Oakland County Amateur Radio Public Service Corp (ARPSC)
W8OAK Repeaters – 146.900 MHz/100pl & 444.325 MHz/107.2pl
Weekly 2 meter net 8 pm every Thursday
Hospital Radio Net – 7:30 pm last Thursday of Month
Packet 144.950 MHz/1200 baud, connects made with Oakxxx or
Callsign-# to OAKBBS (W8OAK-3) with nodes at
OAKNOD (N8NM-1 Pontiac – most coverage),
OAKEOC (W8OAK-7 at EOC) or K8DTX-7 (White Lake)
APRS – 144.390 MHz
Web Site: http://www.arpsc.com

Meeting Minutes for 5 October 2011

            On 5 October 2011 at 7 pm, Jim Richards - AB8JR, Emergency Coordinator (EC) for the Oakland County ARPSC, called the meeting to order in the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  The order of business included:

(I). Report from Steve Iannucci, Homeland Security Division – Oakland County:

            On Wednesday, 9 November 2011 at 2 pm, U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).   This EAS will be a national alert and a warning system test which enables the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies within 10 minutes.  This involves use of AM, FM and Land Mobile Radio Service, as well as VHF, UHF, cable television, and electronic devices.    A nationwide EAS has never been activated or tested before.  More information is available at http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=55722

            Steve was just notified that the “voter” for the 2 meter repeater has been shipped.  Once the voter is programed, its installation will be scheduled with Steve Murphy.    

(II).Report from the Emergency Coordinator (EC), Jim Richards - AB8JR:

            Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5K Race/Walk was held Sunday, 2 October 2011 with Fred Czubak – KD8CMD and Jim Richards – AB8JR heading up ham communication operations.    This year, net control had its operation center in the sheriff’s command vehicle.   Because the southeast end of the half marathon race is down in a valley, supplemental radio coverage was set up in Crittenton Hospital using that radio as a remote receive site for the W8OAK repeater for voice operations.  APRS was deployed on the Sheriff’s lead and tail vehicles for the event without support from a digipeater for the lower elevation section of the route.  Coverage was somewhat sporadic through a small section of the route.  For next year’s event, one volunteer’s mobile transceiver with digipeater capability will be set up in the southeast section of the route at his assigned post in downtown Rochester.    Digipeaters are another form of repeater used in amateur packet radio.  It operates by receiving and then retransmitting on the same frequency after a short delay.   At one point, Randy Love – WF5X was able to work our 2 meter repeater with a 30 milliwatt transceiver.   Jim Richards – AB8JR found two watts was enough until he was 2 miles west of I-75 on M-59.   Testing of APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) was also done.

Afterward, it was suggested our ARPSC might be useful assisting other communications; i.e. possibly at next year’s Festival of the Hills (Rochester Hills) on the 4th of July weekend.  This year’s festival fireworks were thought to be the second largest in Michigan.

Mike Smith – N8GUZ is still in the hospital and is looking forward to be discharged.  He says hello to everyone.  Jim asked Mike to begin putting together training programs for our ARPSC.    Myron Bordman – N8SMV became a silent key recently, but details are not known.     

             Last Saturday morning, 1 October 2011, our ARPSC took part in a National SET (Stimulated Test Exercise) which used NTS (National Traffic System) messaging.  The EOC received one message and then was put on standby.  In the meantime, an Oakland County NTS test messages were sent off to the State EOC through a HF (high frequency) transceiver using both phone and CW.    NTS messaging is a needed communication interface for emergency and other events, i.e. with health and welfare traffic probably being the greatest use.  Our local ARPSC needs to integrate the best from the NTS format into practical messaging needs.    

             Jim announced the appointment of Mark Shaw, K8ED, as the NTS liaison for Oakland County ARPSC.   Mark is very active on the SEMTN and checks in several times per week to send and receive traffic.

 (III). Presentation – NTS Traffic Handling by Jim Richards – AB8JR, EC and Mark Shaw – K8ED, NTS Liasion for Oakland County ARPSC: 

 This program was modified from a presentation by Grant Hayes – WB6OTS.  Briefly summarized, the National Traffic System (NTS) is a communication structure moving messages from origin to destination.  NTS has daily nets such as the Southeast Michigan Traffic Net on The Spirit of 76 repeater at 146.760/100pl at 10:15 pm every night.  Jim recommends members both listen and develop skills with this net.

This presentation was selected to coincide with the objectives of the October 1 SET which made exclusive use of the NTS system.    Jim explained that ARES and NTS systems are very different in their operating protocols but neither is any less important than the other and that all ARPSC operators should have at least a basic working  understanding of NTS protocol.    Jim further explained that each system serves different needs but that both ARES and NTS must work together to provide a broad, reliable communication system.

One messaging form is the ARRL Numbered Radiogram which permits up to 25 words of text, sometimes used with ARL numbers to shorten common phrases.  Examples on how to use the ARRL Radiogram will be posted on http://www.arpsc.com.  The ARL numbered texts are always spelled out in words, i.e. “ARL Forty Six.”   Traffic handling requires the use of standard phonetics, i.e. alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.  With numbers, there are two which need extra effort: Five is pronounced as “Fife” and Zero is “zero” and not “oh.” 

