Training during the Pandemic

Mark Warrick (KM6ZPO) <mark@...>

Hello Bruce and All,

I'm glad Bruce said something.  He's right that our neighbors are practicing regularly (LAX ARES, SDG ARES).  I follow what they are doing.  I participate in their exercises periodically.  

Here in Orange County, most RACES / ARES orgs continue to be shuttered.  The members of these organizations are doing some exercises but overall nobody is doing anything.  

We're only good as the tools we bring with us, and the experience we can offer.  Without regular training and continuous improvement, I wonder how useful we can actually be in a disaster.  

Here's the question, "If we had that major 8+ earthquake right now, what would we do?"   I've heard, "we'll call you and let you know". 

What if all power and phone service is down?  

Where's the emergency action plan?  

When I was an emergency coordinator for OCHEART, there was a plan.  It needed refinement, but at least a plan existed.   We all knew what to do.  

I educated myself.  I went way beyond the entry level courses required to be an operator for OCHEART and Anaheim RACES.  I completed EC-016 training which is required to be an "emergency coordinator".  

I ultimately left OCHEART because I felt they were going nowhere.  They weren't training.   A weekly net check in is not training.  

I joined up with Anaheim RACES because it was my back yard at the time.  I'm staying with them because they have a specific need: fire watch.  I've done fire watch training.  I've done a fire watch patrol.  I know what to do when we get a red alert.  My go-bag for fire watch is always ready.   I am always ready for a fire watch.  

I am new to the American Red Cross DST team, so I'm still trying to figure out where I "fit in".  I am patient.  I bring a lot of skills with me.  I didn't join ARC to do weekly check ins.  I joined to be ready to respond when needed.  But at this point, I have no idea what to do if something happens locally.  Fires, earthquakes, power outages, etc. - what do I do?  I have no clue.

So yes, we definitely need exercises.   And we need maintenance.  We're way beyond needing to make sure the radio rooms in our chapters are operational and that everyone knows how to use them.  Sooner or later a disaster will strike, and we'll be unprepared.  We'll be scrambling to put together ad hoc team with ad hoc instructions of what to do.  I just hope that we can be relevant and useful when that day comes because at least on an individual level, each member didn't wait for the management to exercise.  They did it on their own.  

I am available just about any weekend for exercises.  I am eager to participate.  I just need willing participants.  That's why I posted a request for participants in the 9/11 P2P drill we're doing here in Orange County.  Even if I needed to travel to San Diego, I would participate.  Or I would post up somewhere in San Clemente for long-haul comms.  

Feel free to reach out to me personally if you want to exercise.



To Red Cross DST group

I voiced my concern during the Saturday meeting, but there seems to be little movement by DST members to develop communications technology for disaster communications. I will now cast a wider net. Look at this paste from SEC-ARES:

"On 8/9/2021 6:21 AM, Catherine James, NQ1B wrote:
Here in Vermont, we have done tests on sending short files over VHF simplex, UHF linked repeaters, and HF.

MT63 has proved to be the best mode on VHF simplex. We've successfully used it to cross a mountain range on 2 meters with about 30 miles range. This required vertically polarized beams if 3 or 4 elements on both ends, but at very modest heights, just above rooftops of single-floor houses. We find that 20 to 50 watts is usually sufficient. Doing FM voice over the same path with the same antennas requires over 100 watts.

If conditions are good, we'll use MT63-2000. If poor, we change to MT63-1000 or MT63-500, making for slower but more reliable transmissions.

Cathy James NQ1B
ARES SEC Vermont"
Now there is a group that is developing communications tools during the Pandemic!!  So WHY are we in Red Cross DST sitting on our hands during this pandemic!!?? True, the Thursday Winlink drills will develop skills in using Winlink. BUT that is only sending traffic into the local gateway in T.J. or Telnet. What if these  path's did NOT exist?? Are we as a DST Team learning how to pass message traffic using P2P ?? How about a traffic passing test from a radio hole in the East County thru a portable mountain P2P relay with solar power??  How about the Palomar 146.700 repeater? Red Cross HAS approval from PARC to use it for digital traffic. From the message above, we could be using VARA-FM   AND MT-63 !   In the past we have used the Red Cross  "Go-Kits" with FT897' and SCS PTC2 modems to pass PACTOR traffic on 80 & 40 NVIS  - we could also try 60 meters. We have passed  PACTOR traffic between San Diego to the desert - over a 90 mile mountainous path, using "Knife Edge" refraction using 2 Meter SSB!!  There are MANY TRAINING opportunities the Red Cross DST could be using to increase our preparedness level to pass Disaster traffic. LETS DO IT!

BTW my ""  link still does not work - I can send into it, but get no traffic from it.  Also my Bruce.Haupt@... STILL does not work!

73 Bruce   WA6DNT@...   WA6DNT@...