ARRL - SNJ

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SNJ WinLink Project - (Posted: 12/04/2022)

SNJ WINLINK PROJECT – What, Why, and How to Learn More!

Emergency communications messaging has been changing due to the increased content, the need for more accuracy on first exchange, and desire for increase speed so that more messages can be handled in less time. The shift of the majority of emergency communications formal message to WINLINK digital mode has been proposed for Southern New Jersey. The National Traffic system is also planning to increase digital message handling.

What & Why of WINLINK?

WINLINK was initially designed for communication by boating community utilizing radio high frequency digital messaging. Over time it has evolved into a digital mode utilized by emergency communicators, including ARES, RACES, AUXCOM, SHARES, and multiple served agencies. The primary reason for WINLINK’s popularity is its flexibility. Users can send digital messages to gateway servers via several modes, such as Telnet (internet), packet, mess network (ARDEN), or VARA. The gateways can be configured to receive one or multiple HF, VHF, and/or UHF. Digipeater can be set up and positioned geographically to relay messages among operators, Gateways, and RMS (radio message servers) that can process messages to other stations.

Example, during an emergency/disaster affecting limited area, States, Island or group of States, messages handled within the affected through RF or relayed to gateways outside with internet connection. This allows amateur radio operators to handle serve disaster service providers, such as American Red Cross, FEMA and others, plus provide Health & Welfare traffic. If there is NO gateway available, messages can be stored at a local WINLINK radio message server (RMS), assuming it is set up with a “post office” feature. Others can pickup messages from the RMS “post office” using RF.

During 2022 SET operations several after action recommendations were received by SNJ leadership for shifting majority of formal traffic from voice to digital. A working group was formed to determine options to enhance the SNJ Section emergency communications formal traffic handing. Since WINLINK in various configurations, packet, VARA, and Telnet, are utilized by many County emergency communications teams, the working group focused on the possibility of linking the existing RMS sites in SNJ Section.  

The working group started with several steps to possibly link WINLINK digital communications:

  1. Conducted a WINLINK Data Collection asking for:
    1. The Call Sign, generic location, GPS locations, frequency, antenna height above sea level, VARA/PACKET, and power level of each WINLINK site, (4 teams provide responses.)
    2. The call signs of SNJ emergency communications leaders who had WINLINK capability, either Telnet and/or RF (5 teams provide responses.)
  2. Conducted experiment aligning frequencies and locations of digipeater so that more local teams could intercommunicate via WINLINK. To date progress has included:
    1. Moving WINLINK VARA FM Digipeater to site location at 300 foot above sea level in Ocean County.
    2. Installed WINLINK VARA FM Digipeater to site location at in Chatsworth/Woodland Township Burlington County.
    3. Place the WINLINK VARA FM RMSs and Digipeater on the same frequency at sites in Atlantic, Burlington, and Ocean counties.
    4. Added APRS ID: CHATSW on 144.390 in Chatsworth/Woodland Township Burlington County to serve Sothern Ocean, Burlington, parts of Atlantic that were negative affected when one of the Digipeaters used a prior APRS site.

Technical Note:

VARA FM was selected since it operates at high speeds transferring messages rapidly and can be repeated by digipeaters. VARA-FM’s higher speeds seem to reduce wait times and allow more traffic to be handled.

Initial Results have indicated increasing WINKLINK overage among stations in currently tested Counties. However, your use of the WINLINK RMSs and Digipeaters is requested to determine the SNJ Section-wide coverage area and practical application in emergencies. Please try them, feedback can be sent to WB2ALJ@arrl.net!

How to Learn More? 

