Saturday, July 21, 2007

Guess what, a Contest for ARES members

Interesting train of thought in the recent ARRL ARES News Letter

+ FEEDBACK: ARES QSO Party Proposal

I presented your ARES HF QSO Party question to the South Texas
section ARES Yahoo group via a one week poll. That group has 215
members, 36 of which answered the poll (17%). The poll question and
results follow:

Would you support an ARES HF QSO Party over a weekend where operators
would exchange call sign, signal report, county, section or state,
and their ARES or emcomm titles?
NO - 6 - 16%
YES - 30 - 83%

I strongly recommend adopting the NA QSO Party contest format. Only
two entry classes in that; single operator and
, except no teams in this new contest,
and maybe not the multi-two either. The NA QP are mode-specific with
separate weekends for SSB, CW and RTTY; we need not do such, but
allow all modes on the same weekend. To me, the best parts of this
format are that everyone is limited to 100 watts, and it is a 10-12
hour contest starting at noon Saturday. Perhaps different points
could be awarded depending upon the person's appointment that you
work; 1 point for ARES "member," 2 for AEC, 3 for EC/RO, 4 for
DEC/DRO, etc. 1 point for SSB, 2 for CW or RTTY. We should provide
suggested operating frequencies.
<> -- Jerry Reimer, KK5CA, South
Texas SEC

Yay! I enthusiastically support your idea of some kind of op event to
recapture the feel of the CD parties. I think it would be great for
appointees to be able to have the opportunity to fly the flag a bit
and be the gotta-work-it focus of some kind of incentive-driven
special event in which everybody could participate. It would also
allow the appointees to receive some recognition in a really good
way. Another thing it would accomplish would be providing an
incentive for all those new General Class licensees among the
appointees to get on HF and meet their peers and public around the
country. -- Gordon Grove, WA7LNC, Eastern Washington SEC

I think this would be a great idea, because I know the information
that could be shared would be a great energizer for many ARES
operators. -- Richard J. Niemeyer, KC9JMW, AEC, Jackson County,

Yay. -- Charlie Miller, AE4UX, South Carolina SEC and State RACES

Yes, I would support an ARES Party, but ONLY if all stations were
REQUIRED to be on battery, generator, or other emergency power (or
mobile or in mobile EOC's). It would be very helpful in forcing us to
exercise our emergency power sources more often (I haven't tested my
generator since November). It's just the incentive I need.

To keep the playing field level, only dipoles or mobile antennas
should be allowed, up to a maximum of 25' high. No directional arrays
of any kind, no stacked beams on 180 foot towers. Keep it low-key. It
should be like Field Day - more social event and emergency
preparedness demo than contest. The word "Party" is thus a good
choice. -- Steven G. Katz, N8WL, EC Licking County, Ohio

YAY! Count me in. -- Doug Donner, KC8ZCF, EC, Lapeer County,

YES - great idea. Perhaps there might be a way to work the 60 M
allocation for part of the party? Have been observing propagation
lately and the 5 MHz band could work very well during daytime hours.
-- Larry Trullinger, KB0EMB, AES Jackson County, Missouri

An ARES party in this area of southwest Missouri would be completely
worthless, much like the organization. Last winter the Springfield,
Missouri area had the worst ice storm in history. Many were without
power for 20 days. There were numerous shelters set up in schools.
There was not even a 2 meter net between shelters helping with
people's needs. I have no use for ARES here. -- David Rust, W0DLR,
Kirbyville, Missouri

There is an ARES party held at least once a day. It is called NTS. In
the Tennessee section we have one combined ARES/NTS session each
week. What ARES does not need is a contest event. - Bill, N9ACQ

I loved the CD parties, and I'd love to have an ARES QSO Party too.
-- Joe Fisher, K5EJL, DEC 7 South Texas

I'm all for it -- a great opportunity to "show the flag" while
simultaneously providing a welcome diversion from regular emcomm
training. Consider it kind of a "company picnic" for ARES: Take a
break, have some fun on the radio, and incidentally, learn some new
operating skills! -- Ward Silver, N0AX, EC, Vashon, Washington

Here is one more vote for an EMCOMM or ARES QSO party. -- Ed Esborn,
K1UQE, Pawcatuck, Connecticut

I would support an activity like you described. Good chance to test
the station and get acquainted a bit. -- Tom Richmond, NI7W, Kootenai
County, Idaho EC

I would support an ARES Party during any weekend it was scheduled. --
Ron Murdock, W6KJ, Yuba City, California

Yes -- Richard Margey, KE1DH, Cape Coral, Florida

RE your suggestion in the latest ARES E-Letter for an ARES QSO party,
I discussed it with my EC, Bill, N2ZSO, and he supports it as do I.
If this event was able to take hold and get substantial
participation, we might be able to expand and invite served agency
officials, etc, to stop by. - Mike Harla, N2MHO, AEC Cumberland
County, Southern New Jersey

