Friday, April 6, 2012

Source of Emergency Electricity

Radio Interference from L.E.D. 120v. Light Bulbs

Amateur radio operator tests effects of several L.E.D. household lightbulbs on radio reception (noise floor).
courtesy of VE3CLQ, Frontenac County Emcomm., Kingston, ON, Canada

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


08 Feb 2012


As you are aware significant change is coming to Ontario in terms of the way RAC affairs will be
managed. In the past the Ontario Section has been served by one elected official – the Section
Manager – who was responsible for the operation of a Field Service. For the last six years I have had
the honour and pleasure of serving as your Section Manager overseeing the ARES, NTS, Official Bulletin
Service and the Official Observer Service on your behalf. I have had the opportunity to work with many
wonderful and knowledgeable assistants and Amateurs in these services, and the wealth of experience in
the province is second to none.

However, it has been recognized for some time now that a communications gap exists between RAC
as an organization and the clubs and individual Amateurs that it aims to serve. An extensive analysis
resulted in VPFS recommending, to the President, the implementation of a full Field Organization
containing both administrative support functions to the clubs as well as the established Field Service.
With 60% of Canadian Amateurs resident within the province, VPFS also recommended to the President
that Ontario be restructured to improve representation. The Ontario Restructure Commission consulted
with the clubs and individuals and brought forth a recommendation to divide Ontario into four Sections
RAC Bulletin 2012-006E. The RAC Board of Directors approved both the Field Organization and
reorganization recommendations, and VPFS has initiated the restructure process effective immediately;
see RAC Bulletin 2012-007E for the overall transition plan. The purpose of this Bulletin is to add more
detail on the inaugural Section Manager Appointment process within that plan.

The transition process is now in progress. The first step is to select and appoint the four new Section
Managers with a target date of 1 May, 2012. The four Section Managers will then form a Transition
Council which, with VPFS advice and support, will guide the remainder of the transition process. The
Transition Council will become the Ontario Provincial Council on 1 September, 2012 when the new
section structure becomes official. During the transition period the new Section Managers will participate
in a VPFS-led training period, establish provisional Section operating procedures, and recruit section
staff. In the meantime, the Ontario Section will continue official operations it is stood down on 31 August,

As your present Ontario Section Manager, VPFS has asked me to fulfil my current mandate as the
inaugural Ontario North Section Manager, the new Section that I am resident in. VPFS has asked me
to administer the process of accepting candidates for appointment to the remaining three Sections.
Following the precedent set by the Restructure Commission, I am looking to the clubs and ARES groups
to nominate appropriately skilled and capable candidates. It is important to take into consideration that
the role of the Section Manager has changed. As most of you know I am a firm believer in face to face
contact something I could not do as one person for Ontario. This is why I am excited about the new focus
on developing a two-way relationship between the section staff and the clubs. Developing this new
partnership calls for leadership and innovation on the part of the Section Managers, their volunteer staff,
and the club executives.

A new job description for the Section Managers under the new Field Organization has not yet been
developed. This task will take place within the VPFS Council once the Ontario Transition Council
is operational and the Ontario Section Managers have joined the VPFS Council. A provisional job
description has been provided by VPFS as an interim guide (attached). The scope of responsibility
has increased, but under the new Field Organization structure there are new administrative support
mechanisms at section and level to conduct the work. In particular, the role of four of the new Section
component heads combine to facilitate a communication loop between the Section Manager and the club

executive. The job description highlights the importance of selecting a candidate with the personal and
leadership attributes required to guide the introduction of the Field Organization at Section level.

