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NEW ENGLAND GATEWAY #3:
ARES/SKYWARN
9123 / *NEW-ENG3*

 

OVERVIEW

      The "ARES/SKYWARN" channel of the New England Reflector is the third of three integrated gateways on the reflector that digitally bridges together IRLP and EchoLink.  Users connecting to this gateway from either VoIP network are allowed to interconnect with each other.  The node number is identical and accessible on both the networks of IRLP and EchoLink as 9123.  It can be found on EchoLink clients as conference *NEW-ENG3*.  This is a dedicated gateway for ARES/SKYWARN activity in the six New England states.

         This gateway is configured to have transcoding disabled, meaning audio between users on IRLP and EchoLink and visa versa are not re-encoded.  The audio codec for users connecting via IRLP and EchoLink is GSM.  Normally, the reflector owners prefer transcoding to have the added benefit of exceptional audio quality between IRLP nodes using the UNCOMP (uncompressed codec).  Since this gateway's use is decidcated to emergency communications, reliability in addition to minimal CPU resources and bandwidth is most important over the higher audio quality.

More details are provided below.

1) ARES

     This gateway provides a vital link for New England's Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program on a primary basis.  In times of emergencies, Eastern Massachusetts ARES (Regions 1 & 2) will activate and utilize this gateway.  This provides a single point of contact to pass traffic and welfare communications.  Depending on the severity of a real activation, other ARES regions may also utilize this gateway.

      Monthly, Eastern Massachusetts ARES conducts a drill.  This drill allows for repeaters, simplex nodes and individual client users to test equipment and auxiliary power in preparation for a real activation.  The drill is a directed on-air network (net) which starts at 8:30 PM on the first Monday of each month on the MMRA repeater network.  MMRA's IRLP node 4133 links to this gateway for both drills and activations.

2) SKYWARN

      This gateway provides a vital link for New England's SKYWARN program on a primary basis.  In times of severe weather, station WX1BOX lead by Rob Macedo, KD1CY and a team of volunteers become active from the National Weather Service (NWS) in Taunton, Massachusetts.  WX1BOX informs hams of watches, warnings and forecast data, plus provides a single point of contact via this gateway to collect reports of SKYWARN criteria.

      WX1BOX focuses on collecting reports by hams in the area served by the Southern New England Weather Forecast Office.  This area includes most of Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, all of Rhode Island and Cheshire and Hillsborough counties in Southern New Hampshire.  Depending on the severity of the weather event, NWS Gray, Maine (WX1GYX) and other SKYWARN sections such as Western Massachusetts and Connecticut may also utilize this gateway.