VoIP Hurricane Net Management Team Seeking Experienced Net Controls

The VoIP Hurricane Net is looking for net control operators (NCOs) to assist with its weekly hurricane preparation net and during hurricane net activations. The VoIP Hurricane net, which was created in 2002, is a support net working with WX4NHC, the amateur radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC). WX4NHC operations are organized by Julio Ripoll-WD4R, Assistant National Hurricane Center Coordinator and John McHugh-K4AG, National Hurricane Center Coordinator.The VoIP Hurricane Net uses a cross-link between an IRLP Reflector channel and an EchoLink conference to allow the NHC to access Amateur Radio Operators who do not have access to HF communications and Amateur Radio Operators located at official National Weather Service (NWS) offices, and Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) providing additional means to forward severe weather and damage reports to flow into WX4NHC. It is also useful in times when poor HF Propagation does not allow contact with the NHC. It is another way to reach the NHC with critical weather and damage reports in times of a communications emergency caused by hurricanes. VoIP technology can also be utilized for other weather related and disaster communications.

VoIP Hurricane Net Management is in search of additional NCOs to support the weekly VoIP Hurricane Net that meets every Sunday at 0000 UTC, which is Saturday Evening across most of North America. In addition, we are looking for NCOs to participate in VoIP Hurricane Net activations. The VoIP Hurricane Net activates to support WX4NHC’s operations and there are EchoLink and IRLP nodes in areas affected by the hurricane. The VoIP Hurricane Net can also self-activate if a tropical system unexpectedly gains hurricane strength and threatens a land area with EchoLink and IRLP nodes in the area or a region requests use and support of the EchoLink/IRLP cross-link system for their area for weather related or other disasters requiring emergency communications.

The VoIP Net Management team is looking for NCOs from any geographic area in order to maintain a net for as long as emergency communications are required before, during, and shortly after hurricanes, up to 24 hours a day and sometimes for several days. Net Control Operators from the Pacific, Asia, Australia/New Zealand and other international areas can play a critical role in assisting our net operations during the overnight hours of a North American activation during their local daytime, providing North America Net Control Operators rest during their normal overnight hours. We also encourage NCOs who can fluently speak Spanish to contact us in order to further support operations in South and Central America, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. We will consider individuals who possess any of the qualifications listed below:

• Most importantly, a sincere desire to serve as a net control operator and being flexible with the pressure and issues that arise during a hurricane net activation.
• Prior experience with an emergency or public support net.
• Prior experience with running a club or VoIP Net.
• Net Control Training through their local Amateur Emergency/Public Service group.
• Incident Command Training.
• SKYWARN Weather Spotter Training or equivalent international weather spotting training.
• Any professional experience as a communications dispatcher.

The VoIP Net Management team will be offering NCO training for our specific net in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in becoming an NCO, please contact Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of VoIP Hurricane Net Operations at rmacedo@rcn.com Thank you for you interest and thanks to all of you for your continued support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

Respectfully Submitted,

The VoIP Hurricane Net Management Team
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TD #6 Forms in the East-Central Atlantic

Hello to all….

TD #6 has formed in the East-Central Atlantic. TD #6 will intensify in the next few days and have the potential to become a tropical storm tonight or Monday and possibly a hurricane later this week. If TD #6 intensifies into a tropical storm, it would be named Florence.

The current track of TD #6 has it remaining over the open waters of the Atlantic this week and no threat to land. Its possible that TD #6 could threaten some land area next week but far to early to know where it may threaten or if it will remain in the open ocean. The VoIP Hurricane Net Management team will closely monitor the progress of TD #6.

Thanks to all for their continued support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net
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VoIP Hurricane Net Secured at 1 AM EDT Friday Morning

Hello to all….

The VoIP Hurricane Net was secured at 1 AM EDT. Tropical Storm Ernesto made landfall at 11:30 PM EDT in Long Beach, North Carolina failing to reach hurricane strength.

