THE AIRWAVES CALENDAR
Welcome to Fall or at least the start of it with the cooler weather and the October part of the calendar showing up. We had two service events take place on the same date, the Kiwanis Walkathon and the Picnic in the Park bike ride. We could have used more members helping out. The Walk was on a shorter route this time so was over almost as soon as it began. HTs worked just fine as always. A great short time duration event to get some practice coordinating and communicating. The bike ride is more challenging in that more hilly countryside is involved making for finding the right spot where the radios will work. The ride is longer because people pumping up and down hills on bikes tend to get strung out along the road.
APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) was practiced during the walk with one person carrying a backpack with a beacon and one car with similar set up. Greg WA7IRW was able to finally get the position shown on the map down to within a couple hundred feet of where the radio beacons were beeping. Some thing that we will hear more about at a meeting talk. Just more ways we can use our radios and be of service to the groups we help out.
Just In - The LDS Church gave us a $25 donation. SARC assisted with communication on a recent LDS Boy Scout outing. During the campout an emergency occurred, making ham radio even more critical.
Minutes of the General Meeting
The 50-50 ticket money ($11) went to Bob Phillips KA6PLU. There were several interested in the RFI case Bill WA6QYR was working in Mojave. It was indicated that Bruce N8RXJ was having problems with intermod on the 146.64 machine at his house. Several others indicated the same. Phelps will be looking into Bruce's problems. A nomination committee is needed soon before the December elections. VE session on 9 October was announced in both the newsletter and the meeting. John Dension AI6A presented the Field day operation in both talk and pictures. Thanks to Pam Evens for providing the snacks. Ray Malone KF6GQX new Ridgecrest resident coming from the northern CA gold country was our visitor. 20 people we in attendance.
Treasurer's Report As of October 4, 2004: Draft Account $ 925.96 Share Account $ 5,489.79 BALANCE: $ 6,415.75Submitted by Pam Evans, KC6UUS
Just what is APRS? We hear about it, several hams in the valley are working with it, but just what is it? What can it do and not do? The October meeting speaker, Gene, KI6LO, will attempt to give us the low down on APRS. It should be enlighting as well as entertaining. Hope to see you all there October 13!
Easy FM Satellites
Amateur radio satellites are easy to use and fun as well. Mike, WA6ARA, will be presenting in November the how and why of operating the easy FM satellites. At the present time there are no less than 2 open FM satellites available as well as the ISS station. All that is needed is a 2meter and 440 FM rig(s) and some simple antennas. The presentation will November 10th at the regular SARC meeting. Hope to see you there!
Boy Scout Jamboree-On-The-Air takes place on 16 October and is a world wide event. SARC members have participated in this operation in the past and had some fun letting the Cub Scouts (elementary school age youth) talk with other Scouts. This years plans are to set up in Pierson Park on Downs Street and operate from 0900 to 1500 hours. Greg, WA7IRW will have some electronic kits for the youngsters to build. Greg will need some help from operator and general helpers when the kids come by. Contact Greg at 446-4383 and volunteer a couple of hours of helping.
Picnic In The Park Report
The Picnic in the Park ride on 25 September went without a hitch! SARC participants included Elvy NØLV, Bill N6PR, Fred KG6STR, Todd W6TOD, Pam KC6UUS, Dave KC6UUR, Bruce N8RXJ, Phelps W6PTH, Paula N6VGW and Mike WA6ARA. SARC' own W6SIY rode the ride! And a good time was had by all...
Kiwanis Walk-A-Thon Report
The annual Kiwanis Walk-A-Thon was held on Saturday, September 25. Three valiant hams braved a cool, pleasant, wind-free morning to provide health and welfare public service communications for the 600 or so walkers. Gene, KI6LO, and Bill, WA6QYR, along with Greg, WA7IRW, met at the park at about 0730, ate donuts, drank coffee, set up the APRS receiving station, and chatted with the walk-a-thon folks while we waited for the other volunteer hams to arrive. When we realized that we were it, we activated PLAN B. Gene and Bill scurried off to the first two checkpoints. As the crowd of walkers passed checkpoint 1, then checkpoint 2, Gene jumped over to checkpoint 3 and Bill to checkpoint 4. Meanwhile, Greg set up a dual frequency translator/APRS station in the Kiwanis resupply car, so Don, the driver, could listen to where supplies were needed, and we could track his location. The official "last walker" was provided with another APRS station with a 1/3 watt "credit card" transceiver in a backpack. Since she started before the last walker actually left the park, we used the APRS info to vector Don over to pick her up so she could be brought back to the park to start again. We were able to track the last walker just past checkpoint 1 when the signal was lost. Gene located her again at checkpoint 3, substituted a 5 watt transceiver, and we successfully tracked her over the rest of the course. The APRS capability greatly helped improve our tracking of the key people during the event without the need for the checkpoints to relay the location and direction of travel. The last checkpoint was closed about 0930 and we hams re-assembled at the park to chat and recover the APRS gear. The walkers required less water over the shorter 2+ mile route and we finished about 1 hour earlier than in previous years. Although we were too busy to get an accurate count of the walkers, we did have an enjoyable morning. The Walk-A-Thon chairperson said SARC is likely to receive a donation at the November awards luncheon.
