Posted Jun 22, 2021
North Carolina ARRL Section News
June 22, 2021
Greetings from the High Country
Tropical Storm Claudette and the meeting of a couple of fronts has given us some cooler and damper weather than the near perfect weather we had for several days. While the Piedmont baked, we he had weather for several days that was near perfect. Yesterday we had some loud claps of thunder and the weather radio went off multiple times for severe thunderstorms in Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes counties.
I hope you and your group have a great time participating in Field Day. I will visit nine FD sites in western North Carolina and will travel over 500 miles. Dave Roy, W4DNA, will make visits to Field Day sites in southeastern North Carolina. It is not too late to list your Field Day location at http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator. Field Day rules can be found at http://www.arrl.org/field-day#rules. The schedule for copying the Field Day Bulletin can be found at http://www.arrl.org/news/complete-w1aw-2021-field-day-bulletin-transmission-schedule.
Whether you operate from home or go to a club site set up for Field Day, get on the air and enjoy the hobby.
Previously, I touched on the PRN system made up of about 60 PRN repeaters in NC and SC. Information about frequencies, talkgroups and system status can be found at https://ncprn.net/ and https://scheart.us/category/dmr/.
For more than a decade, PRN has had statewide capabilities but a new capability has been added to link the local talkgroups on 15 PRN repeaters in the NC EM Western Branch. The linking will be activated when needed to directly pass traffic to the Western Branch Office as well as to create a monthly Western Branch DMR Auxcomm Net, about which more information will be given in the near future.
Another DMR system that serves the area around Greenville NC has been put together by Matt McMahon, WU2V, and his colleagues who have put up several DMR repeaters at Vidant Hospitals in Eastern North Carolina as well as several wide-area coverage repeaters on tall TV powers. This will give NC Auxcomm additional communications links during disasters. Matt shared this information about the EHPC network:
The EHPC (Eastern Healthcare Preparedness Coalition) provides healthcare response and support for twenty-nine counties in Eastern North Carolina. NC4ES is made up of numerous specialized personnel (COMT’s, COML’s, AUXC and THSP) that support EHPC with public safety and auxiliary communications. NC4ES has repurposed retired NCMCN (North Carolina Medical Control Network) equipment and antennas at regional facilities and converted them to DMR operation. NC4ES/EHPCs mission is to ensure redundant communication paths are available for regional healthcare and emergency service needs.
Nineteen hospitals are in the EHPC region all with existing UHF infrastructure. The NC4ES team has adapted the Tait T800 II site repeaters to work as TDMA DMR and P25 transceivers. Currently about half the hospitals in the region are equipped with AUXC DMR repeaters. In addition to facility repeaters, EHPC also maintains a few high site repeaters for regional coverage. In additional to the site repeaters, NC4ES/EHPC has an advanced tactical communication MCV (Mobile Communications Platform) capable of all modes and is linked via satellite backhaul.
The EHPC radio system is a stand-alone system with its own C-Bridge that is capable of linking a large variety of systems across the United States. We currently maintain one MMDVM bridge server for the availability to hotspot users to join the network. While DMR generally relies on the internet, the site repeaters continue to operate in stand-alone mode. NC4ES can quickly respond and provide satellite uplink to restore site connectivity. All sites have commercial grade hardware along with backup power and stable internet connections. NC4ES is currently working on a variety of national AUXC projects ranging from DMR to SHAREs Winlink. Additional information can be found at the following sites:
http://cluster.nc4es.org:8080/ System Dashboard (HBLink)
www.nc4es.org NC4ES Website
I invited the WNC DMR group (a third, and the smallest, NC DMR network) that serves southwestern NC to furnish information about their system so that more hams know about it and can use it when in that part of the state. No response was received from the WNC group and if they choose to furnish information, their system will be highlighted in a future issue.
13 ORIGINAL COLONIES
One of my favorite ham radio activities is the 13 Original Colonies Contest (http://www.13colonies.us/) which runs from July 1 to July 7. More challenging than it may seem on first pass, the contest involves making contact with special event stations in each of the thirteen original colonies. Operating hours vary and they choose the bands on which they will operate. Propagation can be quite a challenge as are the pileups for states with relatively few hams (think Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island). Get QSL cards for each state with a colonial sailing ship theme and the attractive certificate for reaching all 13 colonies. There are two bonus stations, one at Independence Hall and one in England (which can be a tough one, also).
NC EM is seeking additional persons to be part of the ESF-2 Communications Unit. Several Auxcomm courses will be offered across the state during 2021. Registration for and information about the training opportunities is found at TERMS (https://terms.ncem.org/TRS/).
Wilmington will host the first of four opportunities to complete the Auxcomm course. It will be held on August 10-12 with a CommEx on August 13 involving COML and Auxc participants in an NCEM Area 5 communications exercise. Additional opportunities to complete portions of the Auxcomm PTB’s are scheduled for Morganton (August 27-29), Brevard (November TBD) and Charlotte (December 17). More may be added in the near future.
After completing the Auxcomm course, attendees are issued an Auxcomm Position Task Book that documents the ability to complete a variety of tasks, including use of SHARES Winlink, the VIPER network and WebEOC, which is a special system that tracks resource requests and provides information on unfolding incidents.
