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Friday, February 28, 2014

Arkansas 2013 Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Report - Erratum

The Arkansas 2013 Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Report contained a factual error which was not corrected.

It stated the following: " individual who "self-deployed" NX5MK Marcus in Little Rock. ..."

May the following serve as the correction.

From: Marcus NX5MK
Subject: ArkansasSimulatedEmergencyTest(SET)2013
Date: 26 November 2013 22:45:36 CST
To: Diane Meador KD5QNN (AEC Pulaski County)
CC: Dale Temple W5RXU (SM)

Hi Diane,

Thank you for the nice after action report on the 2013 SET. Please allow me to correct one detail, which I did send Wayne as attached below, but I guess it did not make it to Dale before he sent out his newsletter today; I have CC’ed Dale in this email for his information.

I did not “self-deploy”, I deployed as local CERT auxcomm after having received permission to build relationship with local firefighters, in accordance with the 2013 SET: roads impassable, all comms down, in turn in accordance with the most recent National ARES Newsletter from Nov 20th, 2013:
"Localization of Response," CERT on Long Island
"Our deployment protocol for an event is based on the member's proximity to a key location (fire house, police station, EOC, et cetera). On an as-needed basis, each member will cover the location closest to their QTH -- usually less than one mile away. Only the EC and AEC's operate net control from the EOC. We don't want amateur operators driving around in hazardous conditions.”

Seems like a common sense approach. I live less than a mile from my fire station. You won’t believe how appreciate my local firemen were.

Wish there were some HAMs near to the agency which I serve and work at, which is UAMS. Credentialing, background check, specific training for hospital environment etc. could just not be performed during an emergency, ARES would have to be turned back at present. We would welcome any HAM stepping forward and offering their support to our patients at UAMS. If there is an interest from ARES, I would be the contact person for HAMs@UAMS, which currently has 10 HAMs on the roster throughout our institution. Thank you for your consideration.

Allow me to ask some question which I did not glean from your after action report:
- did you at the Red Cross erect a new HF antenna, given that the ice storm brought all antennas down? Would love to exchange ideas and experience. My HF set-up as described under following link worked fine:
- did you run VHF simplex (for same reason that all antennas were simulated as being down)?
- will there be any movement towards HF/VHF digital nets in our county in the near future?

Best regards and Happy Thanksgiving,

vy 73 de Marcus NX5MK
Apparare Scientior Paratus Communicare

Begin forwarded message:

From: Marcus NX5MK
Subject: Marcus NX5MK: Arkansas Simulated Emergency Test (SET) 2013
Date: 18 November 2013 21:19:48 GMT-6
To: Berry Wayne A. Sr.  (STM)

Hi Wayne,

I wanted to take the opportunity and give feedback on my setup for the SET this year, thank you for organizing it!
Please follow link to my blog entry and please feel free to forward.

Would you happen to know if others also documented their setup with photos or else? Would love to learn how others powered their stations and put up new antennas given the scenario.

With best regards,
vy 73 de Marcus NX5MK

Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio - in Texas

You all may find the information of the following Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR) group in Texas interesting.

NTX Rapid Deploy Communications Assistance Group

Thursday, February 27, 2014

ARRL Field Day 2014

The Arkansas Radio Emergency Services Club has elected me as Field Day Coordinator / Incident Commander for the club's ARRL Field Day 2014 event.

Major objective for our club for this event will be the training in the NIMS ICS, in compliance with the AUXFOG.

All interested individuals, Amateur Radio licensed or not, are invited to join in, have some fun, and gain some experience in the Incident Command System, which can readily be applied to all events of daily life, which may be of any type, scope or complexity. Amateur Radio operators are a great bunch of people and there is fun to be had by all.

Tonight, I became acquainted with ICS Form 202 and 205A and put them to good use for our Field Day event.

Please send your request for further information by commenting to this blog, I will handle your contact details confidentially.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pacemakers and Amateur Radio

Discussion began a few days ago on the HFPack group regarding Amateur Radio operators and pacemakers. There is too much info to summarize here. Please see

Please do not forget that it is not only about the pacemaker itself. The electrode leads to the heart also act like antennas, can heat up under RF exposure and "cook" the cardiac muscle if heated up too hot.

