NVIS Antenna Construction

Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) is a propagation mode which uses high angle radiation to send signals almost straight up to be reflected back to Earth for very effective short to medium distance communications. This mode of operation makes it ideal for in-state communications during disasters or other emergency situations. The military has used NVIS techniques for decades to provide short haul communication with other units on the ground.     Read More Here..


If you receive an ARES deployment call the person calling you will give you details regarding:

The Type of Disaster

The Duration Expected

The Emergency Net Frequency, the Backup Frequency and any additional frequencies.

Who you will report to at the scene, including their agency name and position.

Expected safe routes into the disaster area

In previous discussions we have covered First Aid Kits and 72 Hour Emergency Kits. In addition to those two kits you will need an ARES Go Kit also known as an Emergency Communications kit.

The suggested items for your ARES Go Kit should be:

  • An HT which is appropriate for the Primary Secondary Emergency frequencies that will be used – a 2 meter HT will suffice in most circumstances.
  • Enough batteries for your HT to last at least one full day.
  • Battery charger for your HT
  • A roll up J-pole, Slim Jim will greatly increase your HT’s effective range
  • Alternately a 2 meter Mobile radio or a dual band radio with an adequate power supply or battery capacity for one day
  • 2m / 70cm mag mount antenna
  • Alternately a Yagi or other directional antenna .
  • Extra Coax
  • Ear Phones or Hand Microphone
  • Cell Phone and Charger (Hot spot, Mi-Fi) or Satellite Internet
  • Paper and Pencil / Pens
  • Official ID with Photograph
  • Copy of your FCC License
  • Any FEMA Incident Command System certificates for classes completed
  • Appropriate Clothing for the season. You should bring clothing that will keep you comfortable during night the time temperatures of that season.
  • Extra Food and Water
  • Message forms – Primarily ICS-213 forms
  • Log Book
  • Cash – in small denominations
  • Map of the area
  • Folding Chair
  • Electrical tape and duct tape
  • 50-ft rope
  • 25-ft power cords (2) (110 Vac)
  • Power strip (110 Vac).
  • Extra Connectors and adapters appropriate for your radios. Don’t forget barrel connectors.
  • A repair kit with hand tools, fuses, wires, and other small parts.
  • Soldering Iron and Solder.
  • Coax Seal

Most field operators do not have to have HF capability. That is usually taken care of by the Net Control Station.

Don’t assume commercial power will be available to run your rig & charge your batteries.

If a generator power is available at the site always use a power supply to filter the electricity as voltage spikes from the generator can damage your equipment.

And always be safety conscious when traveling both to and from the disaster site. Flooding, down power lines and other hazards may be present.

First Aid Kit

As an ARES volunteer we need to be ready for medical emergencies both large and small. One of the basic components of an effective 72 Hour Kit is a First Aid Kit. During a disaster deployment you may be one of the first volunteers at the scene or you may come upon people requiring first aid while traveling to your deployment location.

The basic components of a good First Aid kit are:

  • At least two pairs of non-latex Surgical Gloves
  • Cleansing agent – soap, antimicrobial towelettes or hand sanitizer.
  • 1 Breathing Barrier with one-way valve for use during CPR.
  • At least 1 Space Blanket
  • Sterile Dressings to stop bleeding – 3″x 3″, 4″x 4″ or larger
  • At least 6 Roller Bandages used to hold and cover sterile dressings
  • A roll of Adhesive Cloth Medical Tape
  • Adhesive Bandages (Band-aids) in a variety of sizes
  • 2 large triangular bandages that can be used for either arm slings or to cover sterile dressings
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Instant Cold Compress
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Burn Ointment
  • Insect Bite Cream
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant for wounds
  • Digital Thermometer – no glass or mercury filled thermometers
  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen or other non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Laxative
  • Anti-histamine tablets
  • Personal Emergency Contact Info and a copy of your ID – in case you become injured.
  • Prescription medications you take every day. You should periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates.
  • Power Bars or Candy Bars for quick energy.
  • Small transistor radio to receiver for AM / FM broadcast bands.
  • First Aid Instruction Booklet

