2024 Dark Skies Severe Weather Seminar

Please add February 24 from 9am-3pm to your calendars for the 2024 Dark Skies Severe Weather Seminar held at Madison College at 1701 Wright St and put on by the The MidWest Severe Storm Tracking Response Center (MidWest SSTRC, Inc.). Each year they host a number of presentations on Storm Spotting in our area and the Dane/Iowa County ARES/RACES has an information table at the event. This is also a good reminder that as ARES operators we are expected to attend Storm Spotter Training at least every other year. As soon as classes for 2024 have been published we’ll add them to this site.

Our EC, Jeff, KC9UNZ will be staffing a table with ARES information and answers (hopefully) for any questions people have. He will be bringing stuff to look at. If you’d like to have links to the materials he will have available you can download the Resource List here.

Our latest tri-fold brochure is available as well.

January 2024 Monthly Meeting

We will be meeting this month at the NEW Dane County EOC at 2982 Kapec Rd, Fitchburg, Wisconsin 53719. This month we will meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month, January 24 at 7:00. We’ll get a look at the new digs and I believe we can get our IDs that night! I will at least take some pictures so we can get the IDs created soon. (No Really!, this time I’m not kidding) For those who can’t make it in person there will be a virtual space for you to join us. I plan to review the presentation Kyle, KC9SDK, Steve Haskell and I gave to SCWIHERC about ARES and Hospital support and review some plans for the year. If you cannot be there in person we will provide virtual space for you to attend. Since we don’t want to get Zoom Bombed I’ll not publish the virtual location here. If you would like to attend virtually and you did not receive my email from this week please send a note to kc9unz@arrl.net (please include your call sign) and I’ll send you the Google Meet connection instructions.

Remember when we have in-person meetings on Wednesday’s there is no Net meeting on that night.

Current weather forecast through email/winlink

I wanted to document this as a reference. When in the field (or anywhere) that you have accèss to create an email, including using winlink, and you’d like to get the current weather conditions and forecast you can send an email to the National Weather Service. Momentarily you will receive a reply with weather conditions for your county.

Let’s cut to the chase. In your email include the following (this is for Dane County Wisconsin)

Recipient: NWS.FTPMail.OPS@noaa.gov

Subject: anything you’d like


cd data
cd forecasts
cd zone
cd wi
get wiz063.txt

Send your email and in a few moments you will receive a reply with the current weather conditions for your area. The above email will get you a reply that includes this information.

You can get information for any US.county by changing two things, the state abbreviation under the zone line and the text file name on the “get” line. For example to get information for Iowa county replace the get line with get wiz062.txt.

Another example to show the substitutions for Hartford, CT, the body of the message would be:

cd data
cd forecasts
cd zone
cd ct
get ctz002.txt

If you want the full help file replace the text in the body of your email with the word “help”

If you want to get information on a different county you will have to find the appropriate file name. All of the available files can be found under each state abbreviation here: https://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/data/forecasts/zone/

I haven’t found an easier listing connecting county to file name but if I do I’ll update this post.



Nearly every level of Public Service at which we could be deployed has a FOG or Field Operations Guide. Even if you are not in the middle of an incident they have a wealth of information on operating and equipment and procedures. It is Free so its worth every penny.

On Android or IPhone go to your app store and search for “Public Safety Library” (at least that is what it is called on my Android).

Once it is installed the three FOGs you will want to install first will be

  • Wisconsin Interoperable Communications Field Operations Guide (WIFOG)
  • National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG)
  • Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide (AuxFOG)

Once you have them installed go ahead and browse. You’ll find some interesting stuff in there. And let us know what you think.

Setting Up Outside Show and Tell

Thanks to all who came to Badger Prairie Park on Aug 31 for a show and tell on setting up outside. We all learned something from each one of the setups. I was asked if I could provide a breakdown of some of what we learned. It wasn’t recorded and I wasn’t taking notes and although I don’t usually open posts for commenting I will on this one so I can rely on people who were there to comment below on any interesting take aways they had from the evening.

