Table of Contents
The Prescott-Russell ARES Group will be providing ARES training in Embrun Ontario
(May 27 & 28, 2023)
The Prescott-Russell ARES Group will be providing ARES training in Embrun Ontario on the weekend of the 27th and 28th of May.
This training provides the boots on the ground operator the basic skills and knowledge to perform their duties when responding to a request for support from a client organization. This training is two full days of in class lessons and skill developing exercises, both in class and deployed throughout the Embrun area in Russell TWP.
The training will take place at the Russell Township council chambers at 717 Notre-Dame St, Embrun ON K0A 1W1. It is hoped that we will have someone monitoring the repeater VE3PRV 147.330+ T110.9.
Classes will start each morning at 0900 and should be completed NLT 1630.
This training is open to anyone who wishes to attend. We will need to know by the 15th of May the names of those attending as it takes some time to finalize the exercise scenarios. This training was presented in 2018 and anyone who previously has attended any prior sessions and wishes to refresh, may join us as well. Please reply directly to me.
Here is a brief outline of the training that will be provided:
1. RAC ARES Organization – Short simple overview
2. ARES Local Organization – Roles and Responsibilities
3. Deployment Kits – what you should have available to deploy
4. Net Operations – Standardized operation procedures
5. Operating Etiquette & Radio Procedures.
6. DMAP – Overview of the Eastern Ontario District Mutual Aid Program
Message handling Exercise
Net Operations Exercise
All participants will be required to have the following frequencies programmed into their HT and or mobile for the exercise. We expect all participants to be able to program and use their respective equipment. These are all FM voice.
Frequencies in Use during the exercises:
Frequency 1: 147.330 MHz (+) T110.9
Frequency 2: 147.570 MHz (S)
Frequency 3: 146.415 MHz (S)
Frequency 4: 146.445 MHz (S)
Frequency 5: 146.475 MHz (S)
Frequency 6: 146.520 MHz (S)
Frequency 7: 146.595 MHz (S)
For the deployed exercise, trainees are sent out in groups of two.
I do not want to charge for this, but due to the cost of printing, I may have to do so. It will be no more than $10.00 per attendee.
Also, on completion of the training, a complete electronic copy of the training package is available to all participants at no cost.
If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to send them to me. More information to follow as soon as it is available.
Please send all inquiries to:
Lance Peterson VA3LP
613 699 6014
ARES EmComm Group Leadership Reports
(February 21, 2023)
Submitted by Prescott-Russell (PR-ARES) GC Lance Peterson, VA3LP PR-ARES Group Coordinator
Lance Peterson VA3LP, reports that on Tuesday, February 21, PR-ARES members, with the assistance of the Township of Russell Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC), ran tests on the Diamond X-50 dual band antenna located on the communications tower behind the Russell Township Fire Station 2.
The MFJ-259B antenna analyzer indicated that the SWR across both Amateur bands was in excess of 5 to 1, which was more than the usual 1.6 to 1 and measurement. The NanoVNA network analyzer also indicated very erratic behaviour across both bands, which is indicative of poor coax due to possible water infiltration and resistance build up, broken internal connections in the antenna or lightning strikes on coax or antenna. Since the antenna system was exhibiting high reflection back to the source, it was too dangerous for our radios to be connected and any further testing was stopped. It was decided to have a professional company come out to test the coax and antenna and make any necessary repairs.
Participants were GC Lance Peterson, VA3LP, Harry Ratajczak, VA3ZAK, Gilles Beaulieu, VE3NPI, Mickael Papineau, VA3PAI and Leo Yoshanaka, VA3EBI.
The group then travelled to the Village of Embrun to inspect a building as the CEMC was wondering if the group could use it as a place to provide emergency radio communications for the Municipal Emergency Control Group (MECG) group. Located near the Town Hall Council Chambers and directly behind the primary Emergency Operations Centre for the Township of Russell, the building was previously used as an ambulance station and had heat and light and gathering places as well as washroom facilities.
One room in particular would be good for radio operations as it was where coaxial cables and other cables were terminated so we requested that it be made available to the PR-ARES group during emergency activations and training. In addition, there was a microwave link (most likely 3.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi) that, although disabled, was connected directly to the EOC building and could be utilized for both voice and digital connections between the MECG and PR-ARES Group.
On February 21, SM Mike, VE3IPC, went to the United Counties of Prescott & Russell (UCPR) primary EOC in Hawkesbury to test the most powerful Diamond X-700HNA dual-band repeater vertical antenna and radio station equipment. This antenna was installed three years ago and had not been tested since the start of the pandemic in 2020. The antenna test went very well, but the cross-needle SWR/power meter indicated that at the low VHF frequencies, the power out was only 35+ watts and at higher VHF frequencies the power was 55 watts. SWR varied but was showing to be very good so the antenna test was successful on both bands.
Repeaters tested were: Alfred, Ontario; and Covey Hill, Rigaud, Pine Hill and Ripond in Quebec. All were all successful but there was an initial problem in reaching the Hammond/Rockland repeater and also with Moose Creek. One purpose for the test was to see if Russell Fire Station Diamond X-50 dual-band antenna was operational and to see if a connected radio there could reach Hammond, Alfred, Rigaud repeaters and possibly even the Pine Hill 146.805 repeater to make contact with the Hawkesbury station. As indicated in the previous report by GC Lance, VA3LP, the Russell antenna failed and so that test could not be performed.
Before leaving the building Mike, VE3IPC, unplugged the power supply and removed the coax from the back of the radio but left it visible as a reminder for the next visit. This is to help prevent the station from getting hit by lightning as the tower on the roof is most likely not grounded.
UCPR counties primary EOC Testing in Embrun (March 28, 2023)
The Prescott-Russell ARES Group, (having an MOU with UCPR) conducted an EmComm radio communications test on March 28 to look for a VHF radio path from Embrun in Russell TWP and the radio station at the United Counties of Prescott & Russell’s (UCPR) primary EOC in Hawkesbury. This station uses the powerful Diamond X-700A dual band antenna (VHF & UHF) some 40ft up, which was replaced 3 years ago in 2020. This radio station exists to provide a service that is in support of municipalities’ Emergency Management (EM), so that UCPR’s EM can be in contact with them, when all normal channels of communications go dark. Under such a condition, this auxiliary communication capability using radio amateur frequencies by certified radio operators, would allow two-way radio contacts with municipalities that may be in need of support from the UCPR.
The Prescott-Russell Amateur Radio Club (PR-ARC) owns, operates and maintains 2 VHF radio repeaters (RPT) using Amateur Radio frequencies. One is at the Alfred water tower and the other is at the Hammond water tower. An impromptu (Diamond X-200) antenna and radio station was temporarily installed at the old ambulance station near town hall, in support of Russell TWP’s Emergency Management.
The resulting tests revealed that there is NO direct radio path from point A Embrun, and B Hawkesbury however, there were several VHF repeaters that were suitable for passing radio traffic between the 2 mentioned stations. The Alfred repeater being more central in the UCPR region, so is more capable to complete the communications path between point A and point B that the Club controls. The only weakness at the moment is that when hydro goes out – this repeater also goes dark. Presently there is no battery backup system to keep the repeater on and operational during a power blackout to provide a reliable channel of communications.
Here were the results for Hawkesbury’s station signal reports received – frequencies tested were:
Hammond RPT (VE3PRV) 147.330MHz+ T110.9 Hz was used as the common Net Control frequency to coordinate from, to direct what RPTs are to be tested and in what order. The wave propagation was stable this time for the Hawkesbury station into the PRV RPT and the report was ‘full quiet’ – so that was good.
Alfred RPT (VA3PRA) 145.470 MHz – T 110.9 Hz was ‘full quiet’ on high power and 20% ‘white noise’ reported on medium power.
Camp Fortune PQ RPT (VE2CRA) 146.940 MHz – T 100Hz – good on high & medium power – impressive.
Pine Hill PQ (VE2RWC) 146.805 MHz – T100 Hz – N/A – RPT was not stable – not tested. [UPDATE info – this is now fully operational as of Sunday afternoon]
Moose Creek RPT (VE3OJE) 145.370 MHz – T 151.4 Hz – hi power was OK and med was poor – not usable.
