This article is copyright 2001 by the American Radio Relay League, but may be reproduced byindividuals and groups for prom...
By Rick Lindquist, N1RL and Diane Ortiz, K2DO9/11/01: “This is Not a Test.”Amateur Radio operators mobilized within minute...
ARRL                                               tor Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, works for          Brooklyn, told ARRL that...
DIANE ORTIZ, K2DO                                                         DIANE ORTIZ, K2DODavid King, AA2KV (right) gets ...
ARRLThe Red Cross Role                                                                        mount antennas, coax, power ...
been hard to keep people away,” he said.      collapse. Club member Stan Daniels,          some needed to return to their ...
TOM GREGORY, N4NW                                               Washington, DC-Area Hams                          At the p...
heavy equipment. Hams who volunteered                                                                                     ...
9/11/01                                       requested a SATERN operation at                                             ...
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9/11/01: This Is Not A Test


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This article is copyright 2001 by the American Radio Relay League, but may be reproduced by individuals and groups for promotional and educational purposes. Any other use without the permission of the ARRL is prohibited. The text "Reprinted from the November 2001 QST, copyright 2001 ARRL" must be included on any reproductions.

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9/11/01: This Is Not A Test

  1. 1. This article is copyright 2001 by the American Radio Relay League, but may be reproduced byindividuals and groups for promotional and educational purposes. Any other use without thepermission of the ARRL is prohibited. The text "Reprinted from the November 2001 QST,copyright 2001 ARRL" must be included on any reproductions.
  2. 2. By Rick Lindquist, N1RL and Diane Ortiz, K2DO9/11/01: “This is Not a Test.”Amateur Radio operators mobilized within minutes of thefirst attack on the World Trade Center, then respondedmagnificently in the Washington, DC, area and Pennsylvania. September 11, 2001, and in luxury of the sort of advanced warning systems—wired and wireless—were se-On the days and weeks since, Amateur Radio operatorshave demonstrated their readiness, per- that might occur in a weather-related di- saster. Amateur Radio was up against its greatest challenge ever. verely compromised. New York City broadcasters using the World Trade Cen- ter antenna went dark.haps as never before. While Amateur “We found ourselves faced with a di- As soon as the nature of the threatsRadio Emergency Service and Radio saster that no one in their wildest dreams was recognized, federal, state and localAmateur Civil Emergency Service train- could have ever imagined,” Carrubba officials declared states of might not have readied them to fully said. “And this one was right in our own Along with other federal agencies, thecomprehend the terrible events of that backyard.” FCC shut down. No one knew what today, Amateur Radio operators were expect. RACES teams found themselvesamong the first to volunteer their sta- “This is Not a Test!” suddenly and unexpectedly activated, nottions, their skills and themselves. Providing emergency communication just in the immediately affected areas of “The SET is cancelled; this is the real tops the list of reasons that validate New York City and Washington, DC, butthing!” said ARRL New York City-Long Amateur Radio in the eyes of the FCC. across the US. ARES groups went on alertIsland Section Emergency Coordinator Given the ubiquity of the cellular tele- everywhere.Tom Carrubba KA2D, who only weeks phone these days, some have predicted Montgomery County, Maryland,earlier had been outlining plans for his this particular mission would evaporate. Deputy RACES Officer John Creel,section’s Simulated Emergency Test in When the terrorists struck in New York WB3GXW, said nothing in his experienceOctober. The events of September 11 City and Washington September 11, how- had prepared him for “the feeling thatchanged all of that, and without the ever, commercial telecommunications went through my mind when I picked up ARRL ARRL At the American Red Cross radio room in Brooklyn, Daytime Shift Manager Mark Dieterich, N2PGD (standing), checks theAmerican Red Cross Disaster Telecommunications Staff volunteer shift schedule. Simone Lambert, KA1YVF, handlesPartner Jay Ferron, N4GAA (right), points to Ground Zero as schedule management from the World Trade Center DisasterARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP (center), and ARRL Relief Communications registration Web site. Both volunteeredHudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, look on. from Rhode Island.28 November 2001
