NIHRAC will participate on the "Preparedness Summit 2015 - Global Health Security: Preparing a Nation for Emerging Threats
" in Atlanta, Georgia, April 13-17. The Summit is the premier national conference in the field of public health and healthcare preparedness and it's regularly attended by thousands of public health and emergency management professionals from across the nation and abroad. During this 10th edition of the Summit, W3CID will conduct a hands-on demonstration of the BMERS
system for emergency email communications over radio. Several ham radio activities sponsored by NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials) are planned during the event, including: a booth where attendees will be able to learn about the role of ham radio in emergencies; a ham radio Technician exam license preparation session ("Ham Cram"); and a ham radio exam session where new hams will be able to get their ticket. In collaboration with the Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Club, the newly formed Public Health Amateur Radio Club, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, the Kennehoochee Amateur Radio Club, Cobb County ARES and NACCHO, the special event radio station N4P will operate during the Summit form the nearby Georgia Tech campus. The station will operate on VHF, HF and EchoLink (W4AQL). Frequencies will be announced soon--check this announcement for updates.
The NIHRAC Club facility in the NIH campus will undergo renovation work during the next few months. The NIH Office of Research Facilities is designing the new Club space and plans to start the demolition and rebuilding process in the following weeks. The new office space will be located on the same floor and building as will be around the same size, but probably will be shifted to another location on the floor. The new facility will enjoy modern construction materials, improved power, A/C and lighting, and a number of other improvements. We are in the process of moving the Club's belongings to an adjacent office space, which will serve as storage area and temporary radio operating location. We expect to remain in that temporary space for around four months. We need volunteers to help classify, pack and transport materials. More information about this process will be shared via our membership email list and our website.
The NIH Radio Amateur Club has a new official logotype. The new design represents our hobby, the region we operate in (Maryland and the National Capital Region), and our role as an emergency communications support capability of the National Institutes of Health, our hosting organization. A high resolution version of our logo is available for download on our Documents and Software page.
We are saddened by the recent passing on of Dennis Potts, KD4ANE. Dennis served NIH for 32 years in support of the NIH radio communications, including pagers, two-way land mobile trunk networks and the distributed antenna system for pagers. In addition to many other duties, both technical and administrative, Dennis provided inter-agency support for NIH to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for radio frequency coordination and management. He was an active member of NIHRAC for many years.
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.