Following the principles of the election process described in the RAC Administration Manual, nominations
should be in the form of a nomination letter signed by 10 Full RAC members, covering a biography of
the nominee, as well as a letter from the nominee accepting the nomination. Given that this is a unique
circumstance, where a club nomination is arrived at by consensus or vote, a nomination letter signed by
the club president is acceptable (this is not restricted to Affiliated Clubs). The nomination documents
should be mailed to me at my home address, to arrive no later than 31 March, 2012:

Allan Boyd VE3AJB
Ontario Section Manager
P.O. Box 208,
Little Current, ON P0P 1K0

A selection committee, composed of the two Ontario Directors and myself as chair, will be convened in
early April as soon as copies of the documents can be distributed. The recommended candidates will
be proposed to VPFS for approval and the President for confirmation. It is important to know that as a
Section Manager for the North I do not have a vote on who is selected as the other Section Managers.
This is to be completed by the directors for Ontario and VPFS. The nominees will be informed first of the
final result, followed by an Ontario Bulletin with the official announcement.

I invite all Ontario Amateurs, clubs and ARES groups in the new Ontario East, South and GTA Sections
to discuss the issues and nominate a candidate who you feel has the initiative and leadership skills
needed to create a Section team, implement the new Field Organization structure, and initiate the
consultation mechanisms between the clubs and the Section Manager.

As your present Section Manager for the past 6 years I want to take this opportunity to thank all of
you that have supported me and my field services members over the years. Your commitment to the
program has been proven many times over. I look forward to serving the members of Northern Ontario
as your Section Manager until such time to re-elect the position. As always I am open to any questions
or concerns that you may have. Please feel free to contact me at anytime. I look forward to this new
process and the exciting times ahead for field services and RAC.

Yours Truly

Allan Boyd

Allan Boyd
Section Manager
Radio Amateurs of Canada

Attachment: Provisional Appointment Description - Section Manager


The Section Manager is elected by the RAC member’s resident in the Section to provide leadership in
the delivery of RAC programs and services within the Section. The Section Manager has two reporting

1. to advise the Regional Director on general matters of RAC policy as it affects the Amateur
community within the Section, and to keep the Regional Director informed of Section activities;

2. to the Vice President Field Services for the efficient and effective delivery of RAC programs,
membership services, and the operation of the Field Service, within the Section.

The Section Manager serves as a member of the Director’s cabinet facilitating an open line of
communication between the two elected officials responsible for RAC policy and field operations within
the Section. The Regional Director should be included as an information addressee on all relevant
correspondence or information distributed to the members of the Section. The Regional Director should
be an ex officio member of the Section Manager’s advisory group, and receive an information copy of all
official correspondence.

To coordinate the delivery of RAC programs and services nationally, and to provide collective advice to
the Vice-President Field Operations on matters of operations policy and procedures, the Section Manager
serves as a member of the national Field Organization Council chaired by the Vice President of Field

To carry out his/her responsibilities to the Amateur community within the Section, the Section Manager is
assisted by eight (8) principal officers, each of whom has the status of Assistant Section Manager. Each
officer serves as head of a component within the Section field operation. The Section Manager is free to
appoint additional Assistants or Special Advisors, as required, to manage projects or to provide specialist
advice. The eight component heads are:

Provincial / Territorial Government Liaison (PGL). The role of the PGL is to remain abreast
of provincial/territorial government affairs as they affect Section-level field organization
responsibilities, and to serve as the Section Manager’s representative to government authorities
when authorized. This appointment would normally be made by a provincial council where the
jurisdiction contains two or more sections.

Public Information Coordinator (PIC). Working with the Vice-President Public Relations and other
Executive-level officers, the role of the PIC is to facilitate the exchange of newsworthy information
to and from club Public Information Officers (PIO), to facilitate the delivery of appropriate material
to the Bulletin Manager, and to serve as the principal spokesperson to the media on behalf of the
Section Manager.

Affiliated Club Coordinator (ACC). The role of the ACC is to assist clubs with internal
administration advice where appropriate and consistent with the Affiliated Club President’s
Workbook, assist club’s with keeping club contact information current on RAC websites,
promoting joint club activities and programs across the Section, and encouraging clubs to join
RAC as an Affiliated Club.