I would go for an ARES Party, or update the old CD party. My CD
party activity goes back to late 1938 or early 1939 (working only
CW). Always enjoyed them and was sorry when they were cancelled. I
remember such calls as W4KFC, W1TS, W1BIH, KH6IJ, W9BRD and many
others that I worked nearly every quarter year CD Party. Time flies,
especially at my age of 86. -- Jettie B. Hill, W6RFF, Roseville,

ABSOLUTELY. I am volunteering to be on a committee that would
establish a set of rules that would promote skill sets beyond the
framework you mention. How about something along the lines of a
hybrid between the CD Parties and Emcomm bonus points, a-la Field
Day. For example: Multipliers for Emergency power, all wire antennas,
combining with local emcomm exercise, press release,
origination/receipt of traffic, working from an EOC, "integration"
bonus points for combining with local support units (police, fire,
med, etc.), operators with qualifying ARES training (ARECC, IS-100,
200, 700 & 800), people signed up for ham classes, etc. Far fetched?
Maybe, but in this new era of our hobby, we need to be creative and
keep the emcomm talent pool strong. -- Fred Kleber, K9VV

Just because an operation is FUN does not mean it is not USEFUL. I
would gladly join such an enterprise, and I am NOT a contester. -
Jean Olson, KC0SVG, Cambridge, Iowa

Recall that in 2004, there was an operating event when League Life
Members, employees, officers and field appointees were signing /135
to their calls for Maxim's birthday. There was a certificate
associated with racking up a minimum number of /135 QSOs.
<> I'm no contester,
but some of the specific elements in the above event might prove
attractive if added to your idea. -- Alan Howard Martin, W1AHM

I would say yes, and hopefully information could be passed and not
just a check in and signal report. It has its merits. -- Dewey H
Bennett, Jr, WM0H, Columbia, Missouri

Let's have a PARTY! I would support and participate in an EMCOMM or
ARES QSO Party. Think about points/categories for operating from
home, portable, from an EOC, or mobile (auto/RV/Command Post). Let's
go with the EMCOMM name, because not all groups are ARES. -- Budd
Johnson, N4WBJ, OES/ARES/RACES/SKYWARN/Sheriff's Tactical Amateur
Radio Comm, Hillsborough County, Florida

I think an ARES QSO Party is a great idea, but I would like a
National ARES Roll Call once a month to exercise the leadership and
find out on a section-by section basis who is committed to EMCOMM and
who is faking it. -- Joe Forren, ND4B, EC Greenbrier County, West

Put me down for a sound YEH for the ARES PARTY. -- Steve Howard,
AB0XE, Dakota County EC, South St. Paul, Minnesota

YES! - Rob Griffin, K6YR, Santa Barbara Section Manager, California,
[and all 'round Good Guy - ed.]

I do believe this would be a good idea. We test our equipment at
Field Day for portable operation but how many test our operation at
the home station for our abilities to function within our own section
or district? Oh, we communicate locally just for fun but do we know
just how well we are doing? I would strongly suggest that the
contacts locally be made on simplex rather than repeater. We don't
necessarily need to test the repeater but we do need to know how well
we can do without it. -- Joe Bushel, W2DWR, SEC Northern Florida

Sure, count me in. -- Duke Knief, W4DK, DEC Area 15, North Carolina

I would be in favor and would operate such an event. A great way to
try out NVIS propagation, and see what your station could do for
realistic distances of an emergency. -- Stuart Rohre, K5KVH, AEC
Williamson County, RACES, Round Rock, Texas

Regarding your question about the "ARES Party", I have a slightly
different suggestion. Since we are getting to a point where there are
almost too many events, maybe it would be better to re-asses the
current events we have: Field Day and SET. - Bryan Koschmann, K7WXO,
Spokane, Washington

I would agree an ECOMM QSO Party is needed and long overdue. This is
a very good vehicle to encourage folks to become part of the solution
and pitch in to help. I work for the National Weather Service and we
sponsor a QSO Party, usually in December, to encourage hams to get
involved in helping our destructive weather tracking efforts. In my
town of Kodiak, Alaska, I started an effort to get out local hams to
report road conditions for winter weather. This is, in turn,
forwarded to the forecast office in Anchorage and put on the NOAA Wx
radio for folks to listen to. I have hopes to start a Wx Net up here
some time in the future. In addition, I recruited two of my fellow
coworkers to get their licences in order to work the 2 meter rig we
put in the office. Thanks for your newsletter, I read it every time
to see if there is something that could be employed here on the
"northern most" Hawaiian Island. - Rich Courtney, NL9H, Kodiak,

I would support and participate in a nationwide ARES Party net. With
some of the 'older' hams upgrading and becoming new HF operators, I
think this is a great idea. I vote 'yea'. -- Maynard Raggio, N9PTG,
Assistant Emergency Coordinator/RACES Officer, Monroe County, Indiana

I think any excuse for a QSO Party is a good one. I'd check in. -
Jeff Carter,
KD4RBG, Fairmount, Georgia [If you're an NFL football fan, check out
Jeff's photo on! - ed.]