  3. 3. ARRL tor Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, works for Brooklyn, told ARRL that the New York ABC News and was in Manhattan during City ARES net came alive within five the World Trade Center attacks. He called minutes of the first plane attack. “It’s the the scene there “surreal,” with police first thing I thought about,” he said. “We checkpoints set up along highways and may be needed.” military jets criss-crossing the skies above the city. Answering the Call Former ARRL Headquarters staff As lower Manhattan quickly took on member Warren Stankiewicz, NF1J, was the look of a war zone, New York City in Manhattan from the West Coast on ARRL District Emergency Coordinator business when the attacks occurred. “The and RACES Radio Officer Charles damage is unbelievable,” he reported the Hargrove, N2NOV—who served as the evening of the attacks. “Grand Central ARES/RACES incident commander— was a panic, and the trains were packed put out a call to the ARES and RACES beyond belief. I talked to one woman who leadership. Hargrove and his staff found had walked four miles with borrowed themselves thrust into the midst of the shoes to get to the train.” activation. But, as Mendelsohn was to later ob- New York City-Long Island SectionJohn Allocca, WB2LUA, was among the serve, “A city thought of by many as cyni- Manager George Tranos, N2GA, huddledoperators at the Red Cross Brooklyn cal pulls together as few others have inheadquarters. with Carrubba at the SEC’s Long Island times of crisis.” home as the activation got under way. With a state of emergency in effect, ARES and RACES concentrated their Amateur Radio’s resources soon mobi- efforts to provide support for the Newthe microphone and said the words, ‘This lized. Ivan Rodriguez, KC2CHE, of York City OEM and for American Redis not a test!’” Americans were just learning of theevents unfolding at the World Trade Cen-ter when the Pentagon attack occurred The Youngest Volunteerand a fourth aircraft crashed in rural west-ern Pennsylvania. In the immediate af- Ten-year-old Beverly Holtz of Hunting- ton, Long Island, New York, was distraughttermath of the crisis, telephone lines were after hearing of the tragedy at the Worldjammed, and cell systems overwhelmed. Trade Center.Chaos reigned. “I slowly explained what the news foot- Amateur Radio played a role in help- age meant,” said her father Fred Holtz,ing to restore order. “Never have I felt K2PSY. “The first thing she said was thatmore strongly about what a great privi- she wanted to help.”lege it is to be part of the extraordinary Neither of them realized just how soonglobal community of Amateur Radio,” she would get the chance. About six years ago Fred Holtz haddeclared ARRL President Jim Haynie, revived his interest in Amateur Radio.W5JBP, as amateurs sprang into action Soon his young daughter showed an inter-to do their part. est in the hobby. Together they studied the electronics, and Beverly was especiallyNew York City-Area Amateurs interested in the questions on emergencyRespond to “The Real Thing” procedures. Terrorists had crashed two airliners “I told her that they were very important and you never knew when you would need Beverly Holtz, KC2IKTinto the World Trade Center. The famed them,” Holtz said.Twin Towers then collapsed, setting off Father and daughter joined the local FRED HOLTZ, K2PSYa chain of events that involved all of New radio club and started going to meetings. Eventually she took the FCC exam forYork City’s rescue services. With air the Technician license and passed! She couldn’t wait for her license to arrive andtravel suddenly suspended, countless was ready to get on the air.passengers found themselves stranded Beverly’s new ticket finally arrived Friday, September 14, and she was officiallywith nowhere to go. KC2IKT. The next day she and her dad were running errands in the car, listening The first to respond were New York to an emergency net on a local repeater, when they heard a call go out for volun-City firefighters, police and other rescue teers to staff a shelter as part of the response to the World Trade Center attack. “We can do that!” Beverly told her dad. Fred Holtz called net control and ex-workers. Many of them were lost as the plained that his daughter was only 10 and wanted to help.buildings fell. Most are still unaccounted “No problem,” they were told. That afternoon they reported to the Red Crossfor. As this is written, the total number of shelter in Valley Stream, New York. Some 40 European students were staying atpeople missing stands at more than 6400. the shelter after being stranded when flights were cancelled at the nearby airports As it turned out, New York City’s Of- in New York City.fice of Emergency Management had been Using her dad’s hand-held transceiver, Beverly answered questions from netlocated on the 21st and 22nd floors of the control, relayed health-and-welfare traffic and was the only radio operator for the entire eight-hour shift.World Trade Center. Many local officials “I was very impressed that [net control] treated her as an equal and that shehad been evacuated to the mayor’s “bun- was able to do it,” her dad said. “She really had a trial by fire!”ker” nearby. It also became unusable in Beverly said that the eight hours seemed like one hour. “I can’t wait to dothe hours after the attack. more,” she said. “It made me feel good to help.” —Diane Ortiz, K2DO ARRL Hudson Division Vice Direc- November 2001 29