Technical Coordinator (TC). The role of the TC is to facilitate club and local Technical Specialist
(TS) involvement in RAC technical committee activities, to facilitate responses to Industry Canada
papers and enquiries, and to assist with questions of spectrum management or interference.

Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC). The role of the Section Emergency Coordinator is to
advise the SM on provincial (territorial) government legislation, regulations and policy as it affects
the provision of auxiliary communication services by the Amateur Radio community. The SEC
is the senior official in the Section’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and provides
the leadership and guidance required to ensure that ARES Groups are trained and qualified to
provide auxiliary communication services commensurate with the expectations of municipal level
governments and Field Service standards.

Section Traffic Manager (STM). The role of the STM is to supervise the Section’s traffic handling
organization all traffic efforts within the section, regardless of mode or National Traffic System
affiliation, so that routings within the section and connections with other networks and digital
traffic nodes will result in orderly and efficient traffic flow.

Section Bulletin Manager (SBM). The role of the SBM is to collate and produce weekly information
bulletins containing international, national and intra-section topics of interest to the Amateur
Radio community. The SBM is assisted by, and supervises, a network of Official Bulletin Stations
(OBS) who read the bulletins during local repeater nets or publish them via such means as club

Official Observer Coordinator (OOC). The role of the OOC is to recruit and oversee volunteer
Official Observers (OO) whose function is to monitor on-air activities, alert operators when there
is the possibility that a station may not be in technical conformance with government regulations,
and to coach operators on good operating practices.

These eight officers collectively are the principal members of the Section Manager’s Cabinet as described
in the Section Manager’s Survival Guide available at the RAC website. The first four officers are primarily
concerned with the management and oversight of Section Manager’s administrative responsibilities; the
last four collectively form the Section’s Field Service. Of the eight components, an effective emergency
communications capability is considered vital as this public service is perhaps the main reason that the
federal government supports the existence of the Amateur Radio Service in Canada.

The Section Manger is encouraged to appoint personal assistants to serve as the secretary to the
cabinet, and for such other administrative support functions as required.

In discharging his/her responsibilities, the Section Manager:

makes a monthly written report to the Vice President Field Service on the status of Section

conducts personal visits to clubs, hamfests and conventions to the greatest extent possible;

writes, or supervises, preparation of a monthly "Section News" column for the inclusion in TCA;

to encourage member participation in the RAC programs in the Section.

The term of office for all RAC elected officials and executive officers is two years, for a maximum of
three terms, and this guidance should be considered when making Section appointments. A key Section
Manager function therefore is succession planning. Every opportunity should be seized to recruit
capable volunteers, mentor them, and encourage them to progress onward to the more challenging (and
personally rewarding) Section responsibilities. No opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of these
volunteers should be missed. The most important of all the responsibilities that a Section Manager has
is to groom a successor. Ideally this person will have served as a component head and is active within
the Section ARES program, and served on a club executive. In particular, participation in a properly
functioning cabinet is key to mentoring the Section Manager’s successor.

Recruitment of new hams and RAC members is an integral part of the job of every appointee.
Appointees should take advantage of every opportunity to recruit a new ham or member to foster the
growth of Field Organization programs, and our abilities to serve the public.

Requirement: The Section Manager is required to be a Full RAC member, and possess the Incident
Command/Management System certifications expected of an ARES Amateur Radio operator.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Loss of Communication Services in Hastings County (2012/02/16)

February 22, 2012
from: Hastings County

In an effort to review and improve our existing partnerships I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cooperation and assistance during the events that occurred when the Bell phone lines were cut on Thursday February 16, 2012.

While no emergency was declared, we certainly consider this to have been a significant event as great deal of coordination was involved in ensuring essential services remained accessible to affected residents. There was an initial debrief of key members of the Hastings County Control Group. At this time we would welcome feedback on what you felt worked well and any recommendations for improvement.

HASTINGS COUNTY: Interruption lasted 12 hours (A.R.E.S.)