Snake Bite Kit

  • Gatorade or other electrolyte packs – bottled water size. For treating and preventing Heat Stroke.
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sun Screen
  • Potassium Iodide pills – One pack per family member. Potassium Iodide protects your thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine from nuclear fallout. They are available online and no prescription is required for Potassium Iodide pills.
  • Self-Adhesive Ace Bandages.
  • Bic lighter or waterproof matches – Starting a camp fire can prevent/treat hypothermia and keeps victims of shock warm.
  • Surgical face mask / dust mask – to reduce inhalation hazards.
  • 2 large bandannas. Many uses such as hand towel, face mask, sweat band, etc
  • Caffeine pills – They come in very handy when you can’t stop to have a cup of coffee.
  • Maxi Pads – In addition to their original purpose as feminine hygiene products, they make very good sterile dressings. They are large, thick, absorbent, have an adhesive to keep roller bandages in place and they have a plastic barrier to help keep contaminants from being introduced into a wound.

Whether you assemble or purchase a first aid kit it is always important to check the expiration dates of all the products in your kit at least twice a year. Be sure to immediately replace any items that have been used. A depleted First Aid kit limits your capability during a real emergency. Do Not use your First Aid kit for daily bumps and scrapes, keep it separate from your other medical supplies. Your First Aid kit should only be used for real emergencies.

As with all tools, the effectiveness of your first aid kit is directly related to the training of the person using it. It is highly recommended that everyone be trained in first aid. Contact your local Red Cross for First Aid and or CPR training classes.

72 Hour Emergency Kit

After hurricane KATRINA rolled through NEW ORELANS, many of us realized that we were not adequately prepared for disasters. FEMA, the Red Cross and other organizations that specialize in disaster recovery all recommend that you and your family have a 72 hour emergency kit. This kit will allow you and your family to survive for 3 days without assistance from outside agencies, which is a realistic time frame for help to begin to arrive during an extreme emergency. Some folks have an emergency kit packed and ready to go in case they need to evacuate their home, others assemble their kit with the intention of sheltering in place.

The following list of items is applicable to both scenarios:

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food. If canned food is included be sure to include a can opener
  • Mess kit or light weight cook pot
  • A sturdy sharp knife
  • paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • At least a half tank of gasoline at all times
  • Flashlight + extra batteries or a hand crank flashlight
  • HT, battery packs and charger
  • Cell phone + chargers
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (with NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Paper and pencils – (Rite in Rain all weather notebook)
  • Extra batteries for everything you bring
  • First Aid kit + Imodium, Potassium Iodide
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, extra glasses, contact lenses, syringes)
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items including hand sanitizer
  • List of allergies to any foods or drugs
  • Portable shelter – Tent or large tarp – include a ground cloth, rope and stakes
  • Warm blankets, bedding or sleeping bags for each person
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, underwear, socks and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if it is cold. Include a hat
  • Jacket or coat for each person
  • Rain gear for each person
  • Extra socks (2 pairs/ day)
  • Sewing kit
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Special items for pet care (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Maps of your area including locality and state
  • Compass / GPS – (a compass never has dead batteries)
  • Multi-purpose tool or tool kit
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Duct Tape
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra cash
  • Camera for taking photos of any damage
  • Pictures of all family members for ID purposes
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • A Lighter or other fire starter such as a ferrocerium rod
  • Fresnel magnifying lens – (wallet size)
  • Important family documents such as copies of medication list and pertinent medical information deed/lease to home, birth certificates, health insurance, Home insurance policies and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Thumb drive copies of all of the above documentation
  • Evacuation Routes
  • Directions to the closest evacuation shelter or alternately a rally point where you will meet absent members of your Household. Your Rally Point may be a friend’s home, a motel or a Park, just be sure all of your family members know this is where you will meet during emergencies
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book and a survival handbook
  • Unscented Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – (add 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water to purify for drinking or general cleaning
  • Portable Water filter – an Aquamira Frontier Pro is a good choice. It is light weight, good for 50 gallons and can be attached to any soda or water bottle

Additional Items for sheltering in place

  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, a five gallon bucket and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Axe, saw or chainsaw
  • Shovel
  • Pry bar
  • Camp stove – (Propane, butane, alcohol or fuel tablet)
  • Fuel for your stove
  • Hurricane / oil lamps
  • Solar panels or a generator

Be sure to rotate the items in your 72 Hour Emergency Kit; prescriptions, food and batteries have a shelf life. Also check your Emergency Kit every 6 months to ensure that items have not been removed.

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