We received several reports from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Wilmington, North Carolina office, WX4ILM, of sustained winds of 56 MPH in Southport, North Carolina and 62 MPH at Monkey Junction, North Carolina. There were numerous pockets of trees and wires down and power outages along with significant flooding in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties of North Carolina and surrounding areas. The bridge connecting Carolina Beach to the mainland was shut down due to the strong winds. We also had support from John Williams-KF4VGX, who liaisoned reports from the Wilmington, North Carolina area when the IRLP node lost power due to Ernesto. John had 3.49″ of rain at his location in Little River, South Carolina with 7″+ of rain reported in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The efforts of someone like John-KF4VGX are more of what the net needs. If we lose links to the affected area, stations that are near the affected area, may be able to assist in liaisoning to those stations that were on the linked system before the link was lost. In addition, reports received from stations meeting SKYWARN reporting criteria, even in a hurricane, are very useful to have in as much detail as possible. Remember, the reporting criteria is on the main menu of the web site. The web site is http://www.voipwx.net/

Julio Ripoll-WD4R, Assistant National Hurricane Center Coordinator, wishes to thank everyone for their support during the Ernesto experience. Julio reminds everyone that despite Ernesto falling short of being a hurricane, we must be prepared and this is was a good dress rehearsal for what is yet to come this season. Thanks to all for their continued support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net. 1
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VoIP Hurricane Net Informal Activation Starting at 5 PM EDT

Hello to all….

The VoIP Hurricane Net will activate starting at 5 PM EDT to monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Ernesto. Ernesto is a strong tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 MPH. It is possible that Ernesto could reach minimal Category-1 hurricane strength by the time of landfall late tonight. Err’ing on the side of caution we will activate the net in an informal mode.

We anticipate this to be an activation lasting through early Friday Morning before the net will secure. All stations in Southeast North Carolina and Northern South Carolina area that have EchoLink/IRLP capability are asked to monitor our net on IRLP 9219 and EchoLink *WX-TALK*, Node #: 7203.

The reporting criteria is posted on the Main Menu of the web site. We appreciate everyone’s support of the VoIP Hurricane Net.

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net 1 1
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Ernesto Update #2

Hello to all….

Ernesto regained tropical storm strength overnight and is continuing to strengthen. Maximum sustained winds are now near 55 MPH with higher gusts. Ernesto is still expected to remain below hurricane strength, however, the VoIP Hurricane Net Management team is closely monitoring the situation.

We have been in contact with John Welton-N4SJW from Charleston, South Carolina. He is an ARES DEC there. If required we will be making contact with him for any reports from the South Carolina region if Ernesto intensifies further than expected. We may also informally monitor *WX-TALK*/IRLP 9219 as well if our resources allow it.

Situation Reports on the situation from South Carolina Emergency Management can be seen at the following link:
http://www.scemd.org

The link to that information was provided from the ARES SEC Email list by Charlie Miller-AE4UX, South Carolina ARES Section Emergency Coordinator and State RACES Officer.

The VoIP Hurricane Net Management Team will continue to closely monitor the situation. Thanks to all for their continued support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net
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Ernesto Update

Hello to all….

At 11 AM EDT, Ernesto was downgraded to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35 MPH. Ernesto is expected to emerge off the Northeast Florida coast and reintensify into a tropical storm. Ernesto is currently not expected to reintensify into a hurricane as it approaches the Carolinas as previously predicted and Hurricane Watches were discontinued for that area.

At this time, it does not appear that a VoIP Hurricane Net activation will occur for the second landfall for the Carolinas, however, there can be large errors in the intensity guidance so the VoIP Hurricane Net Management team will monitor Ernesto carefully for any unexpected increase in strength. Thanks to all for their continued support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net 1
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VoIP Hurricane Net Secured at 10 PM EDT Tuesday 8/29

Hello to all….

The VoIP Hurricane Net was secured at 10 PM EDT Tuesday August 29th, 2006. The threat of Ernesto intensifying into a hurricane near Florida has diminished. This has allowed us to secure the VoIP Hurricane Net at this time. A few Amateurs on our Net Control team may monitor during the overnight hours informally.

Since Ernesto stayed in a weakened state, no reports were received but it served to make our net more prepared for future, more serious activations. Some of the preparations and work completed during this activation included:

1.) Fransisco-NP3OD did his first turn as a primary net control and did a fine job. Congratulations to Fransisco!

2.) We worked out minor issues on the administration of the integrated conference system.

3.) We had several informal contacts with Amateurs in the affected area of South Florida. Special thanks to Lu-KA4EPS, long-time IRLP contact for getting Lou-W4EYE on from Key West, Florida via EchoLink. Lou will be another important contact for us for the Hurricane Season if more systems affect Florida.

4.) We were able to talk with John-N4SJW, an ARES DEC from South Carolina and do additional planning on potential landfall in the Carolinas of Ernesto on Thursday, where Ernesto may still be able to intensify into a hurricane.