No 911 calls missed, director says

HASTINGS COUNTY: Interruption lasted 12 hours

By W. BRICE MCVICAR The Intelligencer

Posted 2 days ago
Good internal communication saved the day when external communication broke down, said the man leading emergency measures in Hastings County.
Despite hours without phone service in a huge portion of Hastings County, there were no 911 calls missed during last week’s service interruption.
Doug Socha, chief of Hastings Quinte Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and director for Emergency Services, provided Hastings County council with a brief overview of last week’s telephone service interruption which left residences and businesses north of Highway 401 without service.
That lack of service meant residents could not use their phones to contact emergency services. But, despite the outage stretching over more than 12 hours, Socha said he has yet to hear of any calls missed.
“I haven’t been made aware of any missed 911 calls during that outage,” Socha said.
The incident began Feb. 16 when a fibre optic phone line was severed by workers near the intersection of Maitland Drive and Highway 62. It wasn’t until 11 p.m., Socha said, that Bell Canada had fully restored service.
In the interim, emergency services in the region pulled together to ensure residents’ safety was not threatened and, in an emergency, responders could be reached.
“We always had radio communication between all emergency services. At no time did we have any lack of communication in that regard. The issue was access to calling 911,” Socha told council members.
In a bid to mitigate any threats to safety, police stations, fire halls and ambulance headquarters in the area were “fully staffed” and social media and local media were used to let residents know if they could not contact 911 to travel to their local fire hall or police station in the event they needed emergency services.
Socha said, in addition, “amateur radio operators” were put in “key locations” to ensure communication flow continued and the public could alert emergency responders if they were needed.
Hastings County warden Terry Clemens congratulated Socha and his staff on the way the issue was managed and thanked him for the efficiency.
“We like to get practised up and that’s what you’re doing,” Clemens said, adding being prepared for emergencies of any scale is integral in community safety across the county.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Phone Service Outage in Hastings County

Approaching noon on Thursday February 16, 2012  I received a phone call from the Emergency Planning Coordinator for Hastings County informing me that there was a situation in which phone and related communication services were inoperable north of Belleville in the County of Hastings. I was advised that there was no fire service coverage for two isolated communities, one in the centre and one in the extreme north of Hastings County. We (A.R.E.S.) were able to send an amateur radio operator to each of the two communities, as well as set up a 2-meter radio station at a fire hall in the centre (Eldorado) of the county. We were able to establish radio communication with the two isolated communities, as well as my location in the City of Belleville through the radio station at the fire hall in Eldorado. I was able to pass information to and from the Hastings County emergency management team. In mid-afternoon our network was joined by amateur radio operators at the Belleville Red Cross building.
Later in the afternoon, amateur radio operators from Belleville and Marmora, as well as the Tweed area, where dispatched to establish that there was communication from the local nursing homes and retirement residences to emergency services.
At 10:00 p.m. I received word from the Emergency Planning Coordinator for Hastings County that communication had been reestablished with the north and central areas of Hastings County. At that time I informed the active amateur radio operators, as well as those who were standing by in the areas around the municipalities of Kingston and Perth, that they could stand down. Matthew Dwight, VE3OCC,  who had driven from Picton to Bolter, a distance of 350 km. (return), was released from his operating position at that time.  He arrived back home in Picton after one o'clock a.m.
Google map link:
There was no "life and death" traffic that we were required to pass on, but we were able to play a role in keeping the county's emergency management team up-to-date with situations at isolated areas of the county as the event progressed.

Bill Milligan, District Emergency Coordinator, A.R.E.S. Loyalist District .

Some notes/thoughts on my Deployment to Boulter on Thursday (2012/02/16).by Matthew Dwight, VE3OCC.

Here are some notes/thoughts on my deployment to Boulter on Thursday (2012/02/16).