VE3MPC may be off air – last heard was south of Ottawa for the past few years. N/A
Rigaud PQ RPT (VE2RM) 147.000 MHz– Embrun was ‘full quiet’ on high power, and near ‘full quiet’ on medium power & on low power was readable 3. Impressive!
Covey Hill PQ RPT (VE2REX) 146.685 MHz- T100Hz – Embrun on high power surprisingly was good – on medium power was poor & intermittent.
Ottawa RPT (VE3OCE) 146.880 MHz – T 136.5 – This test from Hawkesbury was done later after the tests were completed – once I was able to put this frequency in memory – was missing – signal report given by Mike VE3FFK in Ottawa was readability 5 with some white noise on high power and poor in medium power – not useable. Very good considering this RPT is in Alsta-Vista at the Ottawa Fire Dispatch center.
Pine Hill PQ (VE2RCS) UHF 443.850 MHz + T 100 Hz – fully operational and was used as the common local frequency for coordination with Al VE3BOA who was high up in Vankleek Hill and we could have gone to simplex and be full scale, so close we were with his height. Embrun was NOT able to key up this RPT.
Additional: Al VE3BOA was able to pick up Embrun on reverse on each of the RPTs that Lance was transmitting on. The reception Al in Vankleek Hill had was 30% white noise (readability 3) on his short Diamond X-50 Omni directional antenna, which is some 55 ft up. Al did not have a chance to try a two-way Comms test with Embrun on 146.565 MHz – our designated simplex frequency – to see if he was heard or not. Time permitting Al could have done some signal comparison tests with Embrun by switching from the Omni antenna to the 5 element directional antenna that he also has on his tower.
So this means there IS a direct radio path from Embrun impromptu set up using the Diamond X-200 antenna some 40ft up with about 45 watts output, and Vankleek Hill’s Diamond X-50 some 55 ft up. The signal reception would have been much greater had Al had the chance to switch to his 5 element beam antenna.
The participants in the Hawkesbury area were: Mike – VE3IPC liaison at UCPR EOC1 and Al – VE3BOA at home QTH.
Participants that traveled to Embrun to install the impromptu radio station for EmComm tests were:
Lance VA3LP, Gilles VE3NPI, Harry VA3ZAK, Leo VA3EBI, Michael VA3PAI, Chad VE3OUO.
Thanks go to ALL who participated.
Mike Hickey – VE3IPC
Prescott-Russell ARES Group Liaison
UCPR counties primary EOC Testing in Russell Fire Station 2
(February 21, 2023)
On Tuesday, 21 Feb 2023, the PR-ARES Group attended the Russell Fire Station 2 to perform tests on the amateur radio antenna located on the tower behind the fire station.
Lance Peterson VA3LP
Harry Ratajczak VA3ZAK
Gilles Beaulieu VE3NPI
Mickael Papineau VA3PAI
Leo Yoshanaka VA3EBI
Township of Russell:
? ( My apologies I do not recall the name of the other representative of Russell)
Once we assembled in the storage room/office, we pulled down the coax from the ceiling to begin testing. There was another cable attached to the end of the coax from the antenna. It was an RG6 (cable tv coax). This was disconnected and testing was started.
Test equipment used:
MFJ1259B Antenna analyzer
NanoVNA network analyzer
Once connected, the antenna analyzer indicated that the SWR across the amateur band was in excess of 5 to1. Normal for this antenna (Diamond X200) is less than 1.6 to 1. And it was erratic.
Diamond Antenna X200A manual:
Then the network analyzer was attached and it indicated very erratic behaviour across both bands. This is indicative of:
1. poor coax – possible water infiltration and resistance build up
2. broken internal connections in the antenna.
3. lightning strikes on coax or antenna.
As the antenna system was exhibiting high reflection back to the source it was too dangerous for our radios to be connected and any further testing was stopped.
Have a professional company come out to test the coax and antenna and rectify any irregularities. We can then reschedule another full communications testing.
Embrun EOC Emergency Communications Operations
After completing the testing at Fire Station 2, we travelled to Embrun to a building behind the Town Council Chambers. This was previously used as an ambulance station.
Millie was wondering if we could use this building as a place to provide emergency communications for the MECG group. This is directly behind the primary EOC for the Township of Russell.
It had heat and light and gathering places as well as washroom facilities. Once room in particular would be good for us as it was where coaxial cables and other cables were terminated. So we requested that this room be made available to the PR-ARES group during emergency activations and training.
As well it was noticed that there was a microwave link (most likely 3.2GHz or 2.4 GHz (Wifi) that, although disabled, was connected directly to the EOC building and could be utilized for both voice and digital connections between the MECG and PR-ARES Group.
The PR-ARES Group would like to return to the Embrun site and perform communications testing. We will bring our own mast and antenna and set it up on the balcony outside the kitchen area and perform communications with several repeaters throughout Prescott-Russell and other areas located close to Prescott-Russell and Ottawa.
UCPR counties primary EOC Testing in Hawkesbury
(February 21st, 2023)
On February 21st Mike VE3IPC went to the UCPR counties primary EOC in Hawkesbury to test the Diamond X-500 dual-band type antenna and radio station equipment. This antenna was installed some 3 years ago replacing the previous one that broke off after being installed some 20 years ago. This was not tested because the covid thing arose and no one was allowed in the building for a few years as a result. The fellow who was tasked to open the BLDG door for Mike was 30 minutes late so entry was at 13:30. Departure was at 17:45 when all was concluded.
The antenna test went very well, but the Power/SWR cross needle meter indicated that at the low VHF frequencies the power out was much less, 35+ watts, and at higher VHF frequencies the power was 55 watts. SWR varied some but was showing to be very good. So the antenna test was successful on both bands.
The radio equipment was in the IT room and still in each of the 2 pelican cases from which Mike selected a completed station setup from the 2 kits. One kit is for the primary EOC and the other for the secondary EOC in Plantagenet. The headsets and foot pedals were left in 2 pelican cases as this is a quiet and secure room and that is why the radio station can remain fully installed in the IT/Radio room. The hard copy radio manual for the Kenwood TM-V708A is missing and so is the radio memory frequency list and kit log sheet are missing. I will try to get Max to print out another copy of the manual and frequency list for the station, when I remind him.
The solid table that was supposed to be available was otherwise re-purposed. The radio op has a small but useful tray top – the old type that you would use when in a hospital bed on casters. So will need to get some wall pockets and the like to hold radio forms, pad and the like, so the table is free for writing – logging and maybe holding a laptop.
The UCPR BLDG manager installed a plywood shelf, as per instructions, and is very solid and large enough to put the large heavy power supply, which was placed on the top of the new shelf, where it will remain. The Kenwood TM-V708A dual band radio was then screwed under the shelf and the radio control head was secured to the drywall facing the radio operator – plus 2 small MFJ external speakers were also mounted under the plywood facing the radio operator and separated by a few feet so the operator knows from which band/display the radio traffic is coming from.
Repeaters tested were; Covey Hill, Rigaud, Kilmar Rd. Pine Hill area, Ripond, Alfred were all successful. There was an initial problem early on in reaching the Hammond / Rockland RPT and also with Moose Creek. For several periodical trials the Hammond machine would come up on occasions only and the same was with the Moose Creek RPT – on high power. A few hours later all was well and both RPTs would key up on high power would bring up Hammond and also Moose Creek RPTs. The station was NOT unable to raise Ottawa – 146.880 in AltaVista. No problem reaching Camp Fortune 146.940 on high or medium power, with little difference – according to the signal report, so that was good. Cornwall RPT raised OK on high power only. No one was there to give a signal report, but imagine the signal would be weak into that RPT. The Moose Creek UHF RPT would respond OK on either high or medium power – so that was interesting. No one was there to provide a signal report.
One purpose for the test was to see if Russell Fire station dual-band antenna was operational and to see if a connected radio there could reach Hammond, Alfred, Rigaud repeaters and maybe even the Pine Hill 146.805 RPTs to make contact with the Hawkesbury station. The Russell antenna Apparently failed and so that test could not be done.
Before leaving the BLDG Mike unplugged the power supply and removed the coax from the back of the radio, left visible as a reminder for the next visit. This is to help prevent the station from getting hit by lightning.
