EC-001 Classroom Version Starting in January - (Posted: 12/19/2019)
The next Southern New Jersey Section offering of the "Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications" will be held in Atlantic County starting January 7th 2020. The course will consist of four instructional sessions on January 7, 14, 21, 28 and final assessment administrated on February 4. Instructional sessions are scheduled to start at 6 pm and end by 9 pm. The final assessment is scheduled to start at 6 pm and end when you have completed the exam, grading and receive completion certificate.
The location will be the Anthony “Tony” Canale Training Center, 5033 English Creek Ave., Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234.
Registration should be completed, as soon as possible, so that course participant guides and be sent prior to the start of the course.
Anyone interested in attending should send their name, call, and email address to WB2ALJ@arrl.net.
Please Note: This is the only ARRL/ARES course required for Level II and ICS course prerequisites are not required to take the classroom offering of the course.
Any questions should be addressed to WB2ALJ.
Ocean County ARES Supports the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon - (Posted: 11/12/2019)
On October 27th, Tom Devine WB2ALJ and Tim Tonnesen NJ2N drove to Washington DC to
join over 140 other Ham Radio Operators in support of the 44th Marine Corps Marathon.
The Marathon's Organizers used the ICS Command Structure to run operations. This allowed
the Event Staff, Military and Law Enforcement, Medical Services and Volunteers to work seamlessly as
one united team. The Planning, Logistics and Operations Branches were clearly visible during the race
-- and no doubt, Finance was lurking somewhere in the background. After all our online studying, it
was pretty impressive seeing how well ICS works in the real world.
The marathon course was broken up into three operational nets: Race A, B & C. There were
also: Talk-In/Talk-Out nets; back up repeaters; and a bevy of Simplex frequencies available -- all with
Tactical Callsigns. The weather was wet and the repeater reception was prone to static, but everyone
Operators were positioned at approximately 1 mile intervals, at the Water Stops and Aid
Stations. We started off cheering the race leaders, but as soon as the pack arrived, everyone focused on
spotting injured runners and any other possible problems on the course.
One of the smartest ideas that the Ham Organizers had was to publish a CHIRP file of the
Event Frequencies prior to the race. This was a huge help to the OCARES operators, who were unable
to test their radios in advance. Ocean County ARES has already adopted this idea and made a .csv file
of our county repeaters and Simplex frequencies, along with their Tactical Callsigns. The file can be
"cut and pasted" into most programming software. There are two benefits to this method: New
members can easily load our frequencies without errors. Also, any groups from outside our area,
responding in support of OCARES, can quickly and easily load our frequencies in advance and
communicate on our nets using our pre-designated Tactical Calls. (More info on this to come.)
Another new wrinkle for this year's marathon was the use of US National Grid coordinates to
locate injured runners and disruptions on the course. We used a 201Kb smartphone app called
USNGapp (available FREE on Google Play). With it, we could determine a position to within ~100
feet with only two sets of 3 numbers (within ~10 feet with 4 and 4). USNG is derived from the
military's Military Grid Reference System and has been officially adopted by FEMA and the National
Search and Rescue Committee as their primary coordinate reference system. Check it out; it easy to
use, eliminates any Lat/Long or GPS coordinate confusion and is incredibly easy to send in ARRL
radiogram format. (Figures XXX, Figures XXX)
Headsets were required for all field operators. Their purpose was twofold: to mitigate crowd
and entertainment noise, and to keep communications private. Foldable shooting ear muffs, worn over
earpieces, were recommended to cancel out even more noise. However, they made it difficult to talk to
anyone face to face.
Other highlights were:
- An AREDN (Amateur Radio Digital Emergency Network) mesh network was used to relay medical information to and from Aid Stations.
- Ham Operators shadowed Marine Division Commanders. The course was divided into 7 "Divisions" with a Marine Corps Officer in charge of each. They were free to roam their section as they saw fit, both on foot and mobile. This required some flexibility from their Ham "shadow".
- RAIN!!! Monsoon-like conditions did not deter the runners, but posed an electronic challenge for the hams. OCARES opted to snip a corner out of a quart Ziplock slider bag for an HT antenna. It was sealed with flexible 3M electrical tape. Headset wires ran out the bottom of the zipper. Hats, hoods and raingear kept everything from floating away.
- We also got to work with some new hams. This was their first event and they were somewhat apprehensive. We helped them decide what to report and how to report it. Then they passed the bulk of the position's traffic, and had a great time doing it. Little pointers were also discussed, such as paying attention to the runners' condition: Were they stumbling, disoriented or limping? In some areas it's easy for a runner to veer off the course or sit down behind a tree, where they can go unnoticed but still be in need of care. These are important things to watch out for. Working a marathon is much more than just watching a race with a radio in hand.
All in all, we had a great time -- despite the soggy weather. The Ham effort was very
professional and extremely well run. It was a pleasure to work with so many dedicated fellow hams
from the Mid Atlantic Region. And we look forward to doing it again next year!
The Marine Corps Marathon averages 30,000 runners and 100,000 spectators every year.
Ham communications are crucial not only to runner well-being, but also course safety. In this day and
age (and especially in our nation's capital), attention had to be paid to any suspicious packages or
persons along or around the course as well. This was the first event we've worked where we were not
only told to get familiar with our assigned position, but also to make note of places of cover and
concealment should something go dreadfully wrong. This above all else made being the "eyes and
ears" on the course worthwhile.
We hope to get more SNJ Section Hams involved for next year's marathon. Anyone interested
can email OCARES at: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next year!
Promote your radio club’s age and history by joining the Amateur Radio Club QSO Party on October 19 and 20 - (Posted: 10/14/2019)
Amateur radio operators in New Jersey and other parts of the US will participate in the 3rd annual Amateur Radio Club QSO Party that is scheduled to take place Saturday, Oct 19th 18:00 UTC through Sunday, Oct 20th 17:59 UTC.
Created and sponsored by the South Jersey Radio Association K2AA in 2016 to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary, the event is now in its third year and encourages the activation of all club stations through the promotion of each radio club’s unique age and history.
Throughout the event you’ll hear amateur radio operators call CQ using their callsign, followed by a forward slash, age in years of their club, followed by the club acronym. For example, you may hear CQ de K2AA / 103 + SJRA to signify K2AA calling CQ from a club that is 103 years old with an acronym of SJRA (South Jersey Radio Association).
The event, which may take place using any mode, most amateur bands, and may include repeaters, does encourage participants to ragchew about their club’s age and history, as well as encourage amateur operators to join one or more local clubs to enhance their enjoyment of the amateur radio hobby.
For more information and the complete list of rules for clubs wishing to compete in the event, please visit SJRA.org or contact clubQSO@SJRA.org.