Amateur Radio Volunteers on Alert in Mammoth New York Snowfall’s Aftermath

Amateur Radio Volunteers on Alert in Mammoth New York Snowfall’s Aftermath

TAGS: amateur radio, ARES volunteers, Auxiliary Radio Service, Civil Emergency Service, County Emergency Operations, ham radio volunteers, national weather service, New York, radio emergency service, severe weather, skywarn nets, upstate new york


Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) volunteers are themselves still digging out from several days of unprecedented snowfall in Upstate New York. The severe weather already has been blamed for at least a dozen deaths. Western New York Section Emergency Coordinator Joe Tedesco, KC2DKP, said ARES volunteers have activated a net and are on alert in case they’re needed. SKYWARN nets have been very active over the course of this week’s two snowfall events, and Amateur Radio has been credited with reporting weather conditions to the National Weather Service. Tedesco, who is also Assistant Erie County RACES Officer and a Military Auxiliary Radio Service (MARS) member, said he lives in a direct line from Lake Eric, where most lake-effect snow bands get started.

“Although we always do see heavy snows, I have never seen anything close to the amount we saw yesterday,” Tedesco said at mid-week. His area has received some 4 feet of snow. According to, Wales Center, New York, recorded the highest combined snowfall total from this week’s weather events, and has 85 inches of snow on the ground.

Tedesco told ARRL Headquarters that he is unaware of any communication issues as a result of the snow. He said that he and the RACES officer for Erie County are on alert, but had not been asked to activate any emergency communication resources. He said the county Emergency Operations Center is in a very hard-hit area, and travel bans are in place because of the extremely hazardous driving conditions.

As of mid-week, Lancaster ARES had a SKYWARN net up and running and taking a lot of check-ins. “They were very hard hit in Lancaster also,” Tedesco said, “and were one of the first towns to institute a state of emergency and driving ban.” Ham radio volunteers are keeping an ear on Erie County ARES/RACES repeaters. Tedesco said he was hearing of roof collapses in the town of Hamburg and elsewhere, and that EMS crews were finding it a challenge to respond to calls with so many roads and highways impassable. By and large, he said, town and county emergency services have been handling the situation.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office was advising residents to be aware of any signs of roof collapse. “If you hear or see cracking, evacuate and call 911 immediately,” the sheriff’s alert said.

New York Gov Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for 10 counties, including Erie County, most impacted by lake-effect snow. An army of more than 1000 transportation personnel and hundreds of snowplows and other snow-removal equipment have been deployed. Some 150 National Guardsmen into the Greater Buffalo area have been ordered up to assist with recovery efforts.

Authorities now are also concerned that rising temperatures may lead to flooding as a result of melting snow.


via Amateur Radio Volunteers on Alert in Mammoth New York Snowfall’s Aftermath.


Amateur radio volunteers belonging to ARES and RACES nets are standing by to render emergency communications support following heavy snowfalls in Upstate New York.  Buffalo, New York has been digging out of a 5-ft/1.52 meters snowfall and is expecting more snow over the next few days.  Coordinator Joe Tedesco (KC2DKP) says ARES volunteers “have activated a net and are on alert in case they are needed.”

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

Hawaii ARES Volunteers Firming Up Plans for Possible Lava Flow Activation

Hawaii ARES Volunteers Firming Up Plans for Possible Lava Flow Activation

TAGS: amateur radio, ARRL Pacific Section, Big Island, conventional telecommunication systems, emergency operations center, Ham Aid kits, Hurricane Ana, lava flow, Manager Bob Schneider, radio emergency service


Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers on the Big Island of Hawaii are putting plans in place in case they need to activate in response to the Puna lava flow, reported today (October 29) to be 100 yards from the nearest home and with another 40 to 50 homes in its path. On October 28, the lava claimed its first structure — a shed in Pahoa. The lava originated from new “vents” in the Earth as a result of the Mt Kilauea volcano, which began erupting more than 30 years ago. After grinding to a halt nearly a month ago, the lava flow recently resumed its slow and devastating crawl toward populated areas. Residents in the path of the flow have been notified of a possible need to evacuate, and an evacuation advisory for down-slope residents remains in effect.

Lava flows are nothing new to many Hawaiians; ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, has called them “a slow-motion disaster.” In September ARRL deployed Ham Aid kits to Hawaii for a possible lava flow response then. As it turned out, ARES members there needed the gear for Hurricane Ana first, since the lava flow had abated by the time the equipment got to Hawaii.


via Hawaii ARES Volunteers Firming Up Plans for Possible Lava Flow Activation.


According to ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider (AH6J), ARES volunteers are firming up plans in case they are activated by Hawaii County Civil Defense in response to a lava flow that threatens to cover parts of Pahoa on Hawaii Island.  The ARRL-deployed “Ham Aid Kits” sent to Hawaii Island in September were first used during the Hurricane Ana emergency, and will now be used to support emergency communications during the lava flow danger.  We lead exciting lives in the Central Pacific–two hurricanes, some earthquakes, and now a lava flow–all within a span of two months.

