This March, the NIH Radio Amateur Club commemorated its 50th birthday. During ths time, the Club has been proudly serving emergency communications needs of the National Institutes of Health, and gathering together NIH staff and members of our community interested in Amateur Radio. During our meeting of March 2nd, we cellebrated by participating on the ARRL International DX using a radio station at the Club. The purpose for the North American stations was to provide signal reports and provide our State prefix (MD) to foreign stations. We also shared sparkling cyder and some apetizers that sustained the participants. Today, the Club continues to make important contributions to NIH's emergency preparedness and response. For example, NIHRAC actively contributes to the Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP) by collaborating with the National Library of Medicine in developing and managing an emergency communications solution for the three hospitals in the partnership (see www.bhepp.org
NIHRAC will conduct a field-communications exercise
on the NIH campus in the morning of September 21
st, 2012. Station setup work will start at 8:30am on the west lawn of the NIH Fire Station
building 51. This event is in preparation for the support that NIHRAC will provide to the Bethesda hospitals during a disaster drill that will take place in October. We will simulate the provision of communications services to emergency responders during a disaster event that has severely disrupted telephone, cell and Internet services in the region. Visitors to the field exercise are welcome, but are encouraged to visit the station starting around 10am, so we can have the necessary space to move and setup the equipment safely. The station will be dismantled around noon.
The three BHEPP hospitals--Suburban-John Hopkins Hospital, the NIH Clinical Center and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center--particiated in an emergency drill on October 19th. NIHRAC members, were joined by MARS and additional volunteer hams to provide emergency communications support during this successful event. Hams provided Suburban Hospital and NIH Clinical Center with information about the arrival of patient transports (buses and helicopters) to the Incident Command Centers, and assisted Suburban in their use of the "BHEPP MARS/Winlink2000 Emergency Radio System" (BMERS, an emergency communications system developed in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine). The BMERS base station at the NIHRAC Emergency Communications Centers in the NIH campus, was efficiently operated by a MARS team.
Our thanks to those who participated on this event: Bill Hook (W3QBC), Ralph Johnson (WB0JKV), Andy Mitz (WA3LTJ), Tom Horne (W3TDH), Victor Cid (W3CID), and specially to the MARS team: Tony (KF3AK/AAT3FG) and Dave Smith (AAR3DL/AAM3MD).
Some related pictures have been added to our picture gallery.
The Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership (http://www.bhepp.org
) will participate in the Capital Shield 2011 Exercise in October 19th. Ham radio volunteers will be needed to assist this event by operating the BHEPP MARS Winlink2000 radio station and help with local communications during inter-hospital patient exchange exercises. The activities will take place mainly at the Suburban-John Hopkins Hospital and NIH Clinical Center. NIHRAC members who wish to help, please contact Victor (W3CID).
As hurricane Irene threatens the Eastern seaboard, NIHRAC members are preparing to offer volunteer emergency communications servcies to NIH and the Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP) if required during the aftermath of of the storm. Several club members are registered in a call-out list of volunteer radio operators willing to support NIH's or BHEPP's emergency response and recovery. If you are en experienced ham radio operator and would like to be added to this call-out list, please contact one of the club officers.
The September 2011 issue of the ARRL QST magazine
features an article by two NIHRAC members, W3CID and WA3LTJ. The article, titled "Optimizing Amateur Radio Resources for Major Disasters", describes the development of the first version of an emergency digital radio system based on the Winlink 2000 system. An enhanced and expanded version of the system is being currently developed. The work is funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM
) for the Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP
), and developed through a contract with Aquilent, inc. with contributions from NLM, NIHRAC, Army-MARS
, and other hams.
The NIHRAC participated in the Maryland-DC QSO Party on August 13 and 14, 2011. Club members gathered at W2CDO's home and took turns to operate his remarkable HF station as W3NIH. The radio competition was a lot of fun, and so was the gathering itself. The Club claimed over 20,000 points, making 207 contacts in 6 MDC counties and cities, 36 states and provinces, and 10 DX countries. For complete details, you can download our QSO Party Summary Sheet
or full QSO Party log
. Kudos to the excellent host, and to AI4SV for organizing the Club's participation in this event!
The Bethesda Hospitals' Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP) has cancelled their event at the Marriot Headquarters grounds in September 9th, 2011. Other National Preparedness Month activities will take place across the country during that month. For other event participation activities, visit the National Preparedness Month Coalition
Website or the Ready.gov
In case you haven't seen it yet, Kirk Lattner (KB3UQF) created a useful ham radio operation cheat sheet that new and even some experienced operators may find extremely handy. It includes useful VHF/UHF frequencies in the MD/DC area, phonetic characters, and Q-codes, among other ham radio operation information. The document comes in the form of an Excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded from our Resources
page, or directly from this link: http://www.nihrac.org/Resources/HamRadioCheatSheet_Generic.xlsx?attredirects=0&d=1
AMSAT reported that the ARISSat-1 satellite was successfully launched from
the International Space Station on Thursday Aug 4th. Initially there were some deployment delays due to questions about the condition of the satellite's 70 cm antenna, but the satellite is now in orbit and operating as designed.Satellite images and other transmissions are already being captured and reported by satellite communications enthusiasts around the world. Visit the AMSAT website (AMSAT website: http://www.amsat.org
) for information about the project, instructions about how to work the ARISSat-1 satellite, and view telemetry data and receiving reports, including some amazing SSTV images.