Mike Hickey – VE3IPC
Prescott-Russell ARES Group
Emergency Management Volunteer Joint NGO – Ottawa / Gatineau Field Exercise
Requirements for Amateur Radio Interoperability
(October 5, 2019)
This article is to bring information to future ARES / EmComm groups in Ontario or elsewhere who may be asked to provide their radio interoperability service to an upcoming Joint Volunteer NGO Field Exercise in your area, to learn from this first effort, so you can benefit from what was experienced here and take note of the lessons learned. It was challenging to ramp up, completely different from normal local EmComm Ops, it was a long & slow learning curve until a communications plan was put in place. Where the exercise had some disconnects, some impromptu innovations were put in place with some measured success, but overall it was a fun and learning experience for all participants and observers.
This was a unique Emergency Management Joint Volunteer NGO (EM-JV-NGOs) Field Exercise that took place in rural areas of both Ottawa and separately in Gatineau. For Ontario the location was at ‘Pinhey’s Point Park’ near Dunrobin and in Quebec it was near Aylmer. This was the first of its kind in Ontario and the 5th for PQ. The information here describes the exercise operation from the Ontario perspective.
The exercise scenario was where a large earthquake of 6.0 occurred in the Ottawa River between cities of Gatineau & Ottawa. There was much damage in the two cities and that emergency responders would look after search & rescue within the affected areas of the cities and that trained volunteer NGOs would look after the search & rescue operations in the rural & forested areas. Several victims were either lost or injured and that mass casualties were expected.
The concept of this exercise was to allow the volunteer organizations to demonstrate their operational capabilities jointly, by providing an effective response to the scenario of a large-scale earthquake, which has impacted the National Capital Region. The participating groups plan out and execute a response utilizing their own command structures and resources, deploying air, land and marine search & rescue volunteer teams to respond to simulated causalities.
An Official Letter of Invitation to this event was sent out within and adjacent to the Ottawa area, to Municipal officials, Emergency Management officials, Political officials and the press, to observe this event and for a media conference that would be held at noon. This did bring a certain amount of visibility in the eyes and ears of officials and the media. Amateur Radio would have a chance to be noticed as a volunteer NGO and what deployed EmComm public service is about.
The volunteer NGOs involved were: The Canadian St-Johns Ambulance Ottawa, Salvation Army, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Canadian Forces Rescue Coordination Center, CASARA (Civilian Aviation Search and Rescue), OSARVA (Ottawa Search and Rescue Volunteer Association), EXRSIM (Exercise Simulation Software), Team Rubicon, and ARES / EmComm group volunteers from various parts of Eastern Ontario. A Renfrew County Emergency Management, a Canadian Red Cross, Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) had Margaret – VA3VXN, each as a VIP observer representative, along with a few others, were given multiple guided tours throughout the day.
This Field Exercise would require ARES / EmComm radio operators from many Eastern Ontario groups to provide Radio Interoperability to the EM-JV-NGOs exercise operations in the field. As a result and prior to event date the ARES / EmComm District Mutual Aid call for help was invoked (see form below) by Ottawa ARES / EMRG sending a call for help (in the spirit of the upcoming exercise) to all groups’ leadership that are adjacent to City of Ottawa. Each responding group leadership was required to indicate who they were sending in response with ETA to the Ottawa group’s staging area. Responding volunteer Radio Ops were required to first fill ‘in triplicate’ their personal ID / contact information including next of Kin on the District Mutual Aid Plan (DMAP) registration / tracking form, with one copy left with their group’s leadership or club exec, before deploying to the Ottawa staging area, so they know who was being deployed. One copy of this form is to be surrendered on arrival at the staging area event ARES registration tent, where each radio ops responder will be briefed with situational details, and receive each their assignment. The 3rd copy of the DMAP form remains on their person at all times until they return home and inform their local leadership that they have returned home safely from their deployment. As not all groups had this form on hand, the registration tent had blank copies available.
Each volunteer NGO had their Radio Comms and jargon on different frequencies and not all were on the same band or on the same mode (AM/FM), hence the need for Interoperability. One codeword may mean something totally different to someone else, so plain language was encouraged to avoid any confusion and encryption. Both full day exercise events (ON & PQ) were operating seperatly in each their 2 square kilometer area, which was rather small for radio interoperability. ARES role was to supplement the NGOs by providing a common communications capability to a central point at the Incident Command. An area-wide Amateur Radio Net Control Station using a Communications Trailer provided Comms through the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The Amateur Radio Operations tent was co-located with the EOC to pass immediate radio traffic to the Incident Commander. In addition, the EXRSIM team was on location with their Exercise Software Platform, which was used to track and plot immediate locations of all involved as well as area coverage displaying this data on a large screen for immediate situational awareness.
In a real situation, ARES / EmComm can play a major roll in the establishment of communications with reliable passing of (radiogram) information when and where needed. Searches were conducted, casualties were found & treated and volunteers got fed. More importantly, links were formed between NGOs and people, providing many ‘Lessons Learned’. An on site initial debrief took place and weeks later a more comprehensive debrief took place – see below.
EM-JV-NGOs Field Exercise Comprehensive Debrief Report for Amateur Radio – RAC/ARES
How to improve interoperability service with other NGOs – lessons learned
The many On-line steering committee meetings helped, but more “In Person” meetings prior to the event were needed to workout problems and make better plans. Prepare the plan better and sooner, so that it can be implemented in a timely fashion. The video conferences were long and did not easily show the way forward to Radio Interoperability.
A solid presentation on what Amateur Radio can do is vital to help the other volunteer NGOs see how we (ARES) can fit into their plans, if at all. Each group needs to understand the functionality of each other NGO group and the organizers need to have a better understanding of each participating faction, so that a better plan for interoperability can be established.
At the outset of any exercise there needs to be tasks for everyone involved. Many Amateurs had no clear definition of a task and therefore had nothing to do and only a very few performing a few tasks. Amateurs with no task were later assigned in pairs to go to specific areas around the exercise site, report and stand by.
We need a way to determine the level of experience of amateurs as they arrive for assignment. We can ask them what events they have worked before, and use that as a proxy for competence. Lesser experienced radio ops can be assigned to shadow the more experience operators and guided through the exercise.
In such a small exercise area, Amateurs can only provide interoperability if all other Comms in the field would fail, essentially. We could have provided communications back to a distant centralized area outside the main exercise location, but the need was not there. Range wise, Search & Rescue hand held radios were just as good as ours in this close operational proximity.
Groups were too tightly spaced physically and tents could have been spread out over a larger area to be more realistic. More space was needed between the event coordination ‘Exercise inputs Control/Wizards’ and those tasked to respond to the dynamic changing events ‘Operations Control or EOC’.
Many thanks go to ALL of the ARES / EmComm exercise participants who were: Arthur – VA3BIT, Tyler – VA3DGN, Roger – VA3EGY, Gilles – VA3GJB, Jeff – VA3ISP, Ian – VA3KCP, GC Lance – VA3LP, Jeffrey – VA3PEW, Richard – VA3RLA, Raj – VA3RZT, Stuart – VA3SIO, Thane – VA3TTM, Margaret – VA3VXN, Harry – VA3ZAK, AEC Mike – VE3FFK, GC Steve – VE3FTS, Harrie – VE3HYS, Donald – VE3IGN, Michael – VE3KOY, Fred – VE3LAF, Neil – VE3PUE, Ken – VE3SRS, Mike – VE3UMC, GC Richard – VE3UNW, Alan – VE3VTT, Alan – VE3ZTU and Joe Laberge – no callsign.
Also – these people participated remotely: SM Michael Hickey – VE3IPC observed the event for the duration from home QTH, who volunteered to relay for EmComm operations that was on 146.940 MHz to 146.880 MHz EMRG’s Repeater – to make repeated request for 2nd shift volunteers, as part of the exercise. As a result; Shawn – VA3GFY, Roger – VE3NPO and Ron – VA2BRR did volunteer (in the spirit of the exercise) to serve on the 2nd shift for operations.
Douglas – VE3YDK (part of St. John Ambulance team), Michel – VE2BCW (Gatineau exercise EmComm Coordinator), Kenneth – VE3KGO (Observer from Home).
[Article by SM Michael Hickey – Served as a member of the Emergency Management Volunteer Joint NGO Field Exercise (2 shores) steering committee starting in early March 2019 for the Ontario side.]
Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Prescott-Russell ARC Participates in Field Day 2019
(June 22 and 23, 2019)
Submitted by Michael Hickey, VE3IPC
Ontario East Section Manager
The Prescott-Russell-Amateur Radio Club held its Field Day 2019 event on the weekend of June 22
and 23 at Confederation Park in Hawkesbury, Ontario.
The event was organized by Alain, VE3TLO, Denis, VE3FBE and Mike, VE3IPC and included a 2A station and a Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station. The Field Day setup consisted of: a 6 metre,
3-element beam; a Triband HF beam; a Triband inverted “V”; a separate G5RV wire antenna for CW; and a dual band VHF/UHF antenna for the GOTA station.
As shown in the photo on the right, there was also a pivoting 50-foot tower that was pulled up “in one move” by a truck using the Falling Derrick Tilt-up Method – fully assembled with the first three antennas mentioned above plus a rotator. Lastly, a late addition to the tower afterwards was the Internet dish provided by IGS Hawkesbury, one of the club’s sponsors.
The two HF stations were installed in the
club’s enclosed trailer – one for SSB and one for CW – continuous around the clock using the call sign VE3PRD. The enclosed trailer was modified for a “2A” station operation by Club President Jeff, VA3ISP and Dean, VA3OFF.
A 10′ x 10′ portable canopy with a screen mesh was installed at the rear door of the 2A trailer. To the rear of the canopy was a 10′ x 15′ inflatable tent provided by Tulmar Safety Systems to the club for the Field Day radio event use. This served to house the GOTA HF and the dual band V and U stations, plus the Public Relations tables displaying the registration log binder and the two RAC pamphlets, one on Amateur Radio and one on ARES.
There were also some extra TCA magazines on the table, compliments of RAC. The DC supply for all four operating stations and a few LED lights was provided by Denis, VE3FBE: four Lithium Ion (latest generation) battery bank,
equivalent in power to eight “Group 31”
The batteries were encased in a wooden crate with a charge controller, a voltmeter and a 3,000 watt sine-wave inverter mounted to the side of the crate. Very heavy to lift! Two 300-watt, 36-volt solar panels were provided by Solar Tech Canada in Hawkesbury, and a long run of 10 gauge DC wires.
Other special guests included: Normand
Riopel, the Mayor of the Township of Champlain; a newspaper journalist who
became aware of the event thanks to a
press release issued by the club; and a
member of the County’s Emergency
All enjoyed their tour of the installations and for each this was their first Field Day visit.
According to the PR-ARC President Jeff
Dale, VA3ISP, our official score was 2,896. This result was brought about by all of the volunteers who helped make this a successful event.
At the debrief the following week several club members indicated that this was perhaps the best event the club has ever organized.
Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Eastern Ontario ARES Groups Participate in “Are We Ready?” Exercise
(May 26, 2019)
Submitted by Al Howard, VE3VTT
Lanark North Leeds
ARES – Perth
Last year it was tornadoes. This year it’s flooding. Devastating situations can develop quickly
and emergency responders need to be on top of their game at all times.
With that in mind, volunteers from the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) of Eastern
Ontario met in Arnprior on Sunday, May 26 to hone their communication and coordination skills. They considered an emergency that is entirely plausible – a devastating forest fire raging through
Renfrew County. Fortunately, this time it was only a practice exercise. But for three dozen radio operators from across the region it was as close to real as anyone needed to get It started with a weather warning, a lightning strike and then a rampant blaze that engulfed Burnstown and Stewartville a few miles upriver from Arnprior. Dozens of families fled their homes. Cut off from
main roads, their situation was grim. Emergency supplies and shelter were needed – things that police and fire services don’t provide, but volunteers do. It’s times like this when groups like ARES
are called into service.
The exercise at Arnrprior was planned and led by Steve Harrison, VE3FTS, from Renfrew. After years as a senior officer on military front lines he came well prepared. “This is our opportunity to get as real as we can be,” he said. “Exercises like this establish the foundation of skills and equipment we need when the time comes.” For ARES, the spring exercise is like a family
gathering of radio clubs and operators from Perth, Almonte, Rideau Lakes, Renfrew, Pembroke, Ottawa and west Quebec.
It’s an opportunity for information sharing, system testing and hard practice for the next time it gets real again. ARES volunteers come from all walks of life. They are of all ages, male and female. Many are active or retired professionals from careers in engineering, telecommunications, science and management. They are federally certified Amateur Radio operators and are qualified to build and operate communication networks for public service in times of emergency.
When the “emergency” was declared shortly after noon on May 26, ARES operators were at the Arnrprior Fire Hall for a briefing. Their first questions were, “What’s happening? Who is affected?
What are our roles?” Armed with the answers and equipped with their own mobile radios, the group fanned out across the region and went to work.
For the next hour messages from every location – the hydro dam, town office, airport, hospital, emergency shelter, even a roadside collision – were channelled for action through the network controller at the emergency operations centre. By 2:30 pm it was all over. Ron and Cathy McFadyen (VE3YXY and VA3YXY) from Lanark North Leeds ARES in Perth served as the Command Centre
operators (net control) along with Matt Hooper, VE3NWD, from the Almonte club.
With messages moving thick and fast from every direction on six channels it was a tense time. Steve Harrison, VE3FTS, had written a crafty “surprise” into the exercise and not everything
worked for everyone all the time, especially for Ron and Cathy.
When asked why they do this, Ron replied, “We started doing this years ago when we lived in the Yukon. We’ve always enjoyed it and it really makes a difference.” Then, with a smile, Cathy added, “Things happened this time we didn’t expect.” Situation normal, Harrison reminded the group at the end. “No plan survives its first contact with the enemy.”
The good news he said, and as all ARES operators know, is that radio works when nothing else will. Al Howard, VE3VTT, joined Lanark/North Leeds ARES in 2017 from a 35-year career in communications, environment, education and emergency services. He served as the County of Lanark’s Emergency Services Researcher from 1998 to 2001 assisting in the development of regional infrastructure for emergency response and management.
He joined the Upper Canada District School Board in 2001 where he served on the board’s Joint Health Safety Committee as the Health and Safety Officer for Ontario Secondary School Teachers’
Federation until his retirement in 2017.
Al lives in Perth and serves as the Emergency Coordinator for Lanark North Leeds ARES Inc.
Eastern Ontario ARES Groups Participate in “Are We Ready?” Exercise: Part 2
(May 26, 2019)
Submitted by Michael Hickey, VE3IPC
Ontario East Section Manager
On Sunday, May 26, the Renfrew County East (RCE)-ARES Group Coordinator (GC) Steven, VE3FTS, conducted the group’s first deployed EmComm exercise, which was staged at and operated from the Arnprior Town Fire Hall in Ontario (see page 49 of the July-August 2019 TCA).
The purpose of the exercise was to have adjacent ARES groups get together to meet each other, then to establish what equipment, knowledge and skill sets the collective group of individuals possessed.
The day started at 9 am with an exercise briefing conducted by GC Steven, VE3FTS, to explain the ground rules and safety aspects. The exercise portion of the day lasted approximately 90 minutes and participants were from throughout the Arnprior and regional area.
The primary repeater frequency used was VE3YYX 443.200 MHz T-114.8 located on top of the Arnprior Fire Hall. Six exercise simplex frequencies were also used to pass radio message traffic and a packet station was set up by RCW-ARES GC Bob, VE3YX and Yvonne, VE3RYA. Dominantly, handhelds and mobile units were used throughout the area.
Although the exercise was short, some issues became quickly apparent. Mutual aid support and interoperability are essential if ARES is to continue being a viable communication backup service in a time of need. At the morning briefings the following was raised as an example: if a community such as Almonte were to fall victim to an event, such as a tornado, it would not be morally sound to expect the ARES members of Almonte to leave
their families and respond to a local callout for ARES activation. As a result the surrounding ARES groups – and not Almonte – would respond to Almonte’s needs in a call for help. Therefore, interoperability and mutual aid support has a strong part to play in such an event. Steven also pointed out that the ARES groups in your neighbourhood needs to meet to discuss (tabletop exercise) what you would do in a similar situation.
