Several things are on my mind as this monthly opportunity comes along. I’ll share a few to get you included in the Twilight Zone of one ham’s mind. “Lots” of stuff is happening here and there around us.
I read an article the other day about an after action report on a recent hurricane and the ARES response. It reminded me of our SET coming up on April 1st during which some shelters for persons displaced by emergency events will be assessed. The article indicated that preplaced antennas, coax and so forth in many cases were, ahh… unusable when the need came. They weren’t found, were damaged, had been moved to unusable locations… you get the picture. So I’m thinking we probably don’t want to go looking to place equipment out there unless there is some form of responsibility in place to preserve it. We have that at some locations; our hospitals have equipment in place that can be used. Neither is prepared the same but we have relationships that make that work. In the more broad sense of shelters, there are many shelter locations and keeping up with that many persons and locations is more than our group is able to administer.
Which brings me to the second connected thought. At the last GCARC meeting, Matt KF5KOY shared information on WINMOR/Winlink operations. What was really nice was his radio go kit. In a weather resistant case he had a radio, power supply, the TNC for Winlink, power distribution, battery, and so forth. Ideal set up for use at a shelter site. I would encourage all of us that can, to have such a package. You can buy these on line, enjoy building one as Matt did. In any case the more of us that are so prepared, the better ARES might be able to respond and meet the call for When All Else Fails.
Another good thing that has happened is the success of the ham classes out at Grayson College. Moe NT7C has been holding classes out there for a few years now. Recently he completed a General class license session that produced five new General class hams. That’s great news, but there is even more. After the SKYWARN training class he had 29 persons show up for the first day of the two day Technician License session. We planned that to happen right after the county SKYWARN training as it usually generates interest in Amateur Radio. Now most of you are well aware of the process he has, so there was a great deal of anticipation on how many would show for the second day. I believe heard him say 21. Not all stayed for the test, but if I recall correctly 18 passed their Technician class test. They were all very excited to move to the next step and clamored for a Ham 101 class. It is to be held April 8th at 9:00am out at the college in the CWL seminar room C. I share that as some of you might want to come if you didn’t get to come to one. It’s hands-on with HT’s, antennas, coax, trouble shooting coax and so forth. It’s great we have that much interest from the community. Let’s do a good job of including these folks in local Amateur Radio and hopefully service to the community. I understand there is also an Extra class in the works. It will be several weeks of classwork, but you all see the success of this program thanks to Moe.
Well this is beginning to get long and ramble-y so I’ll close with reminders about this time of year. Get ready. Storm season is upon us. Please check your equipment, batteries, go kits, yourselves, and whatever tools you use while spotting. We have not had any rain to speak of; I think it’s a La Nina year so it may be a dry spring, but sometimes we get some whopper storms.
I receive a newsletter for ARRL called the ARES E-Letter. Its focus is on ARES type activities. I recommended you sign up for it at the ARRL website.
In the last edition there is an article on a Florida county’s response to Hurricane Matthew. As I read it I thought about our operations and wondered how we would do. Karl Martin, the EC interviewed, makes three issues come to our attention, and I wanted to share some thoughts as they might apply to us.