  4. 4. DIANE ORTIZ, K2DO DIANE ORTIZ, K2DODavid King, AA2KV (right) gets an assignment from DavePizzino, WB2EAR, who’s handling radio duties at the Red ARRL Manhattan Emergency Coordinator John Kiernan,Cross Headquarters in Brooklyn. KC2UN, works the phones during the New York City activation. Cross relief and recovery efforts. The lo- MICHAEL FENICHEL, KB2OLW New York City gistics were unbelievable. Broadcasters Regroup Hundreds of Amateur Radio operators The collapse of the World Trade from the Greater New York City area an- Center brought down the master TV swered the call for assistance. Some of transmitting antenna that served most the first deployed were from Long Island. New York City broadcasters as well In the hours after the attack telephones, as amateur and other repeaters. “The cell phones, pagers and other wireless broadcast community is in absolute devices were rendered unusable. For as shock,” said Hudson Division Vice much as a 50-mile radius there was diffi- Director Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML, who works for ABC News. “We all culty getting a dial tone, and Internet ser- knew transmitter engineers, we all vice was spotty. knew people who worked up in those Hams communicated via the area’s towers near those big television main repeaters, most of which were un- transmitters, and they’re gone.” affected by the disaster. Nets were estab- TV and radio stations that had lished, and the trained cadre of volunteers, sites on the World Trade Center experienced and ready, were organized rushed to make other accommoda- and dispatched under Hargrove’s and tions, Mendelsohn said. WCBS, chan- Carrubba’s joint leadership. nel 2, which maintained a backup transmitter site on the Empire State The common ARES/RACES emer- Building, offered assistance and gency net established on Manhattan’s space to help the other stations get WB2ZSE 147.000 MHz repeater back on the air from its site, he said. promptly became the primary conduit for “None of the other transmitters emergency traffic. “It made things seam- exist anymore. They’re in the rubble less, and everyone knew what was going along with the master antenna sys- on,” Carrubba explained. “You don’t have tem, hundreds and hundreds of two- to monitor several radios.” way radio system antennas, and Amateurs also shadowed some New boxes and, of course, untold thou- York City officials, handled medical traf- sands of people who perished.” One antenna site now being used fic, stood by at hospitals and prepared to by some New York City broadcasters assist the American Red Cross Headquar- is the Alpine, New Jersey, tower ters. Other ARES units stood by at local erected decades ago by Major Edwin emergency operations centers. The Armstrong, the inventor of FM. The American Red Cross Emergency Com- 425-foot tower is located on the Pali- munications Service in Queens—one of sades overlooking the Hudson River. the many area clubs and organizations Several stations were operational that contributed the use of repeaters and with low power from the Alpine site. spread word that volunteers were Other stations switched to back-up WPIX transmitter engineer Steve needed—activated an emergency net on sites elsewhere in the city, but a Jacobson, N2SJ, shown here atop permanent central site to replace the its WB2QBP repeater. A New York State the World Trade Center, was among World Trade Center remains under those lost when the building was RACES net was operational on 7.248 and study. attacked and collapsed. 3.993 MHz handling emergency and government-related traffic.30 November 2001
  5. 5. ARRLThe Red Cross Role mount antennas, coax, power cables, The Red Cross opened a command boots, dust masks and even respirators,center in its Brooklyn headquarters, latex gloves, bottled water and snackswhich became a staging area for the Red were among the requirements for thoseCross Emergency Response Vehicles—or stationed near “Ground Zero,” as it cameERVs—as well as for volunteer person- to be called, where conditions were fre-nel and supplies. A dozen Red Cross shel- quently described as hellish and protec-ters soon were up and running around the tive equipment and clothing were aclock, with Amateur Radio providing op- necessity. Shift after shift of volunteerserators, equipment and expertise. In the trekked to and from assignments bur-early hours and days of the response, dened with bulging backpacks.finding victims trapped in the rubble was “This requires a big commitment,”foremost on everyone’s mind. Tranos advised. The shifts were 12-plus Hams were assigned to Red Cross hours, and often it required considerableheadquarters, the various shelters and time to get credentials and transport inother subsidiary Red Cross sites around New York City-Long Island SEC Tom and out of restricted areas, especially atthe area, including the five New York Carrubba, KA2D (left), and New York City Ground Zero. ARRL District Emergency Coordinator Amateur Radio operators volunteeredCity boroughs—Manhattan, Queens, and RACES Radio Officer CharlesBrooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx— Hargrove, N2NOV, compare notes on the from as far away as Canada, Maine, Texasplus New York’s Westchester, Nassau and ARES/RACES effort. and California. Several visiting hams fromSuffolk counties and across the Hudson outside the area rolled up their sleeves,River in New Jersey. ARES-staffed nets including Robert Gissing, VE3ZLV, whoprovided the needed communications