The RCE-ARES group is not yet operational with packet so the packet portion of the exercise was performed by members of the RCW-ARES. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) site at the Arnprior Fire Hall is not in a good location to reach the nearest BBS/Node VE3STP. In addition, RCW members had not yet visited the EOC and they didn’t know if they could open a window to get a coax to an outside antenna. In addition to
some portable/mobile packet stations, they also had with them a portable BBS/Node and a pop-up mast. If they couldn’t get a coax out of the EOC, they would set up the node outside using the pop-up mast and a dual band antenna, with the hope that they could reach VE3STP through the node. On arrival, they discovered that they could get a coax out a window so they put the pop-up mast adjacent to the building and ran the coax to the packet station in the EOC. When they tried to connect to VE3STP, they found that although the reply signal seemed strong, it wouldn’t decode reliably. Moving and raising the antenna didn’t help. They were able to send one message via Winlink using VE3STP as a digi. The decode problem remained
to be solved.
Since RCW-ARES members couldn’t use VE3STP as a reliable BBS, they decided to use the BBS in the KAM in the EOC packet station. When receiving messages sent to the EOC via the BBS by the two mobile packet stations, the EOC got a type mismatch error on the date. They had never seen this
before and spent some time troubleshooting. Unfortunately, the exercise was only a few hours in length and they had to give up without a solution.
Once back home, it didn’t take long to find that the error was caused by a difference in the format of the message listing in the KAM vs the KPC3+ TNCs that they normally use for BBSs. The KAM they were using had old version 5 firmware. RCW-ARES members now know that older KAMs cannot be used as BBSs for Outpost. The old KAM in that portable packet station has been replaced with a KPC3. If the window in the EOC had not been open, we would have used the KPC3+ BBS/Node we had with us and we wouldn’t have found out about the KAM issue – the KAM works fine to communicate with a KPC BBS. That is what exercises are for!
Later, Bob, VE3YX, decided to test the KAM using version 6.1 software and it was a success! The KAM version 5 response to an LM (List Mine) command does not include the To: Field, like the later KAMs do, so Outpost wouldn’t work with the version 5 BBS. Version 6.1 uses the modern format and works well as BBSs with Outpost, although they should only be used “in a pinch” as they handle only one connect at a time and have very
limited memory for messages.
The RCE-ARES GC Steven will be arranging a more in-depth longer training event for a weekend in September or October. It will include formal ARES classes on Day 1 with additional presentations in packet, cross-band, antennas and an on-air network set up, followed on Day 2 with a tabletop (in classroom) exercise on how to pass traffic, run an ARES net and conduct a deployed field exercise. At that point, an ARES attendance certificate will be issued to attendees.
In conclusion, the Arnprior deployed EmComm exercise proved to be very successful on many fronts. Although the exercise was short, some issues became quickly apparent. It is very important that ARES have a common standard baseline of knowledge. Therefore constant ongoing and refresher training is essential in order to maintain that standard regardless of the person’s experience, age or knowledge.
All-in-all, this exercise was rather easy to build. It did require some dedicated time to ensure all aspects were accounted for. GC Steven, VE3FTS, approached it with a “Walk then Run” attitude. The next exercise in the fall will address the “Lessons Learned” in the first exercise in order to ensure continued success, while at the same time increasing the level of knowledge and complexity. It was attended by a very professional group of people and everyone departed knowing that they had contributed and learned something from their participation.
The 19 exercise participants were: Steven Harrison, VE3FTS (RCE GC Arnprior); Lance Peterson, VA3LP (DEC Ottawa); Bob Howard, VE3YX (RCW GC Pt. Alexander); Yvonne Adam, VE3RYA (Pt. Alexander); Wayne Griese, VE3IWG (Pakenham); John Potter, VA3IOI (Laurentian Valley); Al Howard, VE3VTT (Lanark); Gilles Beaulieu, VA3GJB (Curran); Tyler Tidman, VA3DGN (Perth); Margaret Tidman, VA3VXN (Perth); Matt Hooper, VE3NWD (Almonte); Joe
Laberge (Breckenridge, Quebec); Bryon Heaslip, VA3AFP (Petawawa); Steve Emmell, VA3CSE (Lanark); André Emmell, VE2AJJ (Val Des Monte, Quebec); Ron McFayden, VE3YXY (Perth); Cathy McFayden, VA3YXY (Perth); Graham Patterson, VE3AMN (Ottawa); and Phil Lytle, VE3HOA (Almonte)
Field Day In Prescott-Russell - Lance Peterson
(June 27 2014)
FIELD DAY IN PRESCOTT-RUSSELL Lance Peterson, VA3LP – PR-ARES Group Coordinator After investigating a couple of sites, the Prescott-Russell ARES Group in Ontario chose the property of Jeff Dale, VA3ISP.
The group started set up on Friday, June 27 with training on setting up the portable falling derrick tower designed and built by Harry, VA3ZAK. Once the Tower was up and the dipole was installed, the Tulmar inflatable Tent was installed below the dipole feedpoint. On Saturday the equipment was brought out and installed.
Testing began and there was some problems with the IC-7000, which had been tested just two weeks before, but did not seem to have very good ears. In addition, the area seemed to have a lot of noise on HF through to two metres. After some investigation it was found that a spare battery and Genius charger – which had not been a part of the original test set up a few weeks prior – put out so much noise that it completely blocked out the HF frequencies.
With the removal of the charger and a new radio installed, everything worked fine and we got back on the air for the rest of Field Day. Fun was had by all and we are looking forward to next year at the same location. There were a lot of lessons learned!
Those operating this year were: Jeff, VA3ISP, Jean, VE3OKK, Chris, VA3NKE, Lance, VA3LP (Group Coordinator), Norm, VA3NPL, Allen, VA3ONN, Dean, VA3OFF, Jim, VA3KV, Ron, VA3RRZ, George, VA3SUS, Gerard, VE3GF, André, VE2WER, Jean, VE3KJD, Carl, VA2CMB and Vero, VA2VBM. Special thanks go to Jeff, VA3ISP and Deena for the use of their property and hospitality as well as the wonderful hamburgers and spaghetti dinner.
Eastern Ontario ARES District Annual Meeting, City of Clarence-Rockland
(May 25, 2013)
Eastern Ontario ARES District report: Submitted by the Eastern Ontario ARES DEC Lance Peterson, VA3LP DEC Lance Peterson, VA3LP, held his annual district meeting on May 25 at the Council Chambers of the City of Clarence-Rockland. This is late this year and it was difficult to find a date when most of the groups were not involved in support of local events.
Since the main discussion was about Outpost for packet radio, it was decided to go ahead with the meeting on the 25th and ensure that all groups would receive a report on the outcome. This detailed report is due out very shortly. The meeting was attended by 14 ARES members of local groups including the SM for Ontario East Michael Hickey, VE3IPC, who provided his report.
Each of the attending groups provided their group activity updates. The Eastern Ontario DEC began a discussion on the SOP changes to the District Mutual Aid Plan (DMAP) manual and the Groups agreed to all the changes. There will be a new issue of the document V3.0. Next Peter Gamble, VE3BQP (previous Ottawa ARES EC) presented the proposed and existing packet system in the District.
He proposed a guideline for standardized implementation of packet nodes to ensure reliable connections between the groups. Next was a short brief on Outpost and how it works. Then the DEC introduced the group to ICS213 Message Manager. He spoke about the capability of the program to put the message formation in the client’s hands and with a push of the send button send the message to the Outpost software on the packet connected computer for onward transmission by the operator to the correct packet station.
The group was broken into two groups of three computers, each with a specific client designation. They then formatted messages and sent them to each other. The system worked, however the packet station operators quickly became bogged down and the operators were a bottleneck to the operation. Discussions after the demonstration led to the following conclusion. At this time the attending group leadership members could not suggest this to their clients unless – 59 the bottleneck can be overcome.
They did indicate that they believed that a solution was to have Outpost run directly on the client’s computers and direct them to send to a central Outpost connected to a packet station and that the onward transmission would take place automatically without operator input. This suggestion and an investigation into the bottleneck issue will be reviewed this summer and a possible solution provided in the fall. More to come. The ARES District meeting was a success with a reiteration of the necessity for mutual aid and that the groups need to seek support from other groups, not just for emergencies, but also when they are involved in support of local community activities.
DEC Lance Peterson VA3LP, as well as being involved with Field Day with the Prescott-Russell ARES group, travelled up earlier in June to Renfrew Township to attend the annual Champlain Regional Repeater Association (CRRA) meeting. There they expressed a firm renewed commitment to support ARES throughout the valley as their repeater VE3STP has a very long-range capability and is used by many ARES groups in the District.
