WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #4 – 1100 – 8/29/19


At 1100 EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Dorian was located about 220 miles north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Dorian is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Friday.  Maximum sustained winds are near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and Dorian is expected to become a major hurricane on Friday, and remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through the weekend.  Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).  The minimum central pressure based on data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 29.12 inches of mercury or 986 mb.

A west-northwestward motion is forecast to begin by Friday night and continue into the weekend. On this track, Dorian should move over the Atlantic well east of the southeastern and central Bahamas today and on Friday, approach the northwestern Bahamas Saturday, and move near or over portions of the northwest Bahamas on Sunday.  The following is noteworthy from the 1100 Forecast Discussion issued by the National Hurricane Center, “The new NHC track forecast is virtually unchanged from the
previous advisory, and lies very close to the multi-model consensus.  It should be noted that the ECMWF, UKMET, and HFIP corrected consensus models remain south of the official forecast. The spread of the deterministic models and the various ensemble guidance is still considerable at days 4 and 5, and it is too soon to specify where along the Florida east coast the greatest impacts could
occur.”

Yesterday afternoon at 1400 EDT, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order Executive Order 19-189, declaring a state of emergency for counties in the path of Hurricane Dorian, which includes Highlands County in the ARRL West Central Florida Section. The Governor is urging all Floridians on the East Coast to prepare for impacts, as the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center project Hurricane Dorian will make landfall on Florida’s East Coast as a major hurricane.  By declaring a state of emergency, Governor DeSantis is ensuring that state and local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare. The State Emergency Operations Center went to a Level 2 activation this morning, enhancing the coordination between federal, state and local emergency management agencies.  To read more about the State EOC activation status go to https://floridadisaster.org/state-eoc/.

At this time, ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES will go to a Level 3 activation, which is a standby status.  Our Section Emergency Coordinator, Ben Henley KI4IGX, and his staff are closely monitoring the situation and are staying in communications with our local ARES Emergency Coordinators and the State EOC.  A statewide conference call is planned this evening between all three ARRL Florida Section ARES programs to coordinate operations.   At the present time, Hillsborough County ARES/RACES is partially activated and plans to go to a full activation on Friday as their Emergency Management office is planning on opening shelters for evacuees from the Florida east coast.  Our ARES Emergency Coordinators are staying in close communications with their respective Emergency Management offices.

All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups personnel are requested to continue to closely monitor the latest advisories by the National Hurricane Center in Miami. All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups should stay in communication with their respective leadership for their groups in case that group is requested to activate. All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups personnel are highly encouraged to do any final checks on your equipment and supplies in case your group is requested to activate. Also everyone is highly encourage to continue any preparedness activities on your personal property as soon as possible.

The next WCF Section Special Bulletin will be issued following the 1100 advisory tomorrow unless conditions warrant a bulletin to be issued sooner.

END OF BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #3 – 1100 – 8/28/19


At 1100 hours, the center of Tropical Storm Dorian waslocated about 25 miles southeast of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dorian is moving toward the northwest near 13 miles per hour, and this motion is expected to continue for the next day or two. On this track,  Dorian should move near the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and then continue over the open Atlantic well east of the southeastern Bahamas.  Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. Dorian is forecast to become a hurricane later today and continue strengthening during the next few days over the Atlantic waters.  Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles primarily to the east of the center.  An Air Force plane just estimated a minimum central pressure of 29.50 inches of mercury.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect for, Vieques and Culebra, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.  A Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Puerto Rico.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the parts of the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona to Samana.  The following is the longer term outlook according to the forecast discussion issued at 1100, “The cyclone is heading toward a weakness in the Atlantic subtropical ridge, and this motion should continue for the next 2 to 3 days. However, after that time, all global models build a robust ridge over the western Atlantic, and this flow pattern should force Dorian to turn more to the west-northwest toward Florida and the southeast coast of the United States. All indications are that by this Labor Day weekend, a powerful hurricane will be near the Florida or southeastern coast of
the United States.”

The State EOC is at a Level 3 Activation, which is a monitoring status.  For more information and status reports on activities you may go to https://floridadisaster.org/state-eoc/.  Our Section Emergency Coordinator, Ben Henley KI4IGX, and his staff are closely monitoring the situation and are staying in communications with our local ARES Emergency Coordinators.   Our ARES Emergency Coordinators are staying in close communications with their respective Emergency Managment offices.  At the present time we have still not had any requests to activate any ARES or CERT groups from any of our county emergency management offices or any other served agencies.

All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups personnel are request to continue to closely monitor the latest advisories by the National Hurricane Center in Miami. All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups should stay in communication with their respective leadership for their groups in case that group is requested to activate. All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups personnel are highly encouraged to do any final checks on your equipment and supplies in case your group is requested to activate. Also everyone is highly encourage to continue any preparedness activities on your personal property as soon as possible.