When CHARLIE met FRANCES
Here I sit in Southern California in my nice swamp cooled ham shack while listening to the events unfold as Hurricane FRANCES pounds the southeastern United States. My stepdaughter just got back to Ridgecrest a couple of weeks ago after having been through Hurricane CHARLIE while visiting her biological dad in Orlando, FL. And as if these two weren't enough, now it looks like there is a possibility of Hurricane IVAN arriving next week. After having been through Hurricane ALICIA with 96 mph sustained winds (127 mph gusts) while I was living in Houston, Texas in 1983, I can say that 'exciting' isn't a strong enough word to describe the emotions happening during a storm of that magnitude. Preparations always never seemed to be completely done no matter how far in advance you get warning.
The thought crossed my mind, recalling my experience with Hurricane ALICIA, that if 'the Big One' (as the mother of all earthquakes is affectionately referred to in SoCal) were to happen at this moment, would my family and I be prepared. Did we have enough food and water on hand to survive for a day - a week - 2 weeks? I looked around and I am sorry to report that we would be in dire straits if it did occur.
Aside from some minor preparations such as a couple of 5 gallon bottles of water and a recently restocked pantry, the only thing that was really prepared is all the radios can be powered from a 12V battery bank and I could be on the air (HF thru UHF) very quickly after the event even if the power mains were down.
The fact that I didn't have things as well prepared as I would like too made me stop and think. I have lived in Ridgecrest since Jan 1986 and I heard, repeatedly, about preparing for a minimum of 3 days without power or running water, yet here I was violating those very guidelines. So I stopped everything I was doing, even though it was fun working on ham radio projects, and started an outline of all the things that needed to be done in order to be prepared as best as we could. My wife and I talked about what we felt were required and she mentioned things that I hadn't even considered.
We are now assembling our rations and water, medical supplies, batteries and broadcast radio, copies of ID's and important papers (originals are safely stored away elsewhere), etc to support the family (including pets) for at least a week. We just hope the Big One waits a week or two more until we can finish!!!
How prepared are you and your family??
The following is simply intended as a seed for growing thoughts. Each person is ultimate responsible for themselves and those they love and care for. One of the main things that will determine level of need is family size. And don't forget the pets. They depend on you too. Each person should have some sort of medium size day pack. Store all personal items in it in case you must evacuate the area.
Being we live in a desert climate, I believe water is one the most important items to be in your 'kit'. Most survival authorities state that at least 3 gallons of water a day for each person in the household plus additional for each pet (daily amount depends on weight) is recommended. For Ridgecrest, additional water is a safe bet especially in the summer as the air conditioning will be out with power off and we all know how cozy warm it can be here in August.
Individual medical needs are at the top of the list also, maybe before water but at least as important. Make a list of all required prescription medications and keep in personal packup. Have copies of all prescriptions and doctors name to give to emergency service providers, as needed. If you run out and must have a refill during the crisis, the items may have to be brought in from neighboring towns and the supplier will want some sort of accountability for dispensing drugs, especially those on any controlled substances list. While we're talking medicals supplies, you should consider making your own first aid kits vice buying those ready made kits as they usually are very limited in usability past band-aids and aspirin. There are several resources on the internet that list what supplies should be in a quality first aid kit.
Basic foodstuffs should is the next most important item your list. Things like granola bars and dried fruits and dried jerky are a good item to consider having as they do not require any cooking and can be consumed directly. Granted it isn't a steak dinner but the idea is to survive until regular services can be re-established. Have on hand a broadcast radio and supply of fresh batteries. This will be useful in keeping abreast of news concerning recovery efforts. A small MP3 player might provide some distraction to the problems at hand and can help lift spirits while things get back to normal.
Being a ham does not demand that you provide assistance to others but it has always been an accepted practice by most hams to lend a hand. As such, many hams provide emergency communications and will be in the thick of things helping as needed. Personally, I plan to provide as much assistance as I can if called on but my personal values are such I will help others AFTER my family is safe and sound.
I could continue with items but with limited space for this column, I will simply say everyone should analyze their individual needs to determine what is required by them and build your 'kit' to fulfill those needs. Search the internet for earthquake preparedness information and work from there.
As a final idea, I would also suggest that all local hams check
into the Monday night emergency net, at least once a month - weekly
if at all possible, to 'practice' operating in a controlled net
environment. Another great tool is to take the ARRL Emergency
Communications courses (or at least the first one). These are
online through the University of Connecticut Distance Learning
Center and the registration fee is even reimbursed once you complete
and pass the course exam.
I am in desperate need for the Indian Wells Valley Emergency Net control operators. Please help out and contact me to volunteer for a month or a week.
Mike WA6ARA 375-5324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for News!
I'm always looking for local news for and about the IWV amateur radio community. Also, if you have something for sale or are looking for something else, drop me a line and I'll put it in the Airwaves.
Ok, let's say you have some news for the Airwaves. How do you get it in. Well, the best way is if you can send it to me electronically, ie email. The text can be in Word or Works, but the most universal is as text body of the email, no HTML, PLEASE!
However, if you don't have email, I can take paper copy. You can send it to me at 613 Rebel Road, Ridgecrest.
...Editor, Mike, WA6ARA, email@example.com
SARC Newsletter via Email
The SARC newsletter is now available via email in TWO formats, Adobe Acrobat PDF and in plain text. The PDF version is complete, and in color, but you will need Acrobat Reader to view it. Most have it and it is available free to both PC and Mac users. The plain text version can be read by just about anything! ...but you lose the graphics.
If you want the newsletter via Email make sure you check the proper box on the membership form, add your email address and the version you want. If you have already renewed and want to convert to email, or have changed your email address, drop the secretary, Tom Ingram, WB6EPD , (375-7950) a note, as he is keeping the email address lists.
...Editor, Mike, WA6ARA, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Updated Sun Jun 6 19:18:32 PDT 2004