VoIP Hurricane Net Provides Support During Hurricane Isaac
Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN
The VoIP Hurricane Net running on the *WX_TALK* EchoLink conference node 7203/IRLP 9219 was active over a two day period from Tuesday, August 28, through Wednesday, August 29, as Hurricane Isaac pounded the US Northern Gulf Coast with high winds, extremely heavy rainfall, significant storm surge and river and stream flooding. The VoIP Hurricane Net operated for more than 25 hours continuously during the US coast landfall.
Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net, was thankful for the overwhelming support received. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Crescent City Amateur Radio Group – CCARG and the N5OZG repeater system,” he said. “They provided a significant number of reports from Southeast Louisiana and the New Orleans area. The EchoLink node on their repeater system, maintained by Joe Glorioso, N5OZG and other CCARG amateurs, remained active throughout the duration of the event.”
“We’d also like to thank all net controls and other stations who also supported the VoIP Hurricane Net,” Macedo added, “Including those with listen-only nodes that allowed many more people to monitor our activities without impacting operations. Their cooperation is appreciated.”
Read by: JERRY KE4ETY
Hams throughout the area contributed to the effort. John McHugh, K4AG, the WX4NHC Coordinator, noted that “A report from Doug Arnold, KE7DCZ, of a measured wind gust of 80 MPH in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana was utilized in one of the National Hurricane Center advisory estimate updates during the overnight hours.”
Amateurs such as Gary Shuford, KM5ME, a private meteorologist and weather observer for the National Weather Service, did everything possible to remain on the air and render their services. After losing commercial electric power, Gary switched to a portable generator and continued to submit reports to the net. He reported a wind gust of 107 MPH in Gretna, Louisiana around 4 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 29, with more than eight inches of rain recorded.
Among a number of repeater systems active in the area, the W5YL system maintained its connection to the VoIP Hurricane Net, acting as a conduit for additional weather data and damage reports from the affected areas. The W5YL system covers Terrebonne, Lafourche, Assumption and St Mary parishes.
Julio Ripoll, WD4R, Assistant WX4NHC Coordinator, thanked the VoIP Hurricane Net for their efforts. “All reports are being printed and submitted to the hurricane specialists,” Ripoll said. A complete list of the reports received during Hurricane Isaac can be seen in the VoIP Hurricane Net Report Viewer.
ARRL Headquarters Activities
Read by: RANDY KJ4TFU
Long before Isaac made landfall ARRL Emergency Preparedness staff in Newington, Connecticut were monitoring the progress of the storm and staying in touch with amateurs in the Caribbean. As Isaac moved closer to landfall, contact was made with section staff in the path of the storm.
Beginning on Friday, August 24, daily updates were sent to section staff and conference calls were held with national-level served agencies and partners. “Regular contact with section staff, WX4NHC, VOIP WX net, Hurricane Watch Net, and our served agencies helps us develop situational awareness and respond accordingly,” said Mike Corey, KI1U, ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager.
As Isaac impacted Louisiana and Mississippi, a need for qualified net control stations in the Delta Division was identified. By reaching out through the website, e-mail and social media, volunteer net-control stations were quickly identified and put in touch with the net manager. “It was good to see contesters also step forward and volunteer,” reports Corey. “Their sharply honed operating skills were put to good use.”
Hurricane Watch Net concludes 47 hour operation for Isaac
Read by: MARTHA KJ4RIQ
The National Hurricane Center calls Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac the “Longest tropical storm in history.” After 47 hours of operation, the Hurricane Watch Net is closing down its operation. We received numerous reports that were reflected in forecasts and storm reports by the National Hurricane Center, with winds and flooding the predominant topic. At one point KF6UOZ reported mobile from within the eye of the storm itself as it moved through Houma, LA. We were in contact with several emergency operation centers and other safety service locations. The majority of our reports were from Ham Operators who were weathering the storm, yet who took the time to keep us informed. In the Ham Radio spirit of readiness, many of the stations we contacted were on stand-by generator power, some with temporary or storm-related antennas and most with quality weather measuring instruments. Many more stations stood by silently, waiting to relay if needed, and listening for the reports.
Read by: ED KE4JWS
The Hurricane Watch Net’s 47 hour run included a 31-hour continuous segment mostly on our home frequency of 14.325 but also on 40 meters as band conditions warranted. We are extremely grateful for those operators who provided reports and for those who showed us great courtesy by moving off frequency, or just allowed a clear slot for us to use. Thanks also to the nets who regularly used the frequencies for accommodating us.
Tropical Storm Isaac is by no means over. Extreme rains, flooding and even high winds are forecast to continue for days. However, the communication needs have now become much more local in nature. We wish those in the storm well; our thoughts and prayers are with you all.