry. Make sure you get enough water (plain old water, or club soda). By the time you notice that you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so maybe a big club should assign someone to keeping the flow of water going to every operator. And, if you're there in the tent, if anyone takes a drink, EVERYONE take a drink. Don't skip meals, and don't load up on snacks and junk.
If you are out in the sun, WEAR YOUR HAT. Use sunscreen. Wear loose-fitting long sleeves.
Don't forget your flashlight and batteries. Wandering around at night is a really good way to learn WHY we call NVIS antenna "Radiating Neck Wires," or be reminded exactly where the counterpoise was staked.
Now, since it seems that most clubs go hide out on mountaintops for FD, you also need to make sure that you bring extra water, food, fuel and meds -- be prepared to be stuck out there for 5 days.
Lastly, be prepared to evacuate the site. Make a checklist of the most important stuff to load first -- you may have less than 5 minutes' warning if a fire starts. Nothing that you own is worth dying for, and if you're given an evacuation order, GO. The best plan is to leave everything in your car unless you are using it.
Practicing this part can be fun. I've seen a couple of clubs that made it a contest to be ready to roll after FD is over.
Whatever you do, wherever you go, just do your best to be back home Sunday night, and back for next year's Field Day.

 

Well, 'dah dit dah".


Recently in the Down East Maine area there has been a increasing interest in learning CW…otherwise known as Morse Code. With a weekly CW net for training led by Phil N1EP down in Milbridge using the 146.910 KB1NEB repeater here in Ellsworth, a few hearty souls have jumped aboard the sessions and some have been snagging a few actual QSOs on air. Join in on the nets on Tuesday nights at 1830 hrs (6:30 PM) and have fun.
Just think, Norm N1NGM (SK) is up there smiling down upon us and most likely muttering; “What took them so long!?”
_ _ …  …_ _

EAWA MEETING!


 

REMINDER: This coming Thursday, March 9th, the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association (EAWA) will be holding their monthly meeting. It will be held at the usual spot, Meadow View Apartments Phase 4 Community Room, 25 Tweedie Lane, Ellsworth at 6 PM. This month Jeff Hanscom KA1DBE will be giving a presentation on communicating through the Amateur Radio satellites. The meetings are open to all licensed Amateur Radio Operators AND anyone interested in Ham radio and wants to learn more about it! Make it a point to attend! For further info contact me via FB messaging or email me at w1krp@arrl.net. Share on FB to spread the word about this great hobby!
 
73 de W1KRP

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sunday Sessions


Last Sunday, January 22, EAWA held it’s first of hopefully many “Sunday Sessions” where Hams meet and work on their  projects, get help or just socialize! 12 of us met and got things accomplished, on personal projects and also we were able to get the Diamond dual band antenna back up on the roof after it was knocked down during a storm months ago. Thanks go out to Mark Albee N1MEA and Chris Weaver AB1PZ for taking it down and making repairs. Chris AB1PZ and Chris N1CJS took the time and got everything back as it should be! Phil N1EP worked on a QRP rig he Is hoping to get on the air soon. Next session will be on Sunday February 26th at noon time at Meadow View Apartments Phase 4 Community Room, 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth.

Photo by Jeff KA1DBE

Photo by Jeff KA1DBE

Photo by Jeff KA1DBE

Photo by Dick W1KRP

Photo by Dick W1KRP
 

EAWA


Image result for ham radio
EAWA, Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association, next meeting will be Thursday, February 9th at 6 PM. Meetings are held in the Meadow View Apartments Phase 4 Community Room located at 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth. We are open to any licensed Ham or ANYONE interested in this great hobby! At our February meeting,  Jeff Hanscom, KA1DBE, will do a presentation on Amateur Radio satellite communications. Jeff has moved back to Maine from Virginia and brings a wealth of info and enthusiasm to share. Just before moving back here, Jeff was a member of the Virginia Beach Amateur Radio Club and was awarded their 2016 Ham of The Year award. In March, member Rob Collins W8HAP will do a antenna presentation which should be very informative! Whatever Rob does…he does it right. So, plan on attending the meetings and if you are just lurking out there wondering what this Ham Radio stuff is all about, stop on by and see what’s up! For further information about Amateur Radio or EAWA please feel free to contact: President Chris Stanley N1CJS at n1cjs@arrl.net, V.P. Dick Small W1KRP at res@gwi.net or Secretary/Treasurer Evie Sargent KA1BRA at eviesargent@yahoo.com . General information on Ham radio can be found at www.arrl.org.

Morse Code Net

The Tuesday night (1830 hrs) CW net on the 146.910 KB1NEB repeater is off to a great start! Phil N1EP has taken the reigns and is leading a few brave(!?) souls down the Morse Code path. I will admit that personally its a real fun trip, and I can see myself sitting out on Monhegan in August throwing the dits and dahs!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

CW (Morse Code) Training Net

Image result for morse code key

The CW Training Net begins next Tuesday at 1830 hours (6:30pm) on the Hancock County EMCOMM Repeater 146.910- (PL 151.4) This will be a weekly net except for when I am out of the area, unless another CW operator volunteers to fill in for me.
We will begin from scratch and the first letters we will learn and practice are a, n, e, t, i, m, o, s
We will see how much we can squeeze into a half hour session. I will do periodic callup for check-ins. IF you plan to just listen, keep in mind that if I have no check-ins, I will not do the net. I cannot broadcast like ARRL W1AW does because I do not have an exemption from the 2-way communication rules.
If you have not done so already, please send me an email if you are interested in this net and I will add you to theCW Training Net  list. That way if I have net items to share I don't have to bother everyone in my ham radio listing, such as I am doing now, hi hi.
The 91 repeater is interfaced with Echolink, so even though there is a delay with the audio, it should work if you are away and would like to participate. The echolink is N1CJS-L node 768827.
Please share this email so that others in the area interested in learning the Morse Code will know about the net. Thanks.
73~ Phil Duggan N1EP

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Only 177 Days Until Field Day!


Greeting everyone! Hope that everyone had a great Christmas and got all those Ham Radio related goodies you wrote down as very broad hints to “Santa”! New Year’s is behind us and time to get moving on the path to a active and successful amateur radio year. Just a reminder of a couple events……this coming Saturday, January 7th at 0900hrs is the monthly EAWA Breakfast at Denny’s here in Ellsworth. If you plan on attending contact Phil, N1EP at phil.n1ep@gmail.com  ASAP to confirm. Next Thursday, the12th is the monthly meeting of the EAWA at 1800 hours in the Phase 4 Community Room of Meadow View Apartments located at 25 Tweedie Lane in Ellsworth where this month we elect a new slate of officers.  Also there is talk of discussing “Winter Field Day” coming up in a few weeks if people are interested.  Then we have the start of the ever popular “Sunday Sessions” at the same location as the EAWA meetings starting on January 22nd 12/1-whenever. Bring a project you are working on (if power is needed bring extension cord and if you are soldering bring something protective to cover table with under your project please), bring your questions you want to throw out to the group and most of all…bring your coffee! We look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming events!!