The next WCF Section Special Bulletin will be issued following the 1100 advisory tomorrow unless conditions warrant a bulletin to be issued sooner.

END OF BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #2 – 2000 – 8/27/19

SECTION ARES AND INFORMATION NET HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 8/31/19

The Section ARES and Information Net on 3940 KHz at 0730 or immediately following the Florida Phone Traffic Net for Saturday August 31s had previously been cancelled in observance of Labor Day.  Per the request of the Section ARES staff, the net will be held on Saturday August 31 at 0730 or immediately following the Florida Phone Traffic Net on 3940 KHz for any EOC that is activated to test their HF capabilities.

At this time the Section ARES and Information Net for Monday September 2nd will remain CANCELLED in observance of Labor Day.  If necessary, a special session of the Section ARES Net can be called on the NI4CE Repeater System to support any Section ARES operations.

END OF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION SPECIAL BULLETIN #1 – 1100 – 8/27/19

Tropical Storm Dorian is currently located about 60 miles west-northwest of St. Lucia in the Windward Islands. Dorian is moving towards the west-northwest at 13 miles per hour, has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, with Tropical Storm force winds out to 45 miles from the center, and the minimum central pressure is still around 29.68″ or 1005 millibars. There are Hurricane Watches and Tropical Storm Warnings in effect for Puerto Rico and some of the eastern parts of the Dominican Republic. There are Tropical Storm Watches in effect for the eastern parts of the Dominican Republic not covered by a Tropical Storm Warning and or a Hurricane Watch and much of the Leeward Islands.
The following quote is from the discussion given by the National Hurricane Center: “Dorian is moving toward the west-northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue through tonight, followed by a turn toward the northwest on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Dorian will move across the eastern and northeastern Caribbean Sea during the next few days, passing near or south of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, move near or over eastern Hispaniola Wednesday night, and move north of Hispaniola on Thursday. On Thursday night and Friday, the center of Dorian is forecast to move near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas…Slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Dorian is forecast to be near hurricane strength when it moves close to Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola.”

The impacts to the West Central Florida Section are still quite variable and will be more certainly known in the next 24 to 48 hours.

At the present time we have not had any requests to activate any ARES or CERT groups from any of our county emergency management offices or any other served agencies.  All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups personnel are request to continue to closely monitor the latest advisories by the National Hurricane Center in Miami.  All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups should stay in communication with their respective leadership for their groups in case that group is requested to activate.  All ARES, ACS, and CERT groups personnel are highly encouraged to do any final checks on your equipment and supplies in case your group is requested to activate.  Also everyone is highly encourage to start and or continue any preparedness activities on your personal property.

The next WCF Section Special Bulletin will be issued following the 1100 advisory tomorrow unless conditions warrant a bulletin to be issued sooner.

END OF WCF SPECIAL BULLETIN

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #19-27

SECTION NET CANCELLATIONS FOR LABOR DAY

In observance of Labor Day on Monday September 2nd, the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES and Information Net scheduled for Saturday August 31st on 3940 KHz at 0730 EDT and the ARRL West Central Florida Section ARES and Information Net scheduled for Monday September 2nd on the NI4CE Repeater System at 1930 EDT are cancelled.  These nets will resume normal operation on Saturday September 7th and Monday September 9th respectively.  All other Section nets will operate as scheduled.  The ARRL West Central Florida Section wishes everyone a Happy Labor Day weekend.

 

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #19-26

FDOT TALKING WITH SARNET MANAGEMENT TEAM ABOUT RESUMING SARNET SUPPORT

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Chief Engineer issued the following statement on Wednesday August 21, which was posted on the SARNET website, concerning the initial decision to discontinue maintenance on the SARNET:

“Thank you for your input regarding the Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARNET) devices on the Florida Department of Transportation (Department) communications infrastructure used by amateur radio operators.  We are currently evaluating several options available to the Department concerning the future of the SARNET devices and no decision has yet been made.  Thanks again for your input.”

The SARNET management team has reported that the support for SARNET has been overwhelming and that FDOT has been in contact with them to see what the next step might be.  Sending in your email and letters has sent the right message:  Letting FDOT know how SARNET supported emergency management and the communities during the past hurricanes have alerted them to what SARNET means to emergency communications in the state of Florida.

The SARNET management team extends their thanks and asks for everyone to be patient. The team is working with officials, and as soon as they know more they will post it to SARNET website.

Also announced today on the SARNET website was the donation of a Hytera repeater to the SARNET network to provide a link into SARNET for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

For the latest information the SARNET website can be found at http://www.sarnetfl.com.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #19-25

SARNET SUPPORT FROM THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DISCONTINUED.

