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About N6SKK

First licensed in 1988 as KB6WPJ in San Diego, CA, I quickly upgraded to Tech Plus and received the call N6SKK. I've not yet taken my General or Extra test, and am in no big rush to do so. I operate exclusively on 6m, 2m, a very little on 220, and 70cm. I have no HF rig nor an ability to install a "proper" antenna, being in a dreaded HOA community.

I have been involved in public safety and public safety communications for many years. Starting as a police Explorer at 13 with the Pasadena (CA) Police Department and serving as Post Captain, I spent 10 hours a week in a Pasadena Police car for some 5 years, working the radio, writing reports, and doing various other theoretically safe things. Two days after my 18th birthday, I became a Police Cadet with the San Marino (CA) Police Department, quickly became a Reserve Police Officer (full-time and compensated), then a regular. Long story short, I served there for about five years, then left after deciding I didn't care for my attitude.

I went back to Pasadena PD as a dispatcher, dispatching police, fire, EMS, and sundry city services, and became a Senior Dispatcher (shift supervisor.) When the Pasadena Fire Department joined up with the Burbank and Glendale fire departments to create a regional dispatch center known as Verdugo Fire Communications (hosted by Glendale FD), I moved over there as a shift supervisor.

After serving Verdugo for some 3 years, I took an opportunity and joined the Orange County (CA) Fire Department (now Orange County Fire Authority) as the Chief of Communications. The Orange County Fire Department, under the able leadership of Chief Larry Holms, was a wonderful organization that provided me with many opportunities. While there, I was heavily involved with the development and evolution of the Incident Command System (ICS), chaired the FIRESCOPE Communications Specialist Group and created the position description, training plan, and Task Book for the Communications Unit Leader position within ICS. I deployed many dozens of times as a Comm Unit Leader to wildland fires, earthquakes (including Mexico City's in 1986), floods, and many other events throughout the western US. I was privileged to attend the Executive Development II and III series courses at the prestigious National Fire Academy in Emmittsburg, Maryland. I managed many large projects as well, including design, acquisition, and implementation of the County's initial 800 MHz trunked radio system for all fire agencies in the county.

I later became the inaugural head of the newly formed Heartland Communications Facility Authority, a Joint Powers Agency serving eight fire departments around El Cajon (San Diego County), California. It was during this time that I got my ham ticket, after years of working with ARES and RACES groups in my various professional communications positions. From there, I joined the San Diego Data Processing Corporation, a unique, City of San Diego-owned not-for-profit corporation that handles all of San Diego's IT. I was initially the project manager for the City's acquisition of separate but simultaneous Computer Aided Dispatch systems for the San Diego Police and San Diego Fire Departments, along with Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs), and GPS-based AVL for the Fire Department. I was also heavily involved in the City's acquisition and deployment of their first 800 MHz trunked radio system. After completing that complex project on time and on budget, I went on to manage the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS), a regional data-sharing network serving over 30 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the San Diego region.

From there, I went on to a number of private sector positions, all involved with public safety, and predominantly public safety communications and 9-1-1. Among other things, I provided complex consulting for some major radio and other public safety initiatives, including a detailed study and analysis of the radio system serving the Miami-Dade County Fire/Rescue Department, and another for the State of Kansas' statewide digital wide area trunked system. I moved to Texas in 2006 to take a job as Public Safety Project Manager for a large county in the Austin area. I managed conversion of the County's analog 800 MHz trunked system to a wide-area digital trunked network, reorganized and headed the 50-person Department of Emergency Communications, implemented a formal, 8-week dispatcher training academy, managed the painful and contentious "Nextel Rebanding" process, designed and oversaw construction of a regional radio interoperability trailer, performed many incident command functions at fires and other emergencies, and was Director of the County's Emergency Operations Center during which time we had a number of activations for ice storms, flooding, wildfires, and the like.

I left there in 2008 for a variety of unpleasant political reasons, and am now an independent consultant in the public safety and emergency management arena.

I am active with the Lone Star Spotters Network and you can sometimes find me on the NA6M repeater on 147.080 MHz (100.0 CTCSS).

Gary N6SKK

Yaesu VX-8R showing GPS display