Carrubba and Hargrove, included Man- assisted the Red Cross in, coordinating shelter health-and- hattan ARES Emergency Coordinator Suresh, VU2LOT, an Indian ham who waswelfare traffic and logistics. John Kiernan, KE2UN, and the Red already in Northern New Jersey offered his Carrubba said the high call volume Cross’s Jay Ferron, N4GAA. services. Professional firefighter Waynecontinued to tax the telephone system in Other ham radio volunteers were dis- Souza, KA1LH, from Fall River, Massa-lower Manhattan. Telephone service was patched to staff, establish and maintain chusetts, had hoped to volunteer with hisavailable, but it often took 15 or 20 tries communications among the World Trade New York City brethren but was told histo get a call through, so ham radio was Center disaster site, Red Cross on unit was not needed. Souza decided insteadbridging the gap. “American Red Cross Amsterdam Avenue in New York, Red to get involved in the ham radio effort. “Itcommunications are overloaded, and traf- Cross Queens Chapter, the multiple Red was one way that I could still help,” hefic from the shelters is coming into the Cross shelters in Manhattan and Shea said. ARES initially turned away mostNew York City net at a rapid pace,” he Stadium—home of the New York Mets— long-distance offers of help because theresaid on Day Two of the response. “The where a staging and relief area for the were no provisions to house the volunteers,Amateur Radio ops are doing a great job thousands of emergency workers had entry into New York City was difficult, andunder very difficult and strange condi- been set up. parking next-to-impossible.tions, but this is what they have trained At least in the early going, ham vol- Even so, many wouldn’t take no forfor; they are getting it done well.” unteers being transported from the an answer and said “I’m coming,” despite SM Tranos made announcements and Brooklyn Red Cross facility had to be the requirements and risks involved. SEChelped coordinate the efforts of the ARES self-sufficient. Dual-band (VHF/UHF) Hargrove said the outpouring of peoplestaff. Key players in addition to Tranos, mobile radios, power supplies, mag- who wanted to help was tremendous. “It’s ARRL DIANE ORTIZ, K2DO NYC-LI SEC Tom Carrubba, KA2D (left), and NYC-LI SMVolunteer Robert Gissing, VE3ZLV (left), briefs ARRL Presi- George Tranos, N2GA, check the volunteer grid fordent Jim Haynie, W5JBP, at Brooklyn Red Cross headquarters. openings. November 2001 31
  6. 6. been hard to keep people away,” he said. collapse. Club member Stan Daniels, some needed to return to their normal“That’s the kind of disaster it was.” The KB2FY, and John Hunter, KE2ZZ—who lives and jobs. Shifts scheduled to run 12Red Cross’s Ferron agreed. “The Ama- drove from South Jersey to help—were hours typically were much longer. “Theteur Radio community has come out very the backbone of an effort that set up a 2- first 30 or 40 hours everybody does ‘thebig and very strong,” he observed. meter station that allowed communica- iron man act,’ I call it, because they’re Tranos put it more succinctly. “I’m tion with local emergency officials and a running on adrenaline,” Carrubba said.very proud of my section,” he said. Red Cross net. Hams also added 2-meter After that, he said, everyone realized they capability to Red Cross emergency ve- need some rest and unwound a little bit.Across the River hicles to help them keep in touch as they “The people that are going back are New Jersey amateurs also mustered delivering cots, meals and supplies to fresh.”their resources as the emergency un- shelters in Hudson County. One early volunteer, ARRL memberfolded. Hospitals had been designated About a dozen members of the David John Stuart, K1OE, of Rowayton,and shelters set up across the Hudson Sarnoff Radio Club voluntarily activated Connecticut, found himself inspired byRiver to handle any overflow from New N2ARC on the 146.46 MHz repeater the experience. After signing up and re-York City. September 11 to help the American Red porting, Stuart found himself part of a ARRL Northern New Jersey SEC Cross Central New Jersey Chapter in group of hams from eastern Long Island.Steve Ostrove, K2SO, said that dozens Princeton Junction. “We each became the ‘communicationsof amateurs from his section helped with person’ for shelters throughout loweremergency communications following Doing The Iron Man Act Manhattan, reporting needs of the shel-the attacks. Amateur Radio operators A regular cadre of volunteers—two ter to Red Cross headquarters through awere stationed at four Red Cross shelters dozen or more per shift—settled into a net and also reporting, on hourly inter-in New Jersey, helping to back up the routine. Hundreds of prospective volun- vals, the personnel status of the shelter,”spotty telephone communication. Among teers signed up via the World Trade Cen- he said. All told, Stuart spent aboutother things, the shelters provided a ha- ter Disaster Relief Communications 20 hours in New York. “It was a greatven for those unable to return home be- registration Web site, developed at the experience,” he said. “I met a lot of won-cause of restricted traffic into Manhattan. suggestion of Suffolk County DEC Bill derful people, the shelters are providingNorthern New Jersey operators also