On Thursday August 15, the management team of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced that FDOT support of SARNET would be discontinued and was effective immediately.  SARNET stands for Statewide Amateur Radio Networking in Florida.  SARNET, which began operation in 2012, is a series of UHF repeaters that are linked together via the Florida Department of Transportation microwave network that runs along the Florida interstate system.  The primary purpose of SARNET is to provide amateur radio communications support in times of emergencies.  The SARNET was quite extensively used in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in October of 2018.  Some of the repeaters are privately owned and most are owned by FDOT.  As of the date of this press release, there are 35 repeaters on the air and 8 more that have been approved for construction and or were in various phases of construction.

Although the SARNET is still currently in full operation, the discontinuance of this support will, according to the statement on the SARNET website, will have detrimental effects to the SARNET system over time.  A quote from the SARNET website says the following, “This action will have an immediate affect on SARNET since ongoing maintenance activities have also been stopped.  In addition, it will lead to the slow-death of SARNET as problems occur that are not addressed. It is particularly disturbing that this decision was made in the middle of hurricane season”.

The management team for SARNET is requesting that amateur radio operators write a letter, sign it, and mail it to the chief engineer of the Florida Department of Transportation.  They also ask that everyone be courteous and professional in your comments, so FDOT can persuaded to come back to a supporting position for this important communications resource.  A template of a suggested letter in Microsoft Word format can be downloaded from the SARNET website directly at https://www.sarnetfl.com/uploads/6/1/7/0/61701057/william_watts.docx.  A template of a suggested form letter in PDF format can be downloaded from the SARNET website at https://www.sarnetfl.com/uploads/6/1/7/0/61701057/william_watts.pdf  The SARNET website is located at http://www.sarnetfl.com.

For more information on SARNET, including maps of the repeaters in the system, coverage maps, facts and history of SARNET you may go to the SARNET website at http://www.sarnetfl.com

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #19-24

THE WCF PRESSER ISSUE #40 AUGUST 2019 IS NOW PUBLISHED

The WCF PRESSER Issue #40 August 2019, has been published on the Section website.  An announcement of the publication of the WCF PRESSER will be disseminated on the ARRL remailer shortly. If anyone has any information that is amateur radio related that you would like to go into the next issue of THE WCF PRESSER, please send that to our newsletter editor, Jim Weslager K3WR via email at weslager@gmail.com.

For the PDF version of this newsletter and past issues in PDF format go to http://arrlwcf.org/home/the-wcf-section-presser-arrl-west-central-florida-section-news/.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #19-23

TECHCON 2020 DATE AND VENUE SET

The 6th Annual TECHCON date and venue have been set.  The 6th Annual TECHCON, the ARRL West Central Florida Section Technical Conference, will be held on Friday February 21, 2020 and Saturday February 22, 2020.  The location for the 6th Annual TECHCON will be at the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center located in Punta Gorda.  The Friday Afternoon Workshop will be on “Introduction to Internet of Things” by Jon Pellant W1JP, the ARES Emergency Coordinator for Charlotte County and ARRL Technical Specialist.

Registration is now open for the 6th Annual TECHCON.  If you are planning on attending TECHCON, please register for TECHCON by filling out a TECHCON Registration Form on the Section website at http://arrlwcf.org/section-forms/wcftechconfregistration/. Some of our previous presenters at TECHCON are planning on returning for the 6th Annual TECHCON, but we are looking for new presenters for the 6th Annual TECHCON as well.  If you wish to be a presenter, please fill out the TECHCON Registration Form and our Section Manager Darrell Davis KT4WX will get back with you.  For more information on TECHCON you may go to the TECHCON web page on the Section website at http://arrlwcf.org/wcf-special-events/wcftechconference/.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASE #19-22

WCF EXPERIMENTER IS BACK IN PUBLICATION AND SUMMER 2019 ISSUE IS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

The WCF EXPERIMENTER is back in publication and has a totally new look.  The WCF EXPERIMENTER Summer 2019 issue is now available for download. To download the Summer 2019 issue and any other previous issues please go to the WCF EXPERIMENTER webpage at http://arrlwcf.org/home/the-wcf-experimenter-technical-newsletter/.  The WCF EXPERIMENTER will be published quarterly, and on occasion a supplemental issue as needed.

Jim Weslager K3WR is the new editor for the WCF EXPERIMENTER and also the WCF PRESSER, our Section monthly newsletter.   We are looking for articles for future editions of THE WCF EXPERIMENTER.  If you would like to submit an article, please send those submissions to Jim Weslager K3WR via email at weslager@gmail.com.

END OF PRESS RELEASE

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