Southern New Jersey 2019 Simulated Emergency Test
The Southern New Jersey Section is planning to participate in the National Simulated Emergency Test (SET) on October 5th. The Section-wide Simulated Emergency Test goals are to:
The SNJ Section SET objectives are derived from the 2019 Section Emergency Operations Plan “Potential Challenges” defined earlier this year.
Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) is an operating strategy to use for high frequencies coverage ranging up to 500 miles. NVIS operating strategy is ideal for short range emergency communication when coverage area is beyond VHF capabilities. NVIS has been used for military operations for decades. It is used by the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS), and by many ARES/RACES teams to communicate within a Section, State, or region.
SNJ Section members have been researching and experimenting with the NVIS strategy to communicate among all nine counties. This article is designed to share some of the research and best practices learned from other efforts. Hopefully, it simulates you or your team to investigate NVIS.
What is Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS)?
NVIS strategy encompasses multiple antenna configurations that all radiate HF radio signals off the ground or other object to the ionosphere that reflects the signal back to earth within a coverage range of 0 to 500 miles. This article will discuss some of the NVIS antenna configurations and provide some other sources of information for investigation.
Why select NVIS strategy?
NVIS is selected as an emergency communication strategy for coverage up to 500 miles where VHF cannot be used because; 1) close to ground signal radiated to the ionosphere and reflects back to earth within a coverage range of 0 to 500 miles, and 2) signal to noise ratios are significantly lower than standard dipole antennas at normal heights above ground. This makes the NVIS strategy excellent for section or statewide emergency communications as used in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Experimentation has shown communication within the SNJ Section and with adjacent sections is possible using 80 meters during most times of the day. Digital has been found more effective than voices in that it requires less output power for emergency operations.
Four basic NVIS antenna configurations:
Low Level Inverted “V”
One antenna configuration that applies the NVIS strategy is an inverted “V” antenna mounted approximately 15 feet above ground at the center and 8 feet above ground on the ends of commonly feed 40- and 80-meter diploes. Both 40- and 80-meters dipoles are connected to common feedline and positioned perpendicular to each other at the center support as a means of ensuring mast support. Some installations have positioned the 40/80-meter diploes in the same direction achieving excellent result in the coverage ranges. There are homebrew and commercial versions, commonly referred AS-2259 NVIS Antenna, utilizing coils to allow operation within amateur frequencies rather than military.
This photo of WX2NJ’s installation of a NVIS using 60- and 80- meter dipoles, construction details are within the ‘For More Information’ below.
Chalk-Line Low Level
Another approach uses a ¼ wave long wire of approximately 70 feet for 80-meters wound up inside of construction chalk-line spool. (Irwin Strait Line #1932887 seem to be a good choice.) The chalk-line spool enables easy storage, installation, and transportation to remote sites, since a couple can be carried in backpack with the radio. The antenna length can be adjusted for different frequencies without using an antenna turner. One application of the chalk-line is a single ¼ wave long wire attached to a vehicle, using it as counterpoise connection to coax shield with the chalk-line element setup about 3 feet above the ground. The end is usually attached to piece of PVC pipe or another object. Reflective ties/flags are attached to the chalk-line element as a safety measure. The chalk-line installation can be set up in a few minutes. The antenna configuration achieved excellent communications within 0 to 500 miles using 5 to 20 watts of power, ideal for emergency operations.
This photo shows NJ2N’s installation of a “Chalk-line 1/4 wave NVIS used for 80-meters that could be shortened for other frequencies with a few turns on the chalk-line spool.
When a vehicle is not available of the counterpoise, especially in portable locations, two chalk-lines can be interconnected forming a dipole antenna mount about to 3 feet above the ground. Similar performance results have been achieved with the chalk-line dipole as other NVIS designs.
Low Level Long Wire
An approximate ¼ wave long wire of approximately 70 feet for 80-meters strung from vehicle antenna mount out about 70 feet about 3 feet above the ground also provide an excellent NVIS antenna. It is easily installed and provides excellent operating performance within 0 to 500 miles.
This installation by WX2NJ’s uses the vehicle as a counterpoise with the element resting on an insulator as it is positioned for operation.
A tiled vertical antenna NVIS approach, used by military, was tested by a SNJ Section ham. This approach consists of a tilted over vertical antenna to a 45 or less degrees position off the back of a vehicle. The antenna reflects the signal off the ground skyward. The tilted vertical is extremely easy to setup in a very short time. The installation operating performance tests have proven positive for communications within the 0 to 500 miles range. While signal strength levels from the tilted vertical were slightly lower than the prior applications of the NVIS Inverted “V”, Chalk-line, and Long wire.
The photo the mobile vehicle tilt over technique, test by NJ2N.
If you interested in more information about NVIS strategy for use of HF coverage within 0 to 500 miles that is beyond VHF coverages investigate and experiment.
For more information:
Thank you to the following for assisting with the article WX2NJ, NJ2N, and N2RPQ, plus the following for assisting the testing NVIS applications KB2RUV, NJ2N, WX2NJ, K2HVE, N2LD, and N2XW.
By Rick Kennard, N2RPQ
The Southern NJ Training Team recently completed their EC-001 pilot class. Nine students attended the initial classes. All the students earned their EC-001 certification.
The classroom version of EC-001 takes the online material as its base and uses the instructor’s knowledge of the subject along with their personal experiences to elaborate on each topic. It was designed for those who prefer the classroom environment over that of online training. The initial pilot class was held over 5 nights with the first 4 being instruction and the final night being the testing. We anticipate adjusting this schedule now that the pilot class has shown us where we need to expand or condense certain topics.
The team is planning on hosting additional course in different areas of the Southern NJ section in the future. We would like to thank the Ocean County Sherriff’s department for graciously offering their Emergency Operations Center Training Room for us to conduct this class.