They also reinstated their packet digipeater to ensure coverage for the ARES Groups in support of the Red Cross in the valley back to their HQ in Ottawa. Their Executive expressed their desire that all members of the RPT Club should be an ARES member as this was the future for Amateur Radio. The DEC provided their Executive information on who to contact depending on what area the club members resided and promised to provide support any way he could. The DEC also indicated his willingness to repeat the ARES training course and the exercise, as done in Renfrew County in May 2010.
Local emergency radio group moves to Herb's for international Ham event
(June 22, 2011)
Amateurs take to the airwaves
(July 15, 2009)
Le groupe PR-ARES toujours prêt
(Juin 27 ~ 28, 2009)
Le· ciel s’est montre menaçant ce weekend, mais le Service radio amateur d’urgences de Prescott-Russell (PR-ARES) était bien fidèle au poste au. Parc de la Confédération les 27 et 28 juin derniers, a Hawkesbury.
Malgré une faible participation de gens de la communauté, la 6° Edition du Field Day (Journée d’Exercice) s’est déroulée sans anicroche. C’est ce qu’a confié le responsable du Field Day cette année, Henry Jarzyna . (Lettre d’appel VA30V). « C’est certain qu’une plus grande participation du public aurait été intéressante. Mais l’objectif de cette activité est vraiment de démontrer les capacités du groupe PR-ARES, a affirmé M. Jarzyna. Ce dernier s’est également <lit flatte par des radioamateurs venus de Montréal qui ont qualifié d’enviables les équipements ·du groupe PR-ARES
Ainsi, les systèmes de communication sont demeurés opérationnelles pendant 24 heures, de 14 h samedi à 14 h dimanche. Les radioamateurs s’étaient donne le défi d’entrer en contact avec d’autres collègues à I’ échelle du continent Nord-américain: Des milliers d’émetteurs et de récepteurs ont transmis des messages sur les ondes cour- tes.
Henry Jarzyna a tenu à remercier la Ville de de Hawkesbury, qui cette a1rnee a fourni un chapiteau au PR-ARES. Les équipements ont pu ainsi demeurer à l’abri de la pluie.
Notons que le groupe PR-ARES est compose de bénévoles qui offrent leur service à la communauté, non seulement dans les situations d’urgence, mais également lors des évènements publics. D’ailleurs, des radioamateurs locaux seront présents lors des festivités de la fête du Canada ce mercredi, à Hawkesbury.
Le groupe PR-ARES offre toujours des cours de radio amateur. Les gens intéressent à s’enquérir des nouvelles technologies de. Même que des vieilles méthodes de radiodiffusion peuvent visiter le sie www.prares.org
Les radioamateurs communiqueront de Hawkesbury
(Juin 27 ~ 28, 2009)
Le groupe du Service de radio amateur d’urgence de Prescott-Russell (PR-ARES), organise la6• Edition du Field Day (Journée d’Exercice) les 27 et 28 juin au pare de la Confédération, a Hawkesbury. La communauté est invitée à participer à cette pratique annuelle d’intervention d’urgence.
Au courant de ce weekend, des radioamateurs bénévoles installeront des postes temporaires de communication radio. Ces stations n’utiliseront que- des sources d’énergie emmagasinée. Utilisant leurs équipements clans des tentes, les radioamateurs seront relies à plusieurs autres tours radio à travers Je _pays. Le système demeurera en fonction 24 heures sur 24. L’exercice s’effectuera en effet à l’échelle du continent Nord-américain ou des milliers de groupes communiqueront entre eux.
En plus d’en apprendre sur les systèmes de communication d’urgence, les gens auront également la chance de reconnaitre les capacités du groupe PR-ARES. Sa principale raison d’être est de fournir gratuitement leur service d’urgence aux clients municipaux en tant que groupe organise et entraine de Radio amateur. Le Service de radio amateur fournit des stations de radio de sauvegarde supplémentaires et complémentaires lorsque requis par le Coordonnateur d’urgence municipal.
En deuxième lieu, le groupe PR-ARES fournit gratuitement ses services pendant les évènements communautaires comme des festivals, des défilés et autres. De telles stations de radio pourraient être nécessaires afin de relayer rapidement des informations pertinentes.
Ce type de volontariat public permet au groupe PR-ARES, en plus de servir les communautés, d’acquérir de I’ expérience d’entrainement afin d’être prêt à remplir son rôle primaire de servir des municipalités en cas d’urgence.
Les gens intéressés à participer à cet exercice pourront · se rendre sur le site à compter de 14 h samedi (27 juin). Un guide sera disponible pour faire visiter les installations.
Pour de plus amples renseignements, les gens peuvent contacter Michael Hickey- VE3IPC au 613 679-4474 ou par courriel [email protected]. Des renseignements sont également disponibles sur le site www.prares.org.
Des antennes seront dressées au pare de la Confédération. Cette photo a été prise lors de l’exercice l’an dernier. On aperçoit Ron Ziernicki procédant à l’installation d’une antenne multi-directionnelle.
Demystifier la communication en situation d'urgence
(Juillet 2, 2008)
Une catastrophe se produit. 11 n’y a plus de courant, les lignes téléphoniques sont hors d’état. Comment transmettre un message urgent et assurer la communication? C’ est entre autres dans ce type de situation qu’interviendrait le Seivice radio amateur d’urgences de Prescott-Russell (SRAUPR). L’organisme a tenu sa 5e edition de l’Exercice annuel du SRAUPR, les 28 et 29 juin derniers au Pare de la Confédération, a Hawkesbury.
Le tout était dirigé par Joy Tekenos Levy. Elle a récemment obtenu son certificat de radioamateur avancé. Ce certificat lui confère entre autres plus de libertés sur les ondes radio.
Les membres du SRAUPR ont éffectue plusieurs tests de leur équipement et celui appartenent aux Services d’urgence des Comtesunis. A compter de 14 h Samedi jusqu’ à 14 h dimanche, le système est demeuré en service.
Les gens ont également eu l’occasion d’ en apprendre sur la radio amateur. La mairesse de Hawkesbury, Jeanne Charlebois s’est par ailleurs déplacée afin d’observer les amateurs en action. Elle a notamment été étonnée d’ apprendre que la méthode du code morse était toujours un outil indispensable à la comm unica lion d’urgence.
« C’ est un outil qui ne vieillit pas, a confié un des organisateurs et membres du SRAUPR, Michael Hickey. Dans le cas ou nous ne pourrions transmettre un message vocal, c’est le morse qu’il faudrait employer».
Aujourd’hui, avec les avancées technologiques, notamment I’ avènement d’Internet, la communicationse fait en un clic de souris. Le SRAUPR confère beaucoup d’importance aux ordinateurs modernes. « Aujourd’hui, nous n’allumons plus une radio, nous démarrons plutot l’ ordinateur. La radio se marie tres bien avec l’informatique », a affirme M. Hickey.
Et grace à cette technologie, la communication peut maintenant s’ étendre plus loin selon M. Hickey. « Nous pourrions coordonner une situation d’urgence en Europe a partir des installations locales grace au systeme satellite», a-t-il confié.
Bien que cette siluation soit invraisemblable, une chose est certaine, c’est que le SRAUPR doit être prêt à répondre a toutes éventualites. Le SRAUPR est un organisme bénévole composé de radioamateurs dévoués. C’ est cependant depuis 73 années que ce genre de service et offert en Amérique du Nord. Le groupe local de radioamateurs a notamment vu le jour à la suite des défis rencontrés lors de la crise du verglas en 1998. « C’est à ce moment que nous avons constaté le besoin d’un service de communication d’ urgence indépendant», a confié M. Hickey
Le groupe de bénévoles du SRAUPR constitue un oulil essentiel pour la communauté d’ Alfred-Plantagenet et Champlain. En cas d’ urgence ou de désastre, les Cantons s’appuieront sur ce service pour informer les citoyens. « Nous offrons notre savoir, nos expériences et nos équipements a fin de partager l’informalion », a confié M. Hickey.