3 responses to “Setting Up Outside Show and Tell”

  1. Joe N9TWA Avatar
    Joe N9TWA

    I have a hard hat. Never throught to bring it. I have steel toe boots too which might come in handy. I do have a large amount of equipment to bring, but it often gets trimmed to meet the needs of my role. A list of what to bring for different assignments would be good. I forgot to mention that I also have a pair of FRS radios. Store batteries in a baggie with the light/radio etc., with all of it in a second baggie. This will protect the equipment if the batteries leak.
    Might come in handy when working with non-hams.

  2. Thomas Pugh W9TDP Avatar
    Thomas Pugh W9TDP

    Look for Public Safety Library in either the Apple App Store or the Android App Store. From the Library, I have downloaded, ‘Wisconsin Interoperable Communications Field Operations Guide’, ‘National Interoperability Field Operations Guide’, and ‘Auxillary Communications Field Operations Guide’. aka WI eFOG, eNIFOG, and eAUXFOG. Open each one while you have WiFi access; the files will download and you will have them when you need them in the field.

  3. KC9UNZ Avatar

    Here’s my take aways:
    Put a Hard Hat in my go kit.
    Make a list of stuff to take with me… I can’t set aside stuff just for deployment so I found I forgot obvious stuff for our evening I need to create a go kit list
    Deployment manuals can be found by installing the Public Safety Library app on Iphone or android. (More on this later)
    Bring a camp chair
    WEM Go-Kits can be requested through the county EOC.
    Everyone should create a Winlink Account. There are two parts to Winlink. You can create an account and install the software and use WinLink WITHOUT a radio. Create an account and get familiar with the software. Once you get that down, then wrestle with doing RF winlink (because wrestle you will!)

Badger Challenge (UW Cancer Research)

Event Timing: Sunday, September 24, 2022
Event Address: 6000 American Parkway, Madison

The Badger Challenge (formerly The Ride) consists of a cycling event (100mi, 100k, 50k, 25k, 5k) and a Run/Walk event (13.1mi and 5k).

The Badger Challenge would not be possible without its numerous caring and dedicated volunteers! This year, it takes place on Sunday, September 24, 2022 at the same location, 6000 American Parkway, Madison (American Family Insurance).

We are looking for volunteers for staffing communications support for traffic direction and parking for the event, Course Sweeper Vehicles, Bike mobile for patrolling the Run/Walk event, Rider transport, net control/dispatch. We will try to accommodate your availability as much as possible.

To volunteer please browse to this address: https://forms.gle/Bcx5CdeZBPBcZPhY9

August 2023 In-Person at Badger Pairie Park

Join us on the last Thursday of the month, August 31, at 7:00, at Badger Prairie Park County Park in Verona for a show and tell. When we asked what people wanted to see during the year one of the requests included ideas and examples of setting up outside and operating. If you have a way that you set up outside bring it along and we’ll set up a few stations outside on Thursday Evening. I’m not exactly sure where in the park we’ll be so come on down and drive along the main road through the park until you see what looks like a bunch of hams!

Please note, there will be no zoom connection available for this meeting.

Results From January 2023 meeting

Dane ARES folk met in a hybrid meeting on January 26 at Space Place and Zoom. The major agenda from the meeting was to find out what members felt should be important about our work this year. We split into groups and discussed and then came back together to share results.

We also requested that each Ham that is interested in public service through ARES/RACES for 2023 send a message to KC9UNZ indicating so. This is a messaging activity as well. You can send your message, preferably using an ICS213 form one of 3 ways.

  • Winlink – to KC9UNZ
  • Voice Message during one of our Wednesday Net Meetings
  • Fill out an ICS 213 and hand it to Jeff at one of our in-person meetings

You can find links to forms below. For further instructions please take a look at the link to the notes from the meeting.

Attached here are the notes from the meeting.

Here is an example of a Confirmation Winlink Message

Here is a link to the official ICS213 form.

Dane/Iowa ARES/RACES January Meeting

We’ll be meeting on Jan 26 at 7:30. It will be a hybrid meeting, in person at Space Place with a Zoom option if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable joining us. More info to come. If you have not received your email invitation which includes the Zoom connection information please send a note including your call sign to KC9UNZ@arrl.net