VoIP Hurricane Net 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. In addition, additional VoIP technologies such as All-Star, DMR, DSTAR, Fusion, Hamshack Hotline and more can be brought into the net on an as needed basis. In the future, these modes could also be integrated into our system.

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 is a means to get reports in areas affected by the hurricane whether it be via direct Echolink/IRLP or other VoIP modes or other means where available. 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 or other means of getting reports from the affected 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

Depending on net activity level, our Net Controls will also support gathering reports from the affected area of hurricanes using the following modes:

• Social Media Monitoring
• Online Weather stations via APRS, Mesowest, Personal Weather Stations on Weather Underground, Davis Weatherlink, Tempest Weather Stations etc.
• Public Safety Monitoring and monitoring any local Amateur Radio Nets that may be streaming online and available to be monitored for report gathering

Net Controls will also encourage stations on air to assist with monitoring these modes and reach out to any known contacts in the affected area of hurricanes for information meeting our net reportable criteria.

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