Now Is A Good Time

It’s so darn hot, the cows are standing in the ponds trying to cool off, the birds are only flying from tree to tree, and the dog stays in the shade all day.

So thankful for the A/C. I can remember as a kid we only had a swamp cooler – if it worked. We have come a long way. Back in those days Dad had his rig on the back porch. It was a nice one, glassed in with huge folding windows salvaged from a building remodel out at James Connally airbase. It was cool in the evenings, and that’s when he would talk to faraway places. Today I can sit in air conditioned comfort and send PSK signals all over the world. Not much has changed, yet everything has.

A while back I shared how contests, Field Day and Special Event Stations are good preparations for our response to emergency situations. Just like my dad’s operation and mine today, many of the same activities are performed when we activate ARES, but some things are different. I guess someone at ARRL picked up on that. There is a free webinar ARRL is hosting on this topic on Sunday, July 24th from 8-10pm EST. “Contesting as Training for Public Service” is the title; search for that on the ARRL website and you can register to listen in.

We have many activities coming up to help us in the continuing effort to improve our capability and train for various operations. Now is a good time to find a way to participate. There is a Special Event station this Saturday (the 23rd) out at Perrin Field. GCARC will be commemorating a historical event, the “Red River Bridge War”. Setting up and operating HF stations in the “field” is always a good practice session. Get there early to help set up and stay late to help take down. Later in July on the morning of the 30th we will have our annual ARES Simulated Emergency Test (SET). We will be searching out new or better locations for SKYWARN spotting using HT’s, mobiles at various power levels, and operating several of our EOCs to establish the viability of locations for radio communications. Look for an email from Wade KF5AUD with details as the date draws closer. Then there is the Kiwanis Bike rally in August which GCARC helps sponsor and provides radio communications for. It’s another event to stretch our legs, cover a lot of the county, and provide a chance for others to see the value of Amateur Radio in support of the community.

We will have a Face to Face training session July 26th. We are working on a discussion with our County OEM about a large scale emergency operation, maybe a wildfire situation and what would be going on so we might better understand how we fit into the logistics of such an operation. I will be sending out more info as to the location as soon as we have it finalized.

Stay cool, avoid heat-related stress, drink plenty of water, and use that sunscreen if you are outdoors.



Go Kit Tune Up

by Mike Bernier KF5NPM

(Rick K5ECX is taking a break this month, and suggested I fill in for him with an article. This is a transcript of my last presentation on our local ARES training net that talked about “tuning up your Go Kit”)

Go Kits. We’ve all heard about them, and how important it is to have one if you’re out in the field on a SKYWARN alert or other emergency. Go kits contain three different kinds of items – radio equipment and related gear to help you do your job as an emergency communicator, tools and materials to keep you safe and potentially help others, and supplies to help keep you comfortable and fed while you’re away from home. I’m not going to go into all the specifics of those items; we have detailed checklists you can download from the TECO website that recommend what you should have depending on how long you’re in the field, broken down into what you need when you’re out for just a couple of hours to a long-term assignment that could span several days.

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Can You Read This?

Recently while looking on non-sociable media I caught a reference to a technuckle paper about IWT and communications. I don’t normally read that stuff anymore; 35 plus years in the power industry dealing with engineering, design and construction processes will cure any itch you have to read something like that for pleasure. But I took the bait as it was written by some folks I have come to know at the National Weather Service (NWS). It was a study on how the NWS Integrated Warning Team (IWT) functions and how well communication occurs internally. The study focused on events of a particular day in 2013 when there was a rash of bad weather in the Montague, Granbury and Cleburne areas. As spotters we are part of that team, which also for this study included groups such as the NWS, Emergency management community, Media and the Public we all serve. Kind of like a family, we don’t always see things the same, think everyone is paying attention to ME and don’t always listen to each other.

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