For the latest Amateur Radio News and Events, please check out the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

ARES Volunteers Stand Ready as Tropical Storm Ana Aims for Hawaii

ARES Volunteers Stand Ready as Tropical Storm Ana Aims for Hawaii

TAGS: arrl headquarters, Big Island, friday morning, Ham Aid, Ham Aid equipment, ham radio gatherings, hurricane warning, hurricane watch, maximum sustained winds, national weather service, radio emergency service, tropical storm watch


Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in Hawaii are on alert for possible activation as Tropical Storm Ana, which is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane, bears down on the Hawaiian Islands. As of 1200 UTC on October 16, Ana was 740 miles southeast of Honolulu and moving at about 10 MPH with maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH. The storm is expected to reach the islands on Saturday. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J, said he attended an informational meeting at Hawaii County Civil Defense on Wednesday and will attend another Thursday.

“All beaches, parks and schools are closed starting Friday, including Hawaii Volcano National Park,” Schneider told ARRL Headquarters. He said he expected to deploy Ham Aid equipment kits to several schools. The Ham Aid kits — sent in September from ARRL as a lava flow was threatening communities on the Big Island — include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment. Schneider also cancelled two ARRL-sanctioned ham radio gatherings scheduled for Saturday — one on the Big Island and the other on Oahu.

“We are in tropical storm watch and expect to upgrade that Friday morning to a hurricane watch,” Schneider said. “A hurricane warning may also go up soon. The storm is wandering a little. I still expect it to become a Cat 1 hurricane with very heavy waves on the northeastern quadrant. I heard the mayor instruct the Kona people to be sure and get the surfers out of the water as he expected the Kailua-Kona beaches to be hit hardest.”

The National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center anticipates that the first significant swells from Ana will arrive late on Thursday, and large, potentially damaging surf will follow the next day. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency was advising residents of Punalu‘u, Kalapana, Pohoiki, and Kapoho to take precautions and move to higher ground.

The NWS has issued a flash flood watch for Hawaii Island from noon Friday through 6 PM Sunday, with forecasts of 10 to 15 inches of rain, and locally up to 20 inches along southeast-facing slopes. The heavy rain raises the possibility of landslides in areas of steep terrain


via ARES Volunteers Stand Ready as Tropical Storm Ana Aims for Hawaii.


As of 1100 hrs Hawaii Standard Time (2100 UTC), 16 October 2014, Tropical Storm Ana is approximately 500 miles southeast of Hawaii Island, tracking slowly to the northwest at 10 mph.  The storm, packing 60 mph + winds and heavy showers is expected to pass just below South Point, Hawaii Island, sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning.  ARES members on Hawaii Island are standing by to provide communications support to Hawaii Civil Defense, the American Red Cross, and area hospitals.  High surf is expected to cause flooding in low-lying areas of Hawaii Island.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

ARRL Deploying Ham Aid Kits to Hawaii to Assist in Possible Lava Flow Response. Post #4525.



ARRL Headquarters is deploying Ham Aid Kits to Hawaii as ARES volunteers stand ready to activate in the wake of the massive Puna volcanic lava flow that has been threatening some communities on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The lava originated from new “vents” in the Earth as a result of the Kilauea Volcano, which  began erupting  31 years ago. ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider (AH6J), said Tuesday that while he doesn’t believe an ARES activation is imminent, lava flows can be unpredictable, and things can change rapidly.

Article excerpts:

Schneider says “Lava is a slow-moving disaster…it’s not like a volcano, where the thing just blows up.  It’s like a pot of soup.”

ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey (KI1U) added that the Ham Aid kits destined for Hawaii include HF gear as well as VHF and UHF equipment.  Corey said “We’re deploying an HF kit–an IC-718 transceiver, a tuner, and a dipole–and a VHF/UHF kit.”  The latter includes a mobile transceiver and power supply as well as several handheld transceivers that have been programmed with local frequencies that may be needed before they’re shipped.  Corey stated that the Ham Aid kits are a resource available to ARRL section leadership to add capacity during a disaster or emergency response.

Schneider said that while there is no immediate need for the kits, “if they have it out there, and this thing changes, we’ll be prepared.  It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

Hawaii County Civil Defense said Kilauea continued to erupt at its summit as of Monday, although the more than 10-mile lava flow–or “tube”–under the greatest scrutiny halted its progress toward the sea on Tuesday–at least for the time being.  Authorities are also monitoring so-called “breakout” flows.  No homes have been affected so far, although the molten rock is causing vegetation to burn in its path.  the front of the Puna lava flow is estimated to be some 150 yards across at its widest point.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has issued a disaster declaration for the areas that are or may be affected by the lava flow.  Schneider and ARES members and officials have been keeping an eye on the situation.

Schneider said the best estimate for the lava to hit Highway 130 would be within 10 days.  Schneider added that Highway 130 is the primary commuter route for residents in several residential subdivisions that might be affected, including one that is home to some 20,000 people–what he called, “a pretty good chunk of population” overall.  The governor’s proclamation has permitted authorities  to open two alternative routes, in case Highway 130 has to be closed.

Schneider mentioned that “The town of Pahoa is in kind of a slow panic…if the lava comes down and goes right to the ocean, probably the only thing that won’t be affected will be cell phones.  Electric power and conventional telephone service will be out.”  In that scenario, should ARES be activated, Schneider said the volunteers’ likely role would be to relay healthe-and-welfare traffic from affected communities.


I have a deep interest in this development, since my new home is located in a subdivision approximately 5 miles from the slowly expanded flow front.  I have a scanner tuned to the NOAA frequency, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the Hawaii Police Department, so I can keep abreast of any changes in the lava flow.  These are indeed exciting times.

For the latest Amateur Radio News and Events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

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Until next time,

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).



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