Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hurricane Watch Net Activates for Zeta

 The Hurricane Watch Net is active on 14.325 MHz and will begin simultaneous operation on 7.268 MHz later today, as Hurricane Zeta approaches the coast of Louisiana as a strengthening Category 2 storm. Please keep these frequencies clear for net traffic, as well as any other local/regional nets that may activate as the storm comes ashore. 

The following is from the Hurricane Watch Net website <>:

The Hurricane Watch Net will activate Wednesday morning at 11:00 AM EDT (1500 UTC) on 14.325.00 MHz for Hurricane Zeta. We will begin simultaneous operations on 7.268.00 MHz beginning at 5:00 PM EDT (2100 UTC). Once activated, we will remain in operation on 14.325.00 MHz for as long as we have propagation. We will remain on 7.268.00 MHz until after Zeta is downgraded to a Tropical Storm or we lose propagation, whichever occurs first.

Zeta is forecast to be a Category 1 Hurricane when it makes landfall somewhere in southeast Louisiana late Wednesday evening.

As with any net activation, we request observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (Wind Speed, Wind Gust, Wind Direction, Barometric Pressure – if available, Rainfall, Damage, and Storm Surge). Measured weather data is always appreciated but we do accept estimated.

We are also available to provide backup communications to official agencies such as Emergency Operations Centers, Red Cross officials, and Storm Shelters in the affected area. We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data back to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center.

As always, we are praying and hoping for the best yet preparing for the worst.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Hams Prepare for Hurricane Delta


Hurricane Delta (to left on map) as it was about to make
landfall in Louisiana. (Nat'l Hurricane Center image)

Hurricane Delta was about to make landfall in Louisiana on October 9, in roughly the same area that had been devastated just weeks earlier by Hurricane Laura. Several amateur radio nets were gearing up to provide data to the National Hurricane Center as well as post-storm emergency and disaster communications.

The Hurricane Watch Net activated the day before the storm hit, and the ARRL Letter reported that WX4NHC, the ham station at the National Hurricane Center, was also on the air, along with the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) and Louisiana's Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it would permit amateur stations to communicate with government stations on two 60-meter channels - Ch. 1 (5330.5 kHz USB) for voice and Ch. 2 (5346.5 kHz USB) for digital communications.

2021 Orlando Hamcation and ARRL National Convention Cancelled


The continuing Coronavirus pandemic has prompted the cancellation of the 2021 Orlando Hamcation® next February. The Hamcation was also going to be hosting the 2021 ARRL National Convention. 

According to the ARRL Letter, the decision was made jointly by the Orlando Amateur Radio Club and the ARRL. Both events have been rescheduled for February 10-13, 2022. Hamcation was the only major U.S. hamfest held in 2020, coming just before the pandemic prompted restrictions on travel and large gatherings.

Hara Arena Being Demolished

The former home of the Dayton Hamvention® is being torn down. Demolition of Hara Arena began in late September and, according to the Dayton Daily News, the process is expected to take four-to-six months. Hara Arena closed in 2016 and the buildings suffered significant damage last year from a tornado. 

The Daily News reports that the arena's new owner is in negotiations with "a global company to put something on the property," but no additional details were available. The newspaper also reports that the letters spelling out "Hara Arena" on the front of the main building will be saved from the wrecking ball and will be auctioned in the future, with proceeds going to a local charity.

MF/LF Bands Now Have Their Own WSJT-X Protocols


Two new digital protocols designed specifically for the 630-meter and 2200-meter bands are included in the latest "candidate release" of the WSJT-X software suite. The ARRL Letter reports that test transmissions of FST4 and FST4W in recent months have resulted in many intercontinental contacts on the bands. FST4 is for two-way contacts and FST4W is designed for beacon-type transmissions such as WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporter - see this month's "Digital Connection" column for more on WSPR). Developers say current users of other WSJT modes should find using the new modes to be straightforward.