Each message is given a number, usually with the first number beginning at the first of the month, or year, or emergency event.  Precedence determines the urgency of the message and how fast it needs to be moved.  “Emergency” pertains to a life and death matter, is very rare, and the word “EMERGENCY” should be written in full.  “Priority” is 2nd highest where time is limited.  “Welfare and Health” messages are the 3rd most important and are commonly used for individuals in a disaster area.    “Routine” messages, the most common traffic text, have no urgency.   

Instead of punctuation marks in the text, the “x-ray” is used to end a sentence.  For a question, the word ‘query” may be used.  Both “x-ray” and “query” are counted as a word.  If a telephone number is used in the text, the area code, first three digits, and last four digits count each as a group.   Before a message is sent, check that the text group number agrees with the check in the preamble.  The signature identifies the person originating the message and needs to include a full address and telephone number.  One of the most common mistakes in traffic handling is not noting the receipt of message.  This says it got through to a certain level and one should log the time of receipt and the station from whom you received the message.       

(IV). AEC-Management Team Reports:

            (1). Report from Pete Gladysz – K8PGJ, Operations:

            Upcoming events include:

(i). Sunday, 16 October 2011 – Free Press International Marathon.  Ham volunteers are needed.  Contact John Roberts – N8WAQ.  Shannon Richardson – KD8ATI also has more information on this race.  Shannon states the race begins at 7 am and means hams will have to report earlier.  Hand-held transmitters will most likely be needed as one’s car may not be close enough to use.  The international part of the marathon means volunteers crossing the border will need a passport, passport card, or enhanced driver’s license. 

(ii). Saturday, 22 October 2011 – Winter Spotter Training, sponsored by Oakland County Homeland Security Division.  This is 10 am to noon at the Executive Office Building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, Michigan, 48328.

(iii). Sunday, 23 October 2011 – USECA Hamfest in Sterling Heights, Michigan. 
Website is http://www.usecaarc.com  

(iv). Friday – Saturday 27-28 January 2012 – Sno Drift Rally at Atlanta, Michigan.  Ham volunteers needed for communication via simplex or a possible repeater.   One will see emergency type communications at its best.  Pete runs this rally from the first car on the road.

(v). For any hams traveling to northern California, Pete recommends you take a HT (handheld transmitter) with you in case of state-wide problems such as fires.  There may be some interesting nets.  For instance, http://www.winsystem.org has an open repeater system covering a large area in California with repeater sites linked by internet. 

(vii). Ham Nation is a new TWIT show about ham radio Tuesdays at 9 pm eastern standard time.  

            (2). Report from Fred Czubak - KD8CMD, Administration

            Fred was in charge of the 2011 Brooksie Way Half Marathon and has made a personal list of recommendations for next year’s race.  One recommendation is to study more closely when the streets are closed, possibly narrowing the time when volunteers need to be at their posts.  This year’s Brooksie Way resulted in 236 volunteer hours.  This year’s third quarter totals for Oakland County ARPSC are 2007 hours, amounting to about $37,000 savings.   

            (3). Report from Jim A. Richards – AB8JR, substituting for Mike Vander Veer – KD8ATK, Net Operations: 

            More net control operators are needed and Jim assures new volunteers will get worthwhile opportunities.  Please contact Mike Vander Veer – KD8ATK.   

 (V). Specialty Officer/Coordinator Reports:

            (1). Report from Mike Nebel – N3BEL, Sirens:

             After the last siren test, only two more sirens and two school yards need checking for the first time this year.  These sirens are Addison AD-8 and Highland HGT-7.   Sirens near Maple Elementary of Walled Lake and Harrington School in Pontiac need playground loudness evaluated.  To volunteer, please contact the subnet operator located covering your area of interest.  After seven years assisting siren nets, Mike is resigning.  Also, this is the last year for Joe Miller – KJ8O, subnet operator for the Northeast Siren Net.  Both positions need new volunteers; and new volunteers will find useful techniques and people in place to help them make the work easier.  

             Jim, AB8JR, gave a warm thank you to Mike for his service and building the siren test net activity and process to a very efficient and well organized function.      

             (2). Report from Paul Hatfield – KE8UD, Hospital Communication Teams:

             22 September 2011 Hospital Net was held one week earlier, due to Rosh Hashanah.   Also, the upcoming November net will be held one week earlier on 17 November 2011 due to Thanksgiving Day.   The last Hospital Net had 16/18 hospital check-ins.  So far this year, there have been 181 check-ins from 71 different hams.

            (3). Report from Maurice Davidson – K8SJD, National Weather Service Liaison:

             September was the 4th wettest in history of Detroit, with the year 1986 being the worst.

 (VI). New and Other Items of Interest:

 (i). Jim Richards – AB8JR believes he is close to finding a source for logo shirts.

 (ii). Morrie Davidson – K8SJD states the ham radio display for the West Bloomfield Library will be in place 10 November 2011. 

 (iii). Sunday, 9 October 2011 – Rochester Crop (Hunger) Walk will have ham volunteers from the GM Club.

 (iv). (Already held) Sunday, 25 September 1011 – ARS Walk ‘n Roll at Kensington Metropark (Milford) had Larry Hornsby coordinating 10 ham volunteers.  

 Respectfully submitted,

James R. Murphy, N8SML

Secretary, Oakland County, ARPSC

6 October 2011

Corrected and approved by Jim Richards, AB8JR, EC