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Amateur Radio Emergency

Recent News
September 2000
Please click a link to read the story
Past news updates


Hurricane Season Intensifies

August ARES Meeting

Duval County ARES Repeaters Linked

ARES & The Sheriff



Hurricane Season Intensifies

An above-average (active) Atlantic hurricane season is typically characterized by at least two of the following three: a) at least eleven tropical storms, b) seven or more of which become hurricanes, and c) three or more of which become major hurricanes. There is also an above-average risk of hurricane landfall along the coastal United States and for the countries of the Caribbean during active seasons, since many of the storms are expected to develop over the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and to eventually threaten these regions.

We are presently at the height of the season. Typically the months of August and September yield the highest levels of tropical activity. BE PREPARED.

Skywarn members should be at the highest level of readiness. If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Lewis Jolly, W4LTJ, at 765-4412.


August ARES Meeting

Although it was held prior to this publication, if you weren't there you missed an excellent meeting. Don Ferris, KE4YJG (JSO Liaison officer) hosted our members in the Assembly Hall of the Police Memorial Building at 501 E. Bay St.

JSO Chief Gordon Bass addressed the group and praised the newly formed partnership with ARES citing examples and scenarios of how and when support communications might be used. Both Don and Miller, N4RYX, expanded on ARES capabilities including the ability to assist with tracking down the occasional malicious interference signals on Police frequencies such as when a handheld Police radio is lost or stolen.

A tour of the Communications Center followed, with an in-depth look at the entire process of how and where a call for assistance is received, up to and including dispatch of same. ARES members were able to physically observe these operations to better educate them on the overall operation.

Thanks to Jim Gray, N4UJL, for the following pictures.
Click on either one to the full size image.

0900pmb1.jpg (112101 bytes)     0900pmb2.jpg (109807 bytes)


Duval County ARES Repeaters Linked

Through the dedication, perseverance, and just plain old hard work of Robert Selph, W4RCS, Duval Beaches EC, the 146.88 (RANGE-DUVAL ARES) repeater and the 147.225 (W4RCS-ARES BEACHES) repeaters are in the final stages of being linked.

This project has been in the works for several weeks, and will serve to tie the two Duval County ARES operations more closely together. The 147.225 W4RCS repeater requires a PL tone of 127.3 (encode/decode) to operate at the beach due to a high level of Inter-mod. The 146.88 RANGE ARES repeater does not require a tone to access, but does transmit the 127.3 hertz tone on its output.

The Beaches side of the link incorporates a CAT-1000 repeater controller which is equipped with a host of emergency and informational messages, pertaining to ARES operations through-out the Duval County Operational Area. BOTH frequencies will receive these information bulletins and announcements. This controller is also equipped with a weather alert receiver which will produce a 1000 hertz alert tone when severe or threatening weather is detected or forecasted in the Northeast Florida area. This includes the counties of Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. Johns. The alert will be simulcast on both repeaters for wider area coverage in the event a mobile station is in the vicinity of the affected areas. In the coming weeks we will be testing the functionality of this system, which is expected to improve drastically when the 146.88 repeater antenna is replaced.

Most ARES operations will be shifted to 146.88 as the system proves itself. Regular Wednesday night ARES nets are still scheduled for the 146.76 RANGE repeater frequency at the present time. The main noticeable difference will be that 146.88 will be dedicated for DUVAL ARES and SKYWARN communications and activities, and 146.76 will be a more "relaxed" frequency with less ARES announcements, bulletins, and traffic. Both of these frequencies are still available for general Amateur use however, but one can expect to hear persons on .88 who are active in emergency communications and Skywarn activities more often than not. Those with interests in activities not associated with emergency services will likely continue to make .76 their frequency of choice.


ARES & The Sheriff

Almost sounds like a title for a movie, right? Well, I'm reasonably sure that won't be the name used, but we ARE putting a video together. Its going to be a training film for JSO street officers. The focus of this video is to train them as to what ARES is and what it does. This will be short 8-10 minute film explaining the duties, responsibilities and roles of ARES communicators, and will give these officers some much needed insight into our activities.

One goal is to reduce the tendency to "turn back" our operators when they respond to a location based upon a call from a served agency. Often times a barrier line has been formed, preventing vehicular traffic beyond a certain point. These officers will be trained to recognize and accept our identification badges as we seek to arrive "on-scene". Newly appointed JSO Liaison officer Don Ferris, KE4YJG and Duval EC Miller Norton have been coordinating this training scenario with assistance and back-up from former Duval County EC AL Elmore, WA4RGO. Al has a wealth of information which he is sharing in this exciting new project. Look for yet another video to come in the weeks ahead on Public Access TV! "Stay tuned", as we take over the airwaves.

This concludes the most recent newsworthy events for the month of August. Please join us on the 26th of September at the Fire academy.

Check those spare batteries and radios now. Generators too!

If you have an interest in providing emergency communications please contact the HAM RADIO HOTLINE: 350-9193

 73, N4RYX