With the limited info provided in the E-Letter, it appears that this
would be more of a contest than an exercise of emcomm capabilities.
Would you propose that the event be limited to ARES members only and
would they be forced to use emergency power? Is there a scenario
associated with the event? Isn't this what Field Day is supposed to
be about? Thanks for surfacing the idea, but my "vote" at this point
would be no. -- Mark Wintersole, WB5NMZ, Montgomery County EC,
Montgomery, Alabama

I am a member of a regional ARES Net (California Rescue
Communications 40-Meter Net). I support your idea for a weekend ARES
QSO party. -- Paul Stone, KQ6RJ

Great idea, Rick. I think it would make a great training activity.
The thing I remember immediately after Katrina on the HF bands was
the first night's traffic handling sounding like a bunch of very
inexperienced communicators. The second night was a whole different
story with smooth net operations. Practice is essential to keep
skills fresh. What a great way to polish up the skills and meet
other ARES operators around the country. I suggest communicating the
name of the ARES organization in the exchange. -- John Davis, WB4QDX,
EC Gwinnett County, Georgia ARES

The idea of having ARES stations operating is really a duplication of
Field Day. If you were to propose an "ARES Day" it should not be a
contest with winners posted like Field Day that encourages BIG POWER
station operation. Also it does not seem important to exchange e-com
or ARES titles. To make it unique from Field Day the requirements
should be for every station to operate on emergency power and
possibly have a transmit power limit of 50-100 watts. Also required
should be the use of portable antennas that are set-up on the day of
the contest. All county and district EC comm centers should be
encourage to participate in the event. All modes and bands that have
been successfully used in disasters should utilized. -- Roger Freed,
WB7BZT, Bend, Oregon

In regards to your proposed ARES or emcomm parties, put me solidly in
the Aye! column. I think it's a great idea. It would be fun as well
as provide a needed exercise/test of each station's capabilities. It
might even shed some light on just what areas could be routinely
covered by each station. That information alone could become quite
valuable in times of emergencies. -- Dave Costanza, KA3PNV,
Communications Officer, Penbrook Office of Emergency Management,
FSO-CM, CG Auxiliary Flotilla 53, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

In response to the proposition in the latest newsletter, I personally
am in favor of having an on-air ARES weekend. Good idea and I wish
you the most of luck in getting this idea approved and carried out.
-- John Streeb, KE5DXJ,GIS Intern SFASU, Junior, Arlington, Texas

Count me in for the project. -- Robin Warren, KE5DQM, Ivanhoe, Texas

I say yes to having an event scheduled on the airways for those
involved in ARES/RACES. I also would suggest that all ARES groups in
their respective sections train with each other so one would know
what to expect from another ARES group. Here in the Eastern
Washington section, we have some of our group help our neighbors to
the east of us in Kootenai County, Idaho with their IRONMAN
competition by supplying them with operators that have APRS
capabilities along with voice. So I vote AYE!! -- Charles Greeson,
KG8ZK, AEC Spokane County, Washington ARES/RACES

Great idea! Make something like EASCARS or MIDCARS in that you check
in to cycle the gear. I see this as an excellent place for ops to ask
for a source to obtain certain gadgets to make their station more
effective. . .hams without gadgets are not hams, you know. -- Jim
Montgomery, Prince George's County, Maryland ARES Hospital Project

Great Idea, Good luck. -- Jim Pearson, KS8O, Menominee County,
Michigan AEC

The use of the signal report has become standardized in any
party/contest to 59 or 599 so is not useful. Correct copy is the
proof and should include something NOT in to avoid lookups,
maybe the rig model or antenna style. Good idea though; many ops do
enjoy such activities, and it often "opens" up dead bands like 10
meters. - Dave Prichard, AB3S, Celebration, Florida

I am all for it -- I need practice and communicating with other ARES
or EMCOMM entities would only improve our ability to do so in an
emergency situation. -- Ted Denton, KE7GZN

I vote "NO" on this activity. There are already too many state and
other "qso parties" on the bands as it is, to blah blah blah hams
talking like robots and flooding the ham bands on weekends like QRM
machines. - Charlie Pfister, WD8AXB, Vicksburg, Mississippi

I'd certainly support such an activity. Amateur Radio has had a
tremendous influx of new hams in our area, with well over 150 new
operators in the past couple of years. These hams didn't get to
radio via technical interests, for the most part - they have mostly
come up from the ranks of CERT volunteers!

An event like this would provide an excellent opportunity to hone
communication skills, and would provide a hook for more camaraderie,
which I think is a very important part of any organization, and
particularly of emcomm. I'm not certain that the exchange should
include titles - that might seems exclusionary, as not everyone has a
title. In all, a great idea that I'd love to see come to pass. --
Heating Floyd, KC4HSI/AFA2IU, Hillsborough County ARES/RACES, Deputy
RACES Officer, Assistant EC, Florida

+ K1CE For A Final

There you have it: an ARES or EMCOMM QSO Party could be a rousing
success! See you next month!

Rick K1CE

Contest anyone ??????? :)

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