Scheibel, N2NFI, by Joe Tomasone, an important function, and the hamssupplemented and relieved the New York AB2M. “It allows us to make the best use are the communications backbone of theCity ARES team. of the volunteers,” Carrubba said. The operation.” A Red Cross emergency net ran on the system worked superbly. ARRL President Haynie took an op-NO2EL 145.37 MHz repeater, and an Ham volunteers provided their own portunity September 21 to visit withARES net was activated on the WS2Q protective gear and arranged transporta- some of the New York-area hams at therepeater, with liaison to New York City’s tion to and from dispatch locations, of- heart of the communication effort. “OnARES/RACES net on 147.000 MHz. The ten carpooling and sharing resources. behalf of the 680,000 ham operators innets were able to coordinate volunteer Yaesu, ICOM, MFJ and other suppliers the US, thank you for doing such a fineefforts and blood donations. Several Red came forward with loans of transceivers job,” he said.Cross chapters in New Jersey were linked and accessories. ARRL Hudson Division Director Frankby Amateur Radio. Amateur Radio volunteers were ro- Fallon, N2FF, accompanied Haynie on his According to Rich Krajewski, tated in and out of areas and duties in an visit. “From the very first day I have beenWB2CRD, the Jersey City Amateur Ra- effort to equalize the stress. The mood proud of the way ARRL members in thedio Club was called on to assist the Red remained largely positive as the response Hudson Division responded in over-Cross after their repeater atop the World extended past Day 10, Carrubba reported. whelming numbers,” Fallon said. “SoTrade Center was lost in the building’s Still, volunteers were getting tired, and many responded that many, unfortun- TOM GREGORY, N4NW PAT WILSON, W4PWShift change at Salvation Army Arlington Headquarters, whereJerry Shadle, WA3UTL (left), and Spike Boyd, K9MX, were ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and ARRL Virginia SECamong the operators for the ARES Pentagon recovery support. Tom Gregory, N4NW.32 November 2001
  7. 7. TOM GREGORY, N4NW Washington, DC-Area Hams At the peak of the activation, Gregory Rally to Support Pentagon reported an “upbeat” crew of about two Response dozen Washington, DC, area amateurs In the Washington, DC, area, Amateur staffing six Amateur Radio stations in the Radio rallied in response to the attack on immediate vicinity of the Pentagon. the Pentagon. Montgomery County, Yaesu arranged to loan equipment to the Maryland, RACES was activated right operation. away and remained on alert for about a The ARES activation—with Virginia day, as local governments provided what ARES District 4 Emergency Coordinator support they could to the Pentagon disas- Tom Harmon, AK1E, as incident com- ter site. In the immediate aftermath, mander—provided logistical support be- Montgomery County RACES Deputy tween the Salvation Army’s relief and Radio Officer Creel characterized the recovery effort on site and the agency’s mood of the Amateur Radio community Arlington headquarters. The Salvation as “somber but professional.” Army was providing food and refresh- Amateurs provided reliable communi- ments to the crews engaged in the Penta- cation among five civilian hospitals in gon investigation and recovery. Montgomery County in anticipation of Initially, a portable repeater was set casualties. Later, the RACES team aided up in a parking lot. The unit let hams run the American Red Cross to overcome H-Ts at their lowest power settings to telephone system overload. Creel re- conserve batteries. A net was established ported that the telephone and cellular on the Alexandria 145.17 MHz repeater telephone system in the DC area was ren- for the canteen units, and an operator dered useless within a short time. “It just was detailed to the Salvation Army head- didn’t hack it,” he said. quarters in Alexandria. A Federal Emergency Management Operating conditions were less than Agency team was among those that ideal. “What we’re finding is that com- checked into the RACES net the day af- munication is very difficult because of the ter the attack to seek possible communi- tremendous amount of noise from the cation support. construction-type equipment and the gen-Lewis Cheek, K4HR, assisted in con-figuring the repeater and duplexer on “If you’re not a member of an ARES erators providing power for the lights andthe temporary repeater on loan from the or RACES group, now’s the time to seri- support staff,” Gregory said as the re-Stafford Amateur Radio Association to ously consider joining,” Creel said, add- sponse was ramping up. Because of theVirginia ARES to support the Salvation noise level, on-site managers opted toArmy Disaster Relief operation. Tom ing his voice to the growing chorus ofHarmon, AK1E, who served as incident those recommending that Amateur Radio rotate operators in and out of the imme-commander, provided the small trailer operators be ready to respond and react. diate vicinity of the attack as frequentlyhousing the machine. The south face of He said it was difficult for him to turn as possible.the Pentagon is in the background. This “There’s the emotion of it, and there’sphoto was captured prior to US away offers of help from non-membersDepartment of Defense restriction on who