The SNJ WINLINK Project working group desire your assistances for the future:

  1. Wants each operator to look at the attached videos and suggested website on WINLINK and send additional questions on subjects you desire more knowledge on to WB2ALJ@arrl.net who will relay to the working group.
  2. Consider joining the SNJ WINKLINK Wednesday events announced every Tuesday on SNJEMCOM@groups.io after you have a WINLINK account. The SNJ WINKLINK Wednesday events can be done using a computer via internet connection. Then shift over to RF mode. (SNJ WINKLINK Wednesday facilitated by Tim- NJ2N SNJ ASEC-ARMAT)
  3. Start using the SNJ WINKLINK VARA FM Digipeaters, especially send messages to other emergency communicators within SNJ Sections. The frequency of the SNJ WINKLINK VARA FM digipeaters are on 145.010 MHz. Current site locations are WA2RES-14 Barnegat Township - Ocean County, AC2NJ-15 Egg Harbor Township – Atlantic County, and NJ1SP-14 Chatsworth/Woodland Township – Burlington County. Also try the APRS ID: CHATSW on 144.390.

Future information:

Videos:

 

Website: www.winlink.org (Site provides general information and allows downloading of WINLINK software.)

Please investigate and consider contributing to these efforts.

Thank you for your service to SNJ amateur radio emergency communications.


2022 Simulated Emergency Test for SNJ is announced - (Posted: 09/22/2022)

Southern New Jersey Section of amateur radio emergency service operators has scheduled to participation in the National Simulated Emergency Test, Saturday October 1st 2022. County amateur radio emergency service teams annual participate in the event are to identify their strengths and weakness of providing backup emergency communications for served agencies, such as local offices of emergency management, National Weather Service, and American Red Cross, when normal commercial communication systems are disrupted or overloaded.

This year’s Section Simulated Emergency Test scenario will focus on band of severe thunderstorms with embedded tornados and derechos is approaching SNJ Section from the Mid-West at the same time as an astronomical high tide is forecasted along the Atlantic Coast. These severe storms have caused significant damage and disruption of transportation, power, internet, and other critical services in the Mid-West. 

Preliminary weather predictions indicate server storm band will affect entire region from Virginia to New Year. Forecasters are anticipating flash flooding from rain falls up to 3-5 inches per hour in isolated locations, high straight-line winds in the range of 70 to 90 mph, and possible tornadoes/waterspouts.

During the compressed time simulation exercise, County Liaison Stations will monitor Section Traffic Network or alternated frequency and picking up messages related to their County so that the local teams can take appropriate actions for serves agencies. The inject incident messages may affect all Counties, a group of Counties, or a single County, the same as bands of severe weather typically affect Southern New Jersey.

The exercise will assume disruption of electrical power, internet, and limited to no cellular service. Amateur operators will only have the use of radio frequencies for communications.

All Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) members are encouraged to contact their County Emergency Coordinator in advance to indicate your desire to participate for the compressed exercise, starting at 0830 ending prior to Noon on Saturday October 1st.

If you are not Amateur Radio Emergency Services member and desire join a local team, please contact Tom – WB2ALJ@arrl.net .


NEAR-FEST XXX is ON! - (Posted: 10/01/2021)

NEAR-FEST XXX is ON!  We are looking forward to seeing all our friends, new and old, after a very long two-year absence at Deerfield at 0900 on Friday October 15th.

Although there are no state or local mandates we want everybody to feel safe at NEAR-Fest.  We are asking all attendees to bring their own preferred masks and hand sanitizer.   PLEASE respect the wishes of others and wear a mask when inside any of our buildings and observe a 10’ or 2m distance from others whenever possible.  We also request that you don your mask when interacting with any member of our staff, inside or outside.  They have expressed their concerns.  Remember if we didn’t have them we could not do NEAR-Fest! Kindly honor their wishes.

Tickets will be on sale at the gate.  Admission is $15 per person and $10 for inside parking which includes flea market selling space.  You can save $5 on your admission tickets if you buy them in advance.  They are available BY MAIL (do not mail later than Monday October 5th)Mail to NEAR-Fest, 316 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead MA 01945, checks or money order payable to NEAR-Fest and a self-addressed stamped envelope.  Also available in person at Ham Radio Outlet in Salem NH and at Ross W1EKG’s clock shop, 40 Walnut Street in Whitman MA.

We look forward to our “Grand Homecoming”.  It has been a very long two years.