Only PTB’s issued by NCEM count towards Auxcomm credentialing by North Carolina Emergency Management. The Auxcomm PTB and the ARES Task Book are completely different documents. The ARRL ARES Task Book is not recognized by any state or territory and does not qualify anyone for FEMA or NC EM credentialing.
ARES members are welcomed into Auxcomm if they have completed the current versions of ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800 as well as the Auxcomm course.
NC TRAFFIC NETS
The full report for May that was submitted by Dave Roy, W4DNA, Section Traffic Manager, can be found at ncarrl.org.
DAYTON HAMVENTION 2022
Plans are underway to resume the biggest ever ham gathering. I booked my hotel room already and if you plan to go, I suggest you make your hotel reservation quickly as some hotels are already sold out.
The fairly decrepit HARA Arena, the Hamvention home for two decades, has been demolished and over the past two years the Dayton Amateur Radio Club has solved most of the problems involved in moving the Hamvention to the Green County Fairgrounds, near Xenia Ohio. I have attended the Hamvention eight times and the saying is, “if you can’t find it at Dayton, you probably can’t find it anywhere”. There is a huge flea market as well as several buildings in which dealers and manufacturers show their products.
July 17-Cary Swapfest, https://caryarc.org/events/swapfest/
July 24-Waynesville Hamfest. From the organizers: "The Waynesville (WCARS) Hamfest is only one month away! It will be at the same location as in the past – The Smoky Mountain Event Center (a.k.a. the Haywood County Fairgrounds) – on Saturday Jul 24th from 8 AM to 2 PM. Tickets at the gate will be $8.
Vendor tables inside the main building are close to sold out, but space for sellers is available in the covered barn and tailgate areas. As a special treat, Show Pieces from the Asheville Radio Museum will be on display. WCARS is also expecting the return of the FOG Adventure SOTA guys, a poster display on Solar Cycle 25, and hopefully LEG-O-HAM 2.0 – Special Station Locations. There will of course be great door prizes and eats available, and VE testing will happen at 2 PM at the nearby Junaluska Fire Department. The WCARS Hamfest website continues to be DOWN, so if you have questions contact the Hamfest Chair – Ruth, WA4VT – at email@example.com.”
August 14 – Fayetteville Swapfest, https://cfarsnc.org/swap-fest
September 3-5 – Shelby Hamfest, http://www.shelbyhamfest.org/.
October 2 – Rock Hill Hamfest, https://www.ycars.org/2021/03/11/save-the-date-saturday-oct-2-2021-the-69th-rock-hill-hamfest/
The Fourth of July is a time for celebration, cookouts, fireworks and parades. However, I hope each of us will take time to reflect on the meaning of Fourth of July.
Almost 250 years ago, defiant Colonists bristled over the laws and taxes that were imposed by the British King who treated the Colonists as serfs expected to work for foreign masters. Unpopular taxes and restrictive laws inflamed opposition. Patriots rebelled in the Boston Tea Party that in turn generated even more oppression from England which closed the Port of Boston and revoked the Charter for the Massachusetts colony.
Tensions continued to rise and other colonies rallied in support of Massachusetts. England continued its efforts to reign in the rebelling colonies. Nine colonies called for a Continental Congress to seek solutions to the oppression. Twelve Colonies send delegates to the (First) Continental Congress which met for six weeks in September, 1774 debating how to get relief from taxes and laws and British oppression. The First Continental Congress told the colonists to disobey British laws and to stop importing goods from England and to stop exports shipped to England. Although passions for freedom were strong, a petition for tax relief while avoiding revolution was passed but it almost immediately was dismissed by King George.
Lexington and Concord were hotbeds with and the skirmishes between the British and the Colonists becoming known as “the shot heard round the world”. Eight Americans were killed by the British on April 19, 1775 which only intensified the anger of the oppressed Colonists.
A month later, in May 1775, colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Among the many remarkable things that they did was to choose George Washington to be Commander-in-Chief of a Continental Army, comprised of citizen-soldiers, to be raised to take on the fight against the British. Debate raged for more than a month over what steps to take and how to justify an insurrection against centuries of rule monarchs around the world.
The delegates to the Continental Congress were among the best educated individuals in the world. Five of the delegates, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson, were placed on a committee to write an explanation of why rule by the British was intolerable. Over several days, they debated what to say. Thomas Jefferson put the separate ideas into an eloquent document that would guide citizens around the world why remote, undemocratic governments should be overthrown. Even then, their report, mostly written by Jefferson, was debated with each word carefully considered and scrutinized for three days before the document was approved on July 4, 1776. Every student knows that the document came to be known as the Declaration of Independence but it was not actually signed (by 50 of the 56 delegates) until August 2, 1776.
Revolutions are not won easily. The struggle against the British was incredibly difficult and could have been lost on any of several fields of battle. The surprise attack on Trenton on Christmas Day, 1776, made possible by Washington and 2400 soldiers crossing the ice-clogged Delaware on Christmas Eve, was a small but important victory which raised morale. The Hessian Mercenaries surrendered but the British resolve to bring the colonies in line increased. Permanent independence seemed doubtful and the intense struggle on the fields of battle went on for nearly five years until the British General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
As you grill your hotdogs, burgers, and sausages, pause for a moment and reflect on the impact of Jefferson’s words that for 250 years have been backed up with sacrifices by millions of patriots on battlefields around the world. Those are the things that are most important next weekend.