Sending Emergency Digital Messages Using Local Repeaters

TBARG and Munson Emergency Communications is using an inexpensive method of sending/receiving FEMA ICS-213 forms using Android Tablets (Amazon Fire).  This system works with any VHF/UHF/HF radio.  If you are in the Traverse City area, we will be sending messages on the Cherryland Amateur Radio Club repeater MESH net every Monday evening at 8:00 PM.

If you have further questions, please email us at

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GREEN – (An imminent threat of severe weather within an hours’ time) Net control will activate a Non-Directed Net (Alert tones and announcement of impending weather), Net control will ask for formal check-ins. When recognized by Net control please give the following information,

  1. Call sign and first name
  2. Location (i.e. County and city or village)
  3. Base or mobile station

RED – (Severe weather is impacting our area) Net control will switch from a Non-Directed Net to a Directed Net, Net control may ask for additional formal check-ins. Net control will contact stations in the affected area asking for weather conditions. Stations should report only severe weather conditions to the net control station

  • Tornados
  • Strong winds 50-80 MPH
  • large hail ½ inch or larger in size
  • Severe damage to structures
  • Flash flooding
  • Water spouts

-If at any time you physically see a situation that is life threatening break into the net and advise the Net control station of the situation so that it can be reported.

-If you must leave the net, please check out with net control.  If you must take cover please try to indicate that to net control, but your safety is of paramount concern and must take precedence in all situations.

Primary Repeater 146.860   114.8 pl

Secondary Repeater 442.500  114.8 pl

Simplex 146.520


Echolink Update – World Wide Access to the Main Repeater

Cherryland Amateur Radio Club has given permission for the TBARG/Munson Emergency Communications to access the main region wide repeater (146.86).  This allows coverage for a large part of Northern Michigan.

Thanks to Joe Erlewein for his IT/Ham Radio wizard skills, we now have Internet access to this repeater for those with a ham radio license. Joe has been programming and testing the Echolink Raspberry Pi/mobile radio interface at home. He has moved the Echolink device to my office.  Please feel free to download the app to your mobile phone or computer – you can login after validation of your ham radio license. Look for W8TCM-R and add this to your Favorites.

Please let me know how the system is working and email me back if there are any connection issues.

Glen Johnson

TBARG/Munson Emergency Communications

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Emergency Communications Apps

Even if there is no cell phone or internet access, that cell phone is still a great survival tool.  I am starting a list of useful apps for Emergency Communications and Disaster Situations.  Do you have a favorite app or tool to recommend?  Email Glen at and I will add it to the list.

GPS Apps

MAPS.ME          Android                           IOS        Free

This app works without internet access to give your location, roads, directions, and local services.  This works anywhere in the world.  When you download the app, look for the options menu and “Download Maps”.  If you want maps for say Michigan, tap the “+” then United States of America > Michigan > then download the maps you want.  Once your map is downloaded, works without internet.  If travelling abroad, remember to turn off your cell phone service.

Gaia GPS            Android ($9.99)              IOS ($19.99)

Designed for backpackers, this app gives topo/satellite views and tracks where you have been.  Once you download the app and download locations, it works “off line”.  You can also upload your GPS history or “track”.  Very nice for search and rescue.

APRS.FI              Android                                         IOS

This uses the internet to upload your GPS coordinates so that other ham operators can see your/their location in map form.  Great for situational awareness.


Echolink             Android                                         IOS

You can access the Traverse City 146.86 repeater using this app from anywhere in the world.  Search for W8TCM-R and save to Favorites.

Repeater Book               Android                                         IOS (free)

This will use your phones GPS to give you the nearest repeaters.

Documentation and Reference

Solocator                         Android                                         IOS

This app takes a “standard” photo but also saves a photo that embeds the title that you create, time, date, GPS coordinates, compass bearing into the picture.  This is a valuable tool for disaster assessment and reporting weather conditions.  Remember to email photos to TBARG using the account.    The app is free but get the upgrade for around $6.

Google Drive                   Android                                                       IOS (free)

I would highly recommend getting a free Gmail account.  For those of you who do, are you aware that you have 15 Gigs of online storage for free.  Load the Google Drive App into your phone.  You can save important documents to your phone and access them even when there is no internet (use the View File Off Line mode).  TBARG/Munson files will be updated frequently.  

Got a lot of photos on your phone?  Back them up for free using Google Photos.  There is no limit to this free account.  Make sure you have Wi-Fi access and using the following link to download the app.  If you have a large number of photos, I would suggest plugging your phone into a charger and backing your photos overnight.

Red Cross First Aid                       Android                                         IOS (Free)

What to do for the most common first aid situations.

Merck Manual                              Android                                         IOS (Free)



The standard for medical disorder symptoms and information.

FEMA Mobile App                       Android                                         IOS (Free)

Weather alerts, safety reminders, submit disaster photos, etc.

WISER (Hazardous Materials)    Android                                         IOS (Free)

Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders – designed to assist emergency responders on hazardous material incidents.

Cherryland Electric Power Outaged Map                                        Web Link

Not an app but a web link to show where power is out.  Bookmark this page in your browser.

Consumers Energy Power Outage Map                                           Web Link

Not an app but a web link to show where power is out.  Bookmark this page in your browser.

Weather Radar and Info

Weather Underground Storm                  Android                                        IOS (free)

Excellent weather app.

Needful Things

Getting Pictures Off Your Phone – USB Drive

For IOS – Amazon – HooToo USB Lighting Drive 32 Gigs – $29.99

Let’s say you have a number of photos that you have taken of a disaster and you need to share these photos with Incident Command.  There is no email and/or you have a lot of photos.  This USB drive plugs into you iPhone and using the HooToo app, allows you to download up to 32 Gigs of photos.  The drive can then be plugged into a laptop to transfer photos.  It is also a good way to back up your photos while on vacation.

For Android, use the following (32Gigs is $15.25):

Portable Battery Pack to recharge your Android/iPhone for up to one week of use (20,000 mAh) $39:



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Charitable Donations?

Thinking about that charitable donation?

TBARG is a 501-c-3 non–profit organization that depends on charitable grants and donations to fund ham radio emergency communications in the Grand Traverse area. Please email us at for more information.
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