would not have been allowed access the tremendous amount of noise, and it’sphotography in the vicinity of the given the “lock-down” situation that fol- very grating on you because you canrecovery operation. lowed the attack on the Pentagon. hardly hear the radio to communicate,” Gregory explained. In addition, the cel- ARES Marshals Support for lular telephone network was swamped, Salvation Army Effort and, because the Pentagon remainedately, were turned away.” Ultimately some In response to a request from the Sal- open, there was a lot of other RF in the500 amateurs would answer the call for vation Army, Virginia Section Emergency vicinity to complicate matters.volunteers. Coordinator Tom Gregory, N4NW, put But Gregory said what shocked him “It really has been our finest hour! It out a call for hams in the Washington, the most was the devastation visible 100has made us all very proud to be Ama- DC, area to support the Salvation Army’s meters from the building. “The destruc-teur Radio operators,” Fallon said. volunteer effort. Amateurs were needed tion is total,” he said. John MacInnes, a Red Cross commu- to provide communication to coordinate Gregory described the entire area asnications officer based in Tucson, Ari- trucks and supplies. Maryland-DC SEC “very crowded with people” inside andzona, approached Haynie with high Mike Carr, WA1QAA, assisted in recruit- outside the Pentagon. “People and equip-praise for the Amateur Radio community ing volunteers, and Chuck Rexroad, ment cleaning up, finding bodies, find-and for ARRL. “We wouldn’t be where N4HCP, assisted Gregory in the early ing plane parts, firefighters still checkingwe are today without the ham radio op- stages to coordinate the volunteer re- for hot spots, hoses, equipment,” he said.erators,” he said. He told Haynie that he sponse. “The damage to the building looks worseshould be very proud of his organization Gregory said many of the more than when you are right next to it than it doesand asked him to relay his message of 100 volunteers who reported for duty on TV.”thanks throughout the amateur commu- between September 11 and September The site remained under an umbrellanity. 18—when the ARES group stood down— of tight security, and soldiers armed with The New York City ARES/RACES gave up time with their families and their M-16s and police controlled entry to theoperation in support of the American jobs. In a few cases, he said, he even fenced-in compound. A temporary roadRed Cross stood down the week of wrote letters to employers requesting that was constructed from Washington Bou-September 23. volunteers be allowed time off to work levard extending several hundred feet to the incident. the hole in the building in order to move November 2001 33
  8. 8. heavy equipment. Hams who volunteered ARRLhad to run a strict security gauntlet. “Can- Georgia Amateurs Travel “Updidly, if you have outstanding parking North” to Helptickets or some other issue where you A group of Georgia amateursmay be wanted, you will not get an ac- accompanied Southern Baptist Con-cess ID but may get taken into custody!” vention Disaster Relief crews to theGregory warned potential volunteers. New York City area in the wake of Harmon put it another way: “Security the September 11 terrorist attacksis so tight that the wind does not blow on the World Trade Center. Theacross the parking lot without approval.” hams provided communication sup- port to the Convention’s mobile Gregory said that newcomers viewing kitchens and shower units, deployedthe ghastly damage for the first time of- at the request of the Federal Emer-ten were speechless. “I found that it took gency Management a few minutes to realize the gravity The communications van of theof what was going on and the importance Chattahoochee Baptist Associationof what we hams are doing in our own Amateur Radio team was stationedsmall way to help out,” Gregory said. at a staging area at the Raritan Valley Baptist Church in Edison,“The devastation of that building is awe- New Jersey. Operating as W4CBA, Ed Cravey, KF4HPY, at the controls ofsome, and it puts things in perspective the volunteers in Edison utilized the the Chattahoochie Baptistand it certainly made me proud to be an nearby New Jersey Institute of Tech- Association’s W4CBA mobile unit inAmateur Radio operator and serve the nology Amateur Radio Club’s K2MFF Edison, New Jersey. Cravey is an ARRLpeople of the United States by offering 147.225 MHz repeater in Newark to member from Gainesville, Georgia.this support.” communicate with deployed kitchens ARRL President Haynie briefly visited and showers in the old Brooklynthe ARES Pentagon team September 17. Navy Yard and near Ground Zero in the day after the attacks. By Septem- Manhattan. Amateurs were accom- ber 14, two kitchens had been de-Gregory said he appreciated Haynie’s ployed, with a third unit in reserve at panying volunteers from eight statesencouragement at a difficult time. Ac- into the field as they served meals to Edison. In their first 36 hours on thecompanying Haynie were ARRL First relief workers and displaced resi- scene, 89 volunteers had servedVice President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, dents. more than 7500 meals at the Man-FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio According to Jackie Whitlock, hattan and Brooklyn sites.