Friday, September 08, 2017

Amateur radio prepares for Irma, Jose, Katia

 From ARRL Letter:


W1AW at ARRL HQ will be in monitoring mode through Saturday and will activate on Sunday. Ham Aid equipment has been deployed to the West Central Florida Section, where ARES teams in at least three counties are ready to support shelter communication.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated on September 5, and by mid-week was watching three hurricanes -- Category 5 Irma; Category 1 José, following behind Irma, and Category 1 Katia in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It now looks like the Hurricane Watch Net will be working on two land-falling hurricanes," said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. "Over the next few days, Irma will affect Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida."

"José could affect the northern Leeward Islands Saturday or Sunday as a Category 2 Hurricane. Katia is forecast to make landfall on the coast of Mexico as a Category 2 Hurricane late Friday evening or early Saturday morning.

The HWN's primary frequency is 14.325 MHz, and its nighttime frequency is 7.268 MHz, although the net could operate on both frequencies simultaneously. Graves said the net, which marks its 52nd anniversary this week, would remain in continuous operation until further notice.

The 5-day projected track of Hurricane Irma as of the morning of September 7. Click on graphic to update. [NOAA graphic]

The VoIP Hurricane Net activated on September 5 -- as did WX4NHC at the NHC. Both the HWN and the VoIP Hurricane Network relay hurricane "ground-truth" information via WX4NHC to the NHC to assist forecasters. Any Amateur Radio operators in the affected area of Irma or with relays into the affected area of Irma are asked to provide surface and damage reports into the VoIP Hurricane Net for relay into WX4NHC.

SKYWARN Nets active as Irma moves through the Caribbean can pass reports to the VoIP Hurricane Net for relay into WX4NHC and are asked to designate a net liaison or connect directly to the *WX_TALK* EchoLink conference node: 7203/IRLP 9219. Stations on AllStar can connect to the EchoLink side of the system by dialing *033007203.

IARU Region 2 Emergency Coordinator Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, compiled a list of emergency frequencies, subject to change, for use in the Caribbean in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Radio amateurs not involved with the emergency should avoid these frequencies.

    Puerto Rico: 3.803, 3.808, 7.188 MHz. Radio amateurs in Puerto Rico also will cooperate with the HWN on 7.268 and 14.325 MHz.

    Cuba: Days, 7.110 MHz (primary) and 7.120 MHz (secondary); Provincial Net -- 7.045, 7.080 MHz, and on other lower frequencies as necessary. Nights, 3.740 MHz (primary) and 3.720 MHz (secondary), and on other lower frequencies as necessary.

    Dominican Republic: 3.873 MHz (primary), 3.815 MHz (secondary), 7.182 MHz (primary), 7.255 MHz (secondary); 14.330 MHz (primary), 21.360 MHz (primary), 28.330 MHz (primary).

    Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN): 3.815 MHz and 7.162 MHz (when necessary). The net has activated continuously until the hurricane passes through.

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) encouraged its operators to start monitoring the HWN. On Wednesday, September 6, the International SATERN SSB Net moved to a Delta II (extended monitoring) status from 1400 until 2300 UTC. SATERN National Liaison Bill Feist, WB8BZH, said that schedule could hold through the end of the week. Stations on the net will seek information on emergency, priority, or health-and-welfare traffic, situation and hurricane damage, and communication disruptions. SATERN will not accept health-and-welfare inquiries.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that several FEMA Regions would activate the 5 MHz/60-meter interoperability frequencies in support of a possible response to Hurricane Irma. Direct communication between federal and amateur stations is permitted. FEMA stations are:

    Region 1 -- KF1EMA

    Region 2 -- KF2EMA (includes Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands)

    Region 3 -- KF3EMA

    Region 4 -- KF4EMA

    Region 6 -- KF6EMA

    Maynard MERS -- NF1EMA

    Thomasville MERS -- NF4EMA

    Denton MERS -- NF6EMA

These suppressed-carrier reference frequencies -- also known as dial frequencies or window frequencies -- 5330.5 kHz (voice), 5346.5 kHz (data), 5357.0 kHz, 5371.5 kHz, and 5403.5 kHz, may be used as part of the event. The FEMA point of contact is Dave Adsit, KG4BIR, FEMA Spectrum Manager, (540) 272-4605.

The FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) reminded licensees this week that FCC rules address operation during emergencies. "These rules allow licensees to provide emergency communications during a period of emergency in a manner or configuration not specified in the station authorization or in the rules governing such stations," the FCC said. The FCC contact for Part 97 (Amateur Service) rules is Mike Regiec, (717) 338-2603. During non-business hours, contact the FCC Operations Center, (202) 418-1122.

Updates on storm-related Amateur Radio activity are posted on the ARRL Hurricane Irma page.