Do your due diligence on what is allowable by following the above links.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weather charts via HF

WeFax, also known as Radiofax, HF FAX, radiofacsimile or weatherfax, is a method of transmitting weather charts via HF radio waves. This is likely no news for the avid sailor, but for us land rats, it may still be new. Those of us Amateur Radio operators, who enjoy Rapidly Deployable Amateur Radio (RaDAR), may find this of special interest. Consider being disconnected from normal news channels to inform you about the weather, well - this may just be it for you. 

Weather charts from across the world are being transmitted daily and they do not only cover the high seas. What made it special for me today was that I downloaded an app on my iPad from the Apple store, called HF Fax. I then held the iPad close to the loudspeaker of my transceiver and there came the weather chart! Great fun :)

Below is an example.

73 de Marcus NX5MK

Friday, February 7, 2014

Portable solar-, hand-crank, wind-, water-power in a backpack size...

...sound too good to be true? You might be in for a surprise!

If you go RaDAR, you owe it to yourself to...

Go here:
and also see this:

I have searched around and have run trials with various equipment for some time now, solar panels, various hand cranks, charge controllers, but have not found anything which is as all inclusive as this promises to be and most importantly - actually working. I look forward to the product launch and more detailed specifications scheduled for May 2014.

73 de Marcus NX5MK

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio Contest April 2014

The rules are announced. Spring is also only around the corner. High time to dust off the portable and pedestrian mobile amateur radio gear if you've taken or had to take a winter break. 

Mobile stations may want to plan their upgrades too, as they can participate too!

Yes, it's mostly a QRP contest for /P and /PM operators, but with a twist. Your pathfinding skills and physical endurance are (slightly) tested. So are your skills in rapidly deploying your antennas, HF, VHF or otherwise. Are you game for the 4 hour challenge? 

Less than two months to go to the first Saturday in April! 

73 de Marcus NX5MK

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Monthly RaDAR MeetUp, lessons learnt

Alpha Antenna loop Jr., 10W SSB, altitude 195m, USNG 15SWU523520

On 15m:

Copied G0SBW weak but readable to unreadable. I believe Thomas copied my call sign in its entirety. Heard several additional stations calling CQ RaDAR, but call signs unreadable except for VA3KOT who was strong and clear.

I then listened a lot for the other stations checking in and did not call CQ RaDAR too often, as I heard stations (but did not have clear copy on them) and did not wish to interfere. Oh, I did hear a female voice and guess it was Lucy?! But did not hear that female voice giving her call sign, copy was unreadable.

On 20m:

Then the time was up, 1700Z, and I tried to change to the 20m QRP frequency and ran into serious problems trying to tune up. Most significant problem was probably that I tried to tune with the help of my RigExpert AA54, with the batteries being low on power. I was just unable to get a SWR reading of under 10:1 with the AA54 connected directly (not tuning by noise floor via rig). Scanning the entire HAM HF band did not do the trick either. I then called Steven N0TES of AlphaAantennas, who was so kind to give me immediate and detailed assistance. He ran me through the trouble shooting with changing coax etc. until he advised that I should try to tune via noise floor first. Doing that (listening to where the noise was strongest while turning the loops tuning knob) I  turned it until I heard the strongest background noise on several bands, then just using my rigs internal tuner, not anymore trying to use the AA54 to fine tune, I got an SWR of under 1.8:1 on several bands.

By the time we had this worked out, it was 1810Z and lots of stations keyed up on the QRP frequencies, calling for the Minnesota QSO party. I tried for a few minutes to make another contact, but cutting through the QRO stations was to no avail. Also had to take off since family duties were awaiting me, I had my 2 hours plus of hamming outdoors for today... Tonight I will again key up as NCS for AHDNN.

Summary: had contact with G0SBW on 15m. Tuning with RigExpert AA54 with weak batteries did not allow me to properly tune for the 20m sched. With help from Steven N0TES, I worked out how I will tune up my (or should I say THEIR?!) loop in the future (listen for noise floor, then use internal tuner).  Thank you Steven for your immediate and patient help while trouble shooting! 

73 de Marcus NX5MK