I became aware of the incident when I read about the fiber-optic cable cut in the online Belleville Intelligencer website just before noon.  The article indicated there was problem with 911 service between north of the 401 and Bancroft.  I tried contacting Bill VA3WOW on his home phone but was unable to as his phone being busy.
Thinking ARES might be activated I packed a few things I thought I would need and started heading towards Belleville to be closer.  I was on the way to Belleville when Bill contacted me on the VE3TJU repeater asking me to go on Standby.   I told Bill I was headed towards Belleville and we decided would meet at his house.
After arriving at Bill's, he asked if I could got to Boulter at the request of the Hastings CEMC.  Bill indicated this was east of Bancroft on 28.  Plugging this into my GPS I started heading north. Before leaving Belleville I decided to get a full tank of gas thinking there might be problems processing debit/credit cards due to the fiber-optic cable cut.
The trip to Boulter took close to 2 hours but I was able to remain in contact with Bill and/or Eldorado via the Tweed or McCrae repeater. Prior to arrival I was informed to meet with the official at the Township municipal office.
Due to the small size of Boulter, finding the municipal office was not an issue.  On arrival I meet with Arlene, the office manager. Arlene was expecting someone as she had an e-mail from the CEMC.  Imade contact with Eldorado (netcontrol) indicating that I was onsite and talked to the officials.
The local land line phones in the area where restricted to calls within their exchange.  The officials had notified the local radio station/schools/local stores that Mayo/Carlow residence should call 911 first, call a 1-800 number,  if that is not working try 911 on their cell phones and if that is not working to call the municipal office in Boulter.
The office did have internet connectivity via Satellite and wasreceiving updates from the CEMC.  The cellphone service was marginal.
The municipal office did have a form of radio contact with aneighbouring municipality's fire department.  They could call out on the public works radio, which the firehall monitored and the office could then monitor the response on the fire frequency.   I told Arlene to continue to use this method as the first  method of communication, then use my connection to Eldorado.  No calls for emergency service where received. Arlene's husband Jeff brought in a pizza, and coffee and pop was available at the office. I was well looked after.
I was told by Eldorado net-control that I could stand-down at approx. 10pm.    After letting Arlene know, who had just been informed herself by the CEMC, I left Boulter.    Peter, VA3PGB, and Joe, VA3JAD, remained available until I made it to Madoc and Bill, VA3WOW, remained available until I made it back home to Picton. I arrived back in Picton about 1am.
A few notes:
(1) Cash.  Next to no power, lack of cash will stops a lot of things when debit/credit cards can't be processed.  Even the Tim Horton cards stop working.  The report of the OPP officer trying to get a gas station attendant to accept a manual copy of his credit card indicates no one can get by without cash.  Jeff reported that Bancroft was a mess as no-one could process the debit/credit cards and he only managed to dig up enough cash to pay for the pizza. I had about 75cents in cash on me.
(2) Check my list of items to bring.  I have a list I keep in a Rubbermaid box along with the items I should bring, not just for ARES, but other things while I am out on the road in the winter.  I should have checked the list before I left.  This insures (A) that everything I need is in the box and (B) the box is actually in the car.  I  need to add CASH to the list.
(3) Its good to know the name of the person requesting your services. Knowing Leanne Latter from Hastings County Emergency Services had requested our services helps when meeting with municipal officials for the first time.  Arlene had known that someone from ARES was coming but may not have if her Internet connection had been out. I would have looked like a stranger showing up at the door with no official business being there.
(4) I was impressed with the repeater coverage from the Bancroft area. The McCrea repeater worked great with  access to base stations in Belleville.  Along with the Tweed repeater I had almost 100% coverage all the way to Bouter with the exception of a few low spots.  These might not be available during a power outage.  There is no backup power available on the McCrae repeater at present.
(5) With a mobile radio I was forced to operate from the car.   This required me to run the car occasionally to keep it warm.    I should have a  battery operated CO detector in the car. The handheld transceiver was hit and miss receiving when I was inside the building and I did not bother trying to transmit. A dual band repeater in the car and dual band handheld would have allowed me to operate inside. Just an antenna on the building would have allowed me to bring in my mobile with my battery pack which I did have in the car.
Matthew, VE3OCC