Some NIHRAC members joined the Randallstown Amateur Radio Club during the ARRL Field Day 2015 event. The group setup radio stations at the Washington Monument State Park in Middletown, MD, as a "2A" station which used only emergency power. This was a fun but very effective emergency preparedness activity that tested the capabilities of the group to deploy during an emergency and operate continuously for 24 hours. The team communicated successfully on HF and VHF, using a variety of radio communications modes, including phone (voice), CW, PSK31 and WL2K packet and Pactor. During the event, hams also experimented with high-speed point-to-point radio links to provide Internet connectivity to the camp site. The weather provided a challenging storming environment on Friday--during setup--and Saturday, but rewarded the group's efforts efforts with a beautiful sunny Sunday. Several visitors were involved in the communications activities via the Get On The Air (GOTA) radio station. Once again, Field Day was source of valuable and memorable experiences for all involved.
Our Club facility, also known as the NIH Volunteer Emergency Communications Facility, has been relocated temporarily from its original location in room 308 of NIH Building 11 to room 305 across the hall. We will remain in this room during the summer, while the NIH Office of Research Facilities completes a renovation of the building floor. Our monthly meetings will be conducted in this room during this time. We have setup a few radio stations and we will hold our meeting in this room during this time. The process to get in the room during meetings remains essentially the same, except that we don't have access to a telephone line in the room yet and therefore our main line of communications is our 2m repeater (see info elsewhere on our website) and our conference line, which is normally activated a few minutes after our meeting time. You can also send email to our firstname.lastname@example.org email address, as some club officers can see emails sent to this account via their personal mobile commercial digital radios (a.k.a., cellular phones).
The NIH Radio Amateur Club received a posthumous donation of amateur radio equipment and tools from the estate of Quinton N. Marsh, N3KGM. Quinton passed away in December, 2014 at the age of 99 years old.
Quinton was a Navy veteran who served during World War II, held an Extra Class FCC Amateur Radio License, and served as a Volunteer Examiner in support of new generations of hams. He was an active NIHRAC member until a few years ago, frequently helped the Club as a volunteer communicator during emergency exercises that involved the NIH Clinical Center, and was an active participant in numerous Monday night nets in our repeaters. Despite the confines of living in an apartment house in the last few years, he was active on 75-meter SSB.
The NIHRAC Club members wish to express our appreciation to Quinton and his family for this generous donation, which will supplement our resources for emergency preparedness and the joy of the hobby. We celebrate Quinton's life as a person of service and integrity, a respected fellow ham and a friend.
NIHRAC was represented at the Preparedness Summit in Atlanta in April 2015. This event, sponsored by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), gathered over 2000 public health and emergency management professionals from across the country and foreign nations. The event had a number of amateur radio activities, including a session on amateur radio technologies for emergency support, a license test preparation class for new and aspiring hams, an amateur radio exhibit boot, and a especial event radio station. The event also offered a license test session, which allowed around 14 hams (roughly half of those who took the exams) to obtain or upgrade their FCC licenses. The NIHRAC representative, W3CID, presented about Winlink 2000
, supported the test preparation session, and provided log support during the operation of the N4P especial event station at the Georgia Tech Amateur Radio Club
. N4P made over 900 contacts, which included stations in all 50 states and 35 countries, in 4 fun evenings of amateur radio good-will communications. The worked stations also included W6RO (the R.M.S. Queen Mary station in Long Beach), several Emergency Operations Centers, W1HQ (the ARRL HQ Station) and other remarkable stations. The special event station advertised operations in several bands and Echolink, but most contacts were in the 20 Mts band. The GATech Amateur Radio Club graciously allowed Summit hams to use their equipment, which included a YAESU MARK V FT-1000MP transceiver, a 1000 W linear amplifier, and a 4-element 20M beam, among others. The Summit was also the inaugural event for the recently-created Public Health Amateur Radio Club.
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.