—BrennanEnforcement Riley Hollingsworth, and N4JJW, the call from FEMA came Price, N4QXARRL Virginia Section Manager CarlClements, W4CAC. Haynie spoke briefly on the net and Another amateur team consisting of “Things have calmed down since thethanked the amateurs on hand for volun- Vienna Wireless Society and Arlington FBI has taken over the site and has securedteering. Hollingsworth—initially called County Amateur Radio Club members and it as a crime scene,” Custer reported a fewin to check into the possibility of inter- other amateurs provided communication days into the response. “This place hasference to the Pentagon site repeater— and technical support to the American literally turned into a small city.”volunteered to operate, if needed, and Red Cross relief effort at the Pentagonoffered to loan the ARES team the ham site. Arlington County ARES Emergency Amateurs Contribute togear he had in his vehicle, Gregory said. Coordinator Alan Bosch, KO4ALA, said SHARES, SATERN Gregory said amateurs who volun- his team was able to stand down Septem- The World Trade Center attackteered did not let their emotions get in ber 22. prompted an immediate response fromthe way of doing a good job. “It’s help- the SHARES network of federal agenciesing them to help out,” he said. “It’s part Hams Support Western assisted by the Amateur Radio operatorsof the healing process.” Pennsylvania Crash Site who participate in MARS—the Military As the Salvation Army regained the At the so-called “fourth” plane crash Affiliate Radio System. A little-knownability to manage its own support opera- site in rural Somerset County western emergency service, SHARES—the HFtions via telephone, the need for Amateur Pennsylvania, Kevin Custer, W3KKC, “Shared Resources” program of the Na-Radio ended September 18, and the sup- reported a busy scene as the investiga- tional Communications System, US De-porting ARES operation terminated. tion continued. Custer, who lives nearby, partment of Commerce—allies MARS- “Amateur Radio performed exactly as had arranged preliminary repeater com- certified amateurs with federal agencyit was supposed to,” Gregory said after- munication into and out of the crash site operators when normal communicationwards. “We responded to the need to pro- to help the Red Cross, Salvation Army, breaks down. SHARES nets operate onvide communications where none were Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and government frequencies outside the ama-available.” He said the Virginia ARES other state and federal agencies on the teur bands.organization stands ready to jump in scene. MARS and SHARES rely heavily onagain “at a moment’s notice” if the need “I have communications in place for the availability of hundreds of trainedarises. “If someone calls on us, we’re hand-held coverage of the crash site to volunteer operators throughout the 50ready to respond,” he said. our local emergency operations center states provides as one of the keys to Harmon said he continued to be im- and three surrounding counties,” he said. needed connectivity. Amateur partici-pressed throughout his time at the Penta- Eric Hegerle, N3VOC, of the Salvation pants—selected by Navy-Marine Corps,gon site by all those who volunteered. Army Team Emergency Radio Network Air Force and Army MARS managers—“Position and job are relatively unimpor- reported that SATERN used three linked provide skilled net control stations astant,” he said, since all folks there are re- repeaters for communication betweenquired to make that small town function.” Pittsburgh and the crash site. [Continued on page 59]34 November 2001
  9. 9. 9/11/01 requested a SATERN operation at SATERN territorial headquarters. Bill “There was a very good working rela- tionship between all parties involved,”[Continued from page 34] Davidson, W9SWW, Greg Buttimer, Fred Lanshe, N3QLU, a REACT Inter-well as broad geographical coverage. N9SA, and Harry Gilling, W9IB, set up national vice president, said in a report Within 15 minutes of the first incident a G5RV dipole above the building’s posted on the REACT Web site,in New York City, the first of many alert eighth story and snaked the feedline 350 “Good communica-messages was transmitted by a MARS feet down to the disaster services area. tion has been established.”member to the Pentagon. Within an hour, The SATERN net operated from the Federal City REACT volunteers ina coast-to-coast backup net formed. onset of the disaster for two days, then Washington, DC, equipped with GMRS,Among the participants were Federal reduced its activity to the regular 1400 also staffed barricades in the CapitolEmergency Management Agency out- UTC net time. SATERN asked Amateur Complex, freeing up uniformed police forposts, Federal Aviation offices, the Radio volunteers to continue to monitor more pressing duties. MontgomeryAmerican Red Cross, and state emer- the net frequency to pass any needed in- County, Maryland, REACT membersgency operations centers, as well as formation. were said to have assisted the AmericanMARS members enrolled in SHARES. “It seemed on Tuesday that the entire Red Cross relief and recovery effort.Regional SHARES nets also activated nation’s amateur corps was there sup-across the country, bringing in many