Le SRA UPR offre des cours de radio amateur aux gens intéressés par la technologie de la radiodiffusion. De plus anples renseignements peuvent être obtenus en onta tant Hemy Jarzyna au (613) 632-1022 ou en visitant le site Internet au www.pr.ares.org
Le maire du canton d’Alfred-Plantagenet, Jean-Yves Lalonde (VE3HNB) effectue des tests de l’ émmetteur-radio d’ondes courtes.
Local amateur radio group tests emergency preparedness in annual exercise
(June 23, 2007)
The PR-ARES (Prescott-Russell Amateur Radio Emergency Service) held its annual group-preparedness exercise on June 23.
United Counties of Prescott and Russell war den and Alfred-Plantagenet township mayor Jean-Yves Lalonde visited Confederation Park in Hawkesbury to inspect the emergency communications system and participate for a few hours on Sunday morning.
The annual HAM radio exercise was held overnight from 2 p.m. on June 23 to 2 p.m. the next day. It was open to the public, who were offered a guided tour of the setup and an opportunity to learn more about amateur radio and local community emergency radio communications.
The equipment used at the demonstration was owned by the counties and is used as part of its emergency management plan.
The amateur radio group was testing the equipment to ensure its proper function and is also part of the county’s emergency plan.
The PR-ARES volunteer group is a community resource recognized locally by the counties, Alfred Plantagenet and the Town ship of Champlain, in each of their emergency plans.
On the weekend, about 20 active participants set up radio communication towers, assembled antennae and installed two-way radio systems to be ready at 2 p.m. for continent-wide communication with hundreds of other such groups also participating in local Field Day exercises.
The group was even at tempting to contact the international Space Station.
The event’s public relations officer, Michael Hickey, said astronauts frequently communicate with Earth using HAM radio systems.
The demonstration received about 16 visitors from Montreal, Alfred Plantagenet, Glen Robert son, Green Valley and from the Grenville and Hawkes bury area, according to the event’s public relations team, Lance Peterson and Hickey.
This is the fourth year the group has conducted the annual exercise – twice at Alfred-Plantagenet’s town hall and twice at the site in Hawkesbury.
Hickey said the exercise was put on with the help of the Town of Hawkes bury, Norleans Technology and Hawkesbury IGS, who provided wireless internet for the event To learn more about amateur radio, contact group leader Henry Jarzyna at 613-632-1022 or at [email protected] or by visiting visit www.pr-ares.org
(March 27, 2007)
L'exercice de communication se solde par un succes
(Juin 28, 2006)
Yves Rouleau – Hawkesbury
La journée de revue des radioamateurs de la région s’ est soldée par un succès indiscutable, en fin de semaine, au parc de la Confédération de Hawkesbury.
C’est du moins le bilan du responsable des relations publiques du Service de radioamateur en situation d’urgence de Prescott et Russell, Michael Hickey, qui soulignait la participation de quelque 19 opérateurs et l’intérèt manifesté par 24 visiteurs a la base de communication installée au pare.
Tout ce branle-bas a été mis sur pied par le Service de radioamateur dans le cadre de la Journée de revue de I’ American Radio Relay League. Sommairement, il s’agit d’un exercice radio en situation d’urgence tenue a l’ échelle de l’ Amerique du Nord. Le tout vise a entrainer les radioamateurs dans l’ eventualité d’ une catastrophe naturelle ou toute autre situation d’urgence. L’évenement se double d’unc compétition ou chaque équipe participante reçoit des points a chaque fois qu’elle réussit à entrer en communication avec une autre base.
« Le but principal est évidemment d’entrainer les radioamateurs pour qu’ils soient prets a fournir leur aide advenant une urgence comme une forte tornade ou un tremblement de terre, par exemple. Mais, évidemment, c’est également une occasion pour les amateurs de communication radio de la région de se rencontrer et de fraterniser entre eux », a indiqué Michael Hickey, lors d’ un entretien avec Le Carillon, Samedi pendant la Journée de revue.
L’ evenement, qui commencait samedi a 14h, durait 24 heures sans interruption. Le Service de radioamateur en situation d’ urgence de Prescott et Russell avait installé des antennes et, sous quelques tentes, des stations equipées de transmetteurs d’ ondes courtes ainsi que des appareils radio bidirectionnels. Les antennes permettaient évidemment les communications radio alors que les tentes abritaient les operateurs-radio et leurs appareils.
« ca fait maintenant quelques années que nous participons a la journée. J’estime que c’est notre plus belle réussite jusqu’ a présent étant donne le nombre de participants ainsi que la qualite du site disponible, qui etait mieux que les années d’avant», a souligne Michael Hickey.
« Les communications radio sont particulièrement utiles dans le cas de catastrophes, a-t-il ajouté. On pense que les catastrophes naturelles comme les tornades ne se produisent pas ici. Mais le réchauffement de la planete fait en sorte que le corridor des tornades a maintenant atteint Renfrew et l’on prédit qu’ il remontera jusqu’ a nous bientot ».
Daniel Schallere et Ronald Zirnicki ont participé à la journée de revue.
(June 16, 2006)
Public invited to Field Day
(June 24 ~ 25, 2006)
Always Prepared ... to Assist Always Prepared ... to Assist
(March 19, 2004)
Submitted by: Michael Hickey
Remember Y2K? Remember the near panic as the year 1999 approached 2000 and the world was caught up in fearful predictions of what would happen to all those computers that operated all that technology?
Here, in Prescott-Russell, the Amateur Radio Emergency Support Group was formed to provide communications support during the looming Y2K event.
An Amateur Radio operator is a person who is not paid to operate his or her radio station. In fact, Industry Canada prohibits them ever charging a fee for their volunteer radio service.
“Ham Radio operator” is an older term and today they are referred to as “Amateur Radio operator” the name given them by Industry Canada, responsible for all radio broadcast stations.
Being an Amateur radio operator is a growing hobby in “wireless communications” of all types. In fact, Hams (Amateurs) have been the pioneers of wireless communications for a century now through ongoing experiments and innovations, which are encouraged by · Industry Canada.
The ideas and discoveries over the decades by Amateurs worldwide have been and continue to be· used throughout the commercial wireless companies worldwide, of which we all enjoy today.
As a result of the Y2K scare, the Prescott-Russell Emergency Support Group (ARES) became a part of the Counties’ emergency plan and has been evolving ever since that event. The group has been preparing, using individually owned and operated radio equipment, to provide Amateur (Ham) Rapio emergency communication during times of emergency or disaster; “Primarily within the Prescott-Russell region.
Because of their training and organization, this group has the unique ability to initiate and operate an Amateur (Ham) Radio communications network to pass on local or distant vital radio messages originating from officials within the PrescottRussell region, over Amateur (Ham) radio frequencies.
In the past and in many regions, Amateurs have provided the Red Cross with emergency communications. support at emergency shelters, passing health and welfare information as well as registry and inquiry requests to their headquarters.
Within the capability of an Amateur Radio network, the group could provide communications to include the Municipal Emergency Operation Centers (EOC, usually located at Town Halls) Fire stations, OPP stations, Ambulance stations, or even the Hospital.
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service Group states very clearly that all of this works best with ongoing pre-planning with municipal and emergency responding officials. They further indicate that at this time, no pre-planning or letter of understanding exists with any of the municipalities within Prescott-Russel.
The Prescott-Russell Group continues to labor to provide good emergency, communications throughout the Counties of Prescott and Russell. To ensure this, it became necessary, to find a location around Alfred, Ontario, for their VHF (Very High Frequency) Amateur Radio Repeater System that would provide good radio coverage for the Counties.
The Alfred Home Hardware Store came to their rescue and volunteered space in their store building for the installation of the group’s repeater, which became operational in December 2002. During the summer of 2003, radio coverage was then improved by installing a more powerful antenna on a higher tower. (At the same time, with a few repairs and a gallon of aluminum paint, this made their tower look and function like new).
Increase Their Capability
The group’s eventual goal is to increase their capability to completely cover the Prescott-Russell region solidly with their radio repeater system. Though not yet fully satisfied and operating with no public funding, they now have reasonably good radio coverage of the region. This allows them nonetheless to provide emergency communications throughout much of the United Counties when called upon.
This also helps them as volunteer Amateur (Ham) Radio operators to provide to large community events their free radio communication service region-wide, when requested by event organizers. This fcree service not only aloows them to serve their community in this way but also serves as a training forum for the group to continuously improve their communication skills.