The team is additionally just completing the curriculum for EC-016. In the near future we plan on holding a pilot class for that program as well.
For information on either of the classes please contact Tom Devine, Section Emergency Coordinator at WB2ALJ@arrl.net.
Please join me in congratulating our graduates!
The current SNJ Training Team consists of:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, ARES, and SKYWARN Amateur Radio volunteers were promptly pressed into action as a storm system on July 23 produced severe thunderstorms that spawned three tornadoes over the Cape. Hurricane-force wind also resulted in significant tree and utility wire damage across Cape Cod, with particularly hard-hit communities including Hyannis, Yarmouth, and Chatham. Some pockets of wind damage also occurred in the northwest corner of Martha’s Vineyard.
Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotters were the first to provide critical ground truth information regarding the significant wind damage and tornadoes across Cape Cod. Under the direction of Cape Cod District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O, and Eastern Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, a SKYWARN net ran for several hour on a Barnstable, Massachusetts, VHF repeater. Numerous damage reports were received during the net and for a couple hours after the storm had passed.
At that point, Amateur Radio operations shifted to an ARES net supporting communications between a shelter at the Dennis-Yarmouth School and the Barnstable County Emergency Operations Center, which serves as the Multiagency Coordination Center (MACC).
“Dozens of reports of trees and wires down and some structural damage reports were received during the SKYWARN net, and Amateur Radio operators supported initial damage assessment in the hardest hit areas and provided photos and videos that were shared via social media and other outlets,” Macedo said. “This provided critical situational awareness and disaster intelligence information to the National Weather Service (NWS), state emergency management, and local media outlets, and helped to diagnose the areas for NWS meteorologists to survey to determine whether a tornado or straight-line wind damage occurred.”
ARES support for the Dennis-Yarmouth shelter as well as Amateur Radio operations at the Barnstable County MACC continued around the clock, with six radio amateurs engaged in shelter and EOC communications over the course of about 2 days. The severe weather knocked out power for some 53,000 customers on Cape Cod, and it took utilities several days to repair the damage and restore service.
“Traffic that was handled was on the logistics of taking care of people who stayed in the shelter until power restoration efforts were near completion,” O’Laughlin explained.
A NWS-Norton survey team consisting of several meteorologists surveyed the damage and confirmed three tornadoes on Cape Cod in addition to destructive straight-line winds. The three tornadoes hit in West Yarmouth, Yarmouth, and Harwich. Since tornado records have been kept, starting in 1950, only three tornadoes were recorded on Cape Cod up until last year, highlighting the rarity of the July 23 weather event. — Thanks to Rob Macedo, KD1CY
The 30-day deadline to submit ARRL Field Day entries via app upload and (timely postmarked) USPS mail is now past, and the ARRL Contest Branch reports 3,070 entries have been logged into the system. Last year saw 2,903 entries. ARRL Radiosport and Field Services Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, said the total does not include entries postmarked by July 23 and still in transit. A number of entries still show a status of “PENDING.” These include 280 incomplete entries that are missing the required list of call signs by band/mode (also known as a “Dupe Sheet”), or a Cabrillo file.
“This requirement is to ensure that claimed contact totals do not include duplicate contacts on the same band and mode,” Jahnke said. “These entries, if not complete, may end up as check logs in the final listings.”
An additional 191 entries are missing something other than Dupe Sheets. “These entries are complete,” Jahnke explained. “Their scores at present are not benefitting from certain bonuses, for which documentation is still outstanding,” he said. “Confirmation for entries submitted online using the web app include a link to update your entry. If ARRL generated the entry from paper, or if you are unable to update your entry, submit pending documentation via email, and the Contest Branch will update your entry, assuming that documentation/photos confirm the bonus points claimed.”
Updates are permitted until August 23. After that, all entries as of that moment will be considered final. Results will appear in the December 2019 issue of QST. Jahnke encouraged groups to separately submit photos with captions for possible inclusion in QST. Individuals should be identified by names and call signs, and any subject younger than 18 years old will require a signed publication release. Photos should have a minimum resolution of 250 kB.
ARRL member-volunteers will be part of the excitement as the 2019 International Experimental Aircraft Association annual AirVenture show gets under way this week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The show runs from July 22 until July 29. This year marks the 50th anniversary of EAA AirVenture, which drew more than 600,000 visitors and 10,000 aircraft last year. The ARRL exhibit highlights radio communications, encouraging pilots and aviation enthusiasts to discover the many facets of Amateur Radio and to expand their interest in technology. ARRL Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, organized the booth (#2152 in Hangar B) and all-volunteer team.
“This is a great opportunity to show off Amateur Radio at such a large-scale event,” Inderbitzen said. “There’s a kindship among the aviation and Amateur Radio communities. In addition to introducing newcomers to ham radio, we met over 600 ham-pilots at last year’s AirVenture.” (See “Growing Amateur Radio, One Pilot at a Time,” January 2019, QST, pp. 77 – 80.)
Icom America and EAA Warbirds of America have organized special event station W9W, which will be on the air all week from AirVenture. Look for W9W on 40 through 10 meters and on VHF and UHF. The station will be set up against the backdrop of the display of historic and vintage ex-military aircraft.
Members of the Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club (FCARC) are operating W9ZL from the nearby Pioneer Airport. The station is located within KidVenture, which is filled with activities for children and youth attending AirVenture. (See the ARRL Special Events database for further details about W9ZL and W9W.)
Tying in with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, EAA AirVenture will host Apollo 11 crew member Michael Collins on Friday, July 26, as the event’s featured guest. Joining Collins during the evening program at Theater in the Woods will be Apollo Program astronaut Joe Engle.