ad- porting the endeavor,” said National Staying the Courseditional hams. SATERN Director Major Pat McPherson, In New York, SEC Carrubba urged Interestingly, one of the first govern- WW9E. “It speaks to the spirit and ‘can those who volunteered but were notment agencies to require emergency com- do’ reflex of all those dedicating their ARES members to get involved in theirmunications was SHARES itself. Located time and resources to help. It also speaks local ARES programs. That way, he ex-in an office near the Pentagon, the to the patriotism of amateurs in our plained, not only could they take advan-SHARES staff was immediately evacu- nation.” tage of the various training opportunities,ated. Operations chief Ken Carpenter, they wouldn’t have to wait in line to vol-KD6DBX, a retired Marine Corps com- REACT’s Role unteer, because they’ll be assigned frommunicator, quickly returned to the air At press time, Radio Emergency the outset.with portable equipment from a safe Associated Communication Teams— The Red Cross’s Ferron said hams “doNorthern Virginia location. REACT International—was seeking whatever it takes to do the job—and The SHARES emergency activation additional Amateur Radio operators and they’re doing it.” He advised amateursended September 12. During its 15 hours licensed GMRS users, primarily to everywhere to be preparing now for di-of operation, the National Communica- support the Salvation Army’s relief ef- saster. “If you know your plan, you’retions System headquarters received more forts in New York City. REACT is a par- ahead of the game,” he said. “Practice,than 800 station availability reports from ticipant of the National Volunteer practice practice.”across the US. Organizations Active in Disaster Carrubba estimated that it would take Reporting on the parallel Army MARS (NVOAD) to help provide coordinating many weeks and maybe months beforeoperation, US Army MARS Chief Bob communications and support to the other the missing could be identified and theSutton, N7UZY, said that 23 state and re- members of this organization. The ARRL served agencies get back to normal. “Thisgional nets had been activated with 229 and REACT have a memorandum of is the real thing,” he said, “and Amateurindividual stations participating. These understanding. Radio has proved itself to be a valuablefigures do not include numerous Air REACT International Secretary Lee resource and service to the community inForce and Navy-Marine Corps members Besing, N5NTG, told ARRL that some this time of need.”activated. shifts had gone unfilled as volunteers In the wake of the Pentagon ARES During the two-day period there was started burning out or having to return to activation, Virginia ARRL Public Infor-no attack on communication lines—al- their jobs. He said REACT was running mation Coordinator Patrick Wilson,though a massive surge of calls had the 20 volunteers per shift. Jeff Schneller, W4PW, reflected that all the amateurseffect of blocking normal connections N2HPO—who’s also a SATERN liai- who volunteered were ready and willinginto much of Washington and New York son—was helping to coordinate the New to go where asked and stay as long as theyin the initial hours. But MARS and its York City response. were needed. “This is what we do,” heallies in NCS SHARES had demonstrated Charles Bessels of the Southern New said. “Everywhere we went at the site,their effectiveness in a genuine emer- York REACT Council reported that people stopped us and thanked us for whatgency of international scope. Sutton REACT teams were assisting the Salva- we were doing to help the effort. It em-thanked all that were involved in the tion Army in Manhattan. “REACT units barrassed me a little, because comparedMARS support. “You have done a great are making rounds to the different can- to what some others were doing, our jobsjob,” he said. teens around Ground Zero and at other were a piece of cake. Did and does ham SATERN—the Salvation Army Team positions,” he said. These included the radio play a part where needed? A re-Emergency Radio Network—activated its medical examiner’s office, the Javits sounding ‘yes’ is the answer.”HF net on 14.265 MHz shortly after the Convention Center—where volunteersattacks. The net initially served as a were signing up to help—and the Armory Authors note: Our thanks to Jennifer Hagy,backup communication link to Salvation on Lexington Avenue, where families of N1TDY, Brennan Price, N4QX, JenniferArmy headquarters and units throughout victims met with officials to give DNA Stocker and Bill Sexton, N1IN, for their assis-the nation. SATERN helped to coordinate samples and provide additional informa- tance in the preparation of this article. We alsoblood supplies across the US and handled tion. The REACT units were making sure express our gratitude to the many amateurshealth-and-welfare inquiries. the Salvation Army canteens had all the and organizations that went unmentioned in Immediately after the terrorist attack, supplies, fuel and personnel they need. this summary account but whose contributionsSalvation Army Major David Dalberg, They also handled emergency deliveries were nonetheless important to the overall suc-National Disaster Services Coordinator, of needed items. cess of these activations. November 2001 November 2001 59 35