By way of example, the group volunteered their time and communication service throughout the Hawkesbury “Street Festival” last July. Along with other volunteer groups, they patrolled the event grounds regularly in a very visible manner and reported any incident regarding safety and security to the event organizer instantly. This group was in effect the”eyes and ears” for the event organizers as they patrolled the area. As a team, they use their Amateur (Ham) Radio hand held units and operate within a controlled communications network using their VHF simplex radio frequency.
They enjoy supporting community events such as car rallies, bike-a-thons, and walk-a-thons within the Prescott-Russell region, to which they are particularly well-equipped and suited.
Municipalities who decide to initiate “letter of understanding” with them will, also be able to utilize the group’s emergency service. The Prescott-Russell ARES group emphasizes that working ahead together, well in advance of anylarge scale emergency or a disaster, will go a long way to better and more quickly manage such an emergency, thus saving more lives and property in our local communities as a result.
In a training activity, the Prescott-Russell ARES Group (PR-ARES) held their annual SET (Simulated Emergency Test) exercise on November 08-2003 from 9:45 am to 11:45 am. PR-ARES was fully activated and deployed across the Prescott-Russell region. There were Ham Radio mobile units deployed to conduct communication tests from various locations such as Fire Halls, Town Halls, and/or Community Centres.
This exercise provided them with an opportunity to become familiar with these various locations and got a better ·understanding of the communication potentials or shortfalls from each of these locations, using their local VHF (Very High Frequency) repeater and each of the four surrounding Amateur Radio VHF repeaters outside of the Prescott-Russell region.
Want to Learn “Ham” Radio?
With the cooperation of the Bourget Local Fire Chief and municipal Fire Chief, the Fire Hall was used so that seven enthusiastic students could take the Amateur (Ham) Radio Basic License course, which began last September 2003 where the PR-ARES Group organized .ai1d conducted over the space of 12 weeks. On November 15-2003, each student wrote their 100-question Industry Canada exam and all passed successfully.
The Amateur Radio volunteer group explains that this then entitled the students to apply for and receive from Industry Canada their “Certificate of Proficiency in Amateur Radio” with their chosen station Callsign, which remains good for life. As a result, the PR-ARES Group then organized a welcoming get-together at the Champlain Motel Restaurant on November 29-2003 for the seven new Amateur (Ham) Radio operators to help them celebrate their initiation into the 21st Century Amateur Radio world.
Not stopping there, the group then later organized a second such Amateur Radio basic license course, which was conducted at a private home in the L’Orignal region, with 3 other students who are expected soon to write their Industry Canada exam and also receive their license and chosen Callsign. As a result, they will then be able to join the group of newly licensed Amateur Radio operators in the region, which all have joined the Prescott-Russell ARES Group to serve our local communities.
The Prescott-Russell ARES Group confirms that once again they are now organizing and preparing to conduct another Amateur (Ham) Radio basic license course, for those interested, which is to begin in early April in Plantagenet. Sessions will be on Saturdays, it may take less than 10 to 12 weeks to conduct, depending on the student’s speed of learning. The Amateur Radio volunteer group in general makes no profit from teaching as such, but will charge for the cost of learn- ing materials.
How to Listen In
The Prescott-Russell ARES Group gives an unusual invitation to the public large, that of listening in on their VHF repeater frequency on 145.470 MHz, by tuning their radio scanners and listening in to the ongoing local activities.
The group makes a point that what they do is not all work or training related. In fact, they spend much of their time enjoying and exploring their vast hobby a great deal, and they can explore so many different types of radio communication modes and capabilities, it would make your head spin.
You would have to continue to one of their ‘Amateur Radio presentation to the public sessions’ to come to grasp the astounding world of Amateur Radio communication in the 21st Century.
For those interested, the Prescott-Russell ARES. Group plan on conducting such a presentation on March 20 at the Hawkesbury Fire Hall at 2 PM. As this Amateur Radio group says it best, “young or old, commuter or shut in, everyone interested is invited to attend and learn· more on how YOU can become a licensed Amateur Radio operator.”
Calling out Amateur Radio Operators
(August 22, 2003)
BOURGET- Michael Hickey has always been fascinated with radio communication. At age 14, he got his first radio transmitter, a CB radio. Even then, he swore he would get his amateur radio license, sometime in the future. He got his wish, many years later, when he applied for his amateur radio exam, in 1992. That year, the federal government relaxed its standards to allow more people as licensed radio operators.
Amateur radio uses two-way radio equipment that permits sending and receiving of voice, digital and TV signals to communicate directly or through relay stations locally, to other cities, provinces or countries. Radios use short-wave radio bands (HF) or satellites to contact each other. Some amateur radio operators have made contact with the Space Shuttle and the Space Station. They also now have radio systems that are connected and operated through the Internet.
Amateur radio operators may be found at a traffic accident on a freeway, using a palm-size handheld radio, calling for help. A British Columbia teen uses her computer to upload a chess move through a radio set to an orbiting space satellite, where a fellow chess fan in Florida retrieves it. During the Ice Storm of 1998, sup plies were ordered from the Red Cross to Mother Teresa in Russell, even though all phone lines were down.
This unique mix of fun, convenience and public service is what distinguishes amateur radio. It is also different from CB as it requires a license and proven technical and operating skills. Unlicensed CB is legally limited to voice operation over low-powered equipment on a single frequency band. Amateur radio operators are allowed nine basic bands in the High-Frequency range; and Ultra High Frequency
History of amateur radio
Amateur radio is as old as the history of radio. Not long after Marconi first transmitted the letter ”S” from Wales to Newfoundland, in 1901, many amateur radio experimenters were trying the capabilities of these «spark gap» transmitters. In 1913, Parliament passed the Radiotelegraph Act and in 1914, issued the Radiotelegraph Regulations, prescribing the first operating and technical proficiency examinations for amateur radio in Canada. Since, amateur radio has grown to its present form with 50,000 station licenses.
Licensing of operators
Licensing is regulated by Industry Canada and is subject to numerous international agree ments. All amateur radio stations must be licensed. The basic qualification is the· entry-level and does not require Morse code. Candidates must pass with 70% a 100-question test on radio theory, regulations and operating practices. This basic qualification gives access to all amateur radio bands above 30 megahertz, in all modes. Once a qualification has been earned, it is good for life.
Although the main purpose of amateur radio is recreation, it is also called “Amateur Radio Service” because it also has a serious face. This service was created by the government, through licensing, to fill the need for a pool of experts who could provide communications in times of emer gency or war. The government also recognizes the ability of amateur radio to advance communication, technical skills and enhance international goodwill.
Countless lives have been saved when skilled hobbyists acted as emergency communicators · to render aid during or following a hurricane, tornado, ice storm, earthquake or other disasters.
Amateur radio operators are likely to be active after disasters that damage regular lines of communication due to power outages, as seen last week and destruction of telephone lines. They may set up and operate local and long-distance communication networks as backup for failed and/or overloaded government and emergency networks. They may also provide non-commercial communication for citizens affected by the disaster and friends and family outside the disaster zone.
Amateur radio course
Michael Hickey is passionate about amateur radio. He loves to be able to connect with anyone wherever he is. He loves to exchange, help, talk and share. He especially wants to share his passion with others. He has roped in three of his amateur radio buddies and together will be offering the basic qualification course, in Bourget, at the local Fire Hall, starting in September. The course will cost $70 and will cover the costs of the book, hand outs and photocopies. At this time, it is offered in English. Mike indicated that, if there were enough interest, a French course would be offered, as their teacher is bilingual. One of the teachers is also a qualified examiner so the testing will be done on-site at the end of the course.
Michael wants to point out that anyone, rich or poor, young and old, man, woman, child, shut-in, disabled, they all can become amateur radio operators and extend their range of communication. The average cost for new handheld radio is, on average $350 to $600 but used ones are also available in prices ranging from $100- $250.
People interested in signing up for this course or want to obtain more information can contact Michael Hickey at 679-4474 or VE3IPC. Mike now devotes most of his time to amateur radio, to the serious side of his hobby. He is currently recruiting licensed operators as well as others interested in obtaining their license to set up PR-ARES: Prescott-Russell Amateur Radio Emergency Service, for the United Counties.
As Mike would say: 73 every one, this is VE3IPC near Alfred Ontario, now clear and signing off…