Happy New Year

As we look forward to 2018, we have some hospital drills coming up in the April/May timeframe. We will be continuing to develop our Winlink skills in preparation for those exercises. In the coming weeks, we will be posting some information on the use of Winlink on this website. We will also devote some of our weekly nets to this topic. Even if you do not have a Winlink-capable station, you can participate in this training using any computer connected to the Internet. Get ready by downloading the Winlink Express software from — or run the program to get the latest auto-updates if you haven’t used it in a while.

Also, during our weekly nets in January and February, we will be making use of some of the local repeaters. Although our “home” on the MARC repeater is a very comfortable place, we are blessed with lots of fine repeaters in the DC/Baltimore area. In an emergency, our usual hangout might not be available, and even if it is, there are many good reasons why we might want to use other repeaters. We want our members to know which ones you can reach from your home and/or work locations. Check out the list of our preferred repeaters here.

During the past couple of weeks, we tried out the WA3YOO repeater. To our surprise, we discovered it was not working very well. On December 28, NC3M, N3ITA, and WA3KOK made a site visit to do a repeater transplant, installing a Motorola dual-mode repeater that was generously donated by WA3KOK. Fortunately, the antenna system checked out ok, and the hardware swap went smoothly. The new repeater will operate ether as a conventional analog FM repeateror in P25 digital mode, depending on which kind of signal is presented. a 156.7 Hz PL (CTCSS) tone MUST be presented in analog mode, and if your radio has PL capability on receive, you might want to set it up as well to mask the hissing/buzzing sounds that the repeater makes when repeating a P25 signal.

Prince Georges ARES invites us to participate in their quarterly Hospital Drill at 7 PM on January 4. Unlike the monthly Maryland/DC hospital radio nets, which are conducted from members’ home stations, these quarterly exercises involve practice deployments to participating hospitals in PG County and nearby jurisdictions to confirm that the equipment installed there is in good operating condition. In Montgomery County, we expect to activate our station at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, but we can also use one or two home stations to relay messages between hospitals via HF. If you are interested in participating, please contact KN3U.

Upcoming Net Topics

ARES training nets are held on Tuesdays at 2000 local, usually on the MARC 146.955 (156.7) repeater.

wdt_IDDateProgram TypeTopicRadio Officer
71 01/09/2018 Exercise Check out local repeaters TBD
72 01/02/2018 Exercise Check out WA3YOO coverage TBD
74 01/23/2018 Presentation Winlink use in Maryland/DC KN3U
73 01/16/2018 Exercise Check out local repeaters TBD

Other Upcoming Events

wdt_IDDateTimeEvent TypeTopic
18 01/08/2018 1900 - 2100 MC ACS Board Meeting* --
15 01/17/2018 1900 - 2000 Armchair Exercise Maryland/DC Section monthly Hospital Radio Net, 3820 kHz. See details below.
21 01/04/2018 7 PM Exercise Prince Georges ARES quarterly hospital drill. See announcement above.

* Board meetings are open to members, but space is limited and time and place are subject to change, so please RSVP with a board member if you would like to attend.


Monthly HF Hospital Nets

Our ARES colleagues in Prince Georges County sponsor a monthly HF Hospital Net on 3820 kHz LSB. Despite the name, all local amateurs are invited to check into the net from your home station. Most hospital EOCs in the DC/Maryland area are not equipped for HF operation. The concept of operations is as follows. In the event that a hospital needs to communicate with an entity outside of VHF/UHF range, the traffic will be passed to a nearby HF-equipped ham via VHF/UHF, then forwarded to the distant entity via HF radio. In other words, the home-based HF station serves as a relay point for the hospital traffic.

We encourage such home-based hospital relay stations to equip themselves with Winlink capability so that record traffic can easily be relayed, but voice-only stations are welcomed to participate.

These exercises are normally scheduled on the Wednesday following the third Monday of the month at 7:00 PM local time. (That’s because the PG ARES group has its monthly meeting on the third Monday of the month.) If the frequency is busy, tune down 5 kHz.