5.) We have established IRLP 9129 as a permanent listen-only channel. This listen-only channel is being provided by the New England Reflector/Network system (http://new-eng.com) and special thanks to the New England Sysop Team for providing the access. This was established late this evening as the activation was winding down. This can be utilized for stations that are outside the affected area who just want to listen. Special thanks to VoIP Hurricane Net Technical Coordinator, Tony Langdon-VK3JED for assisting in the setup. Remember stations IN the affected area, should connect directly to IRLP 9219 or *WX-TALK* Node: 7203.

6.) EchoLink conference systems *KC4QLP-C* and *N5API* are available as listen-only conferences. *ENGLAND* can also be pulled in as listen-only. *NEW-ENG* can also be pulled in and has the added benefit of being an integrated conference with IRLP reflector 9123 on the New England Network/Reflector system. Special thanks here as well to Tony Langdon-VK3JED for the setup of these conferences to be allowed on the system.

7.) Terry Green-VE3NSV has setup a streaming audio feed to our net at http://icecast.livescanneraudio.com:8000/Hurricane.m3u that will be utilized if activation is required later Wednesday or Thursday.

We have made a lot of progress but much more work is needed and we will continue to execute those plans. Remember, we need many stations from the affected area to give surface reports based on the reporting crtieria of the main menu of this web site (http://www.voipwx.net/) for the net to be a success and a strong supporter of WX4NHC’s mission to help save lives and property. Secondarily, we need our listen-only capability for those outside of the affected area and we are closer now to providing those permanent resources.

We are continually working to make things better. Thanks to all of you for your support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net 1
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VoIP Hurricane Net Activation Plans as of 815 PM EDT Monday 8/28

Hello to all….

After coordination with WX4NHC Coordinators Julio Ripoll-WD4R and John McHugh-K4AG, the VoIP Hurricane Net will most likely activate any time between Noon-3 PM EDT Tuesday. This is subject to change depending on the strength, speed of movement and track of Tropical Storm Ernesto which is expected to get near or at hurricane strength as it approaches Southern Florida.

The VoIP Hurricane Net requests all affected area EchoLink PC users, links and nodes and all affected area IRLP nodes to connect to the *WX-TALK* Node: 7203 conference server/IRLP reflector 9219 VoIP integrated conference system. Stations that are not in the affected area via EchoLink can connect to the *KC4QLP-C* conference server, Node #: 290251. Additional EchoLink Listen-Only Conference Servers and listen only IRLP reflector channels will be announced later as needed.

The reporting criteria can be seen on the VoIPWXNet web site. You can go to http://www.voipwx.net and click on Reporting Criteria from the Main Menu. We have also added graphics on Ernesto to include Satellite Imagery. Radar graphics may be added if time allows as the system moves closer to Florida. This can be found under Atlantic Tropical Products from the Main Menu of the web site.

This announcement maybe updated with an announcement from WX4NHC coordinators if new information is received and time allows either later tonight or tomorrow morning. Our sincere thanks to all stations in the affected area and our listeners for their support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net 1
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Informal Net Activation Secured/WX4NHC Securing Sunday 6 PM EDT

Hello to all….

Ernesto has gone through a lot of land interaction over Haiti and has weakened to a tropical storm, thus, the VoIP Informal Activation is secured at this time. WX4NHC may activate Monday Morning at 9 AM assuming Ernesto is near or at Hurricane strength.

Much more to follow via the email list and web site later today. Thanks to all who monitored the VoIP Hurricane Net!

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net

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Informal VoIP Hurricane Net Activation for Ernesto Starting at 12 PM EDT

Hello to all…

The VoIP Hurricane Net will activate informally at 12 PM EDT for Tropical Storm Ernesto which will most likely become Hurricane Ernesto and have the potential to intensify rapidly today. We will attempt to see if any stations from Southern Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica are available for our net and we are reaching out to them. With the informal activation, we will be on the air monitoring for stations and keeping an eye on the situation. If we get stations giving reports, we will move up to formal activation and if we receive no stations over the course of the afternoon, we will secure the net until contact can be obtained or until Ernesto makes landfall in the US.

The track guidance has changed. The track guidance is now implying a landfall in Central Florida in the Thursday to Friday timeframe. While there is interaction with land over Cuba that will weaken Ernesto, the potential exists for Ernesto to be a major hurricane as it hits Florida. After that, some of the guidance indicates a possible threat up the US East Coast all the way to New England depending on how much land it covers when it makes landfall. Its very early to tell what will happen and the guidance could shift further east or back to the west over the next couple of days so all folks in the Southeast US on both the Gulf and East Coast Atlantic areas should closely monitor the progress of Ernesto.

Reporting crtieria information can be found on the Main Menu of our web site at http://www.voipwx.net

73,Rob-KD1CY.
Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net
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