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AAR from Imperial County Training on Emergency Communications Go Kit, 3-11-23
Red Cross Communication volunteers
Thanks to those that helped to facilitate Saturday's training. We set some pretty optimistic/aggressive goals and we achieved them all. Here are the attendees:
J- KM6NUY (Training Facilitator)
Victor Borjon (Unlicensed Red Cross Volunteer)
David-KM6YPS (Licensed Red Cross Volunteer)
Our goals for today's training:
1. Set up HF Kit
2. Make a SSB phone contact (preferably in San Diego)
3. Send a WINLINK email.
4. Diagnose/evaluate/test VHF kit.
5. Charge Batteries.
6. Take notes and provide feedback to improve future exercises.
We ended up achieving all these goals, with the usual complications. We did make a SSB Phone contact in San Diego, but not with AK6QJ. We contacted the Midway special events station, NI6IW successfully. We made a voice contact through the CORA system Mt. Laguna 147.240 repeater with K6RJF in San Diego as a test of our VHF radio kit.
Here are our notes and observations:
1. Ideally we need 120V A/C extension cords and a power strip to power up and test the power supplies on the radio kits. We borrowed some from the office (and then put them back) . We did the majority of our transmitting on battery power.
2. If there is a generator that would usually be used with this kit it would be good to exercise that as well.
3. If we are going to use Winlink remotely, we need a way to run the laptop off of the batteries. Emmanuel KM6YPQ is working on locating an adapter that will power the laptop off of the DC power system.
4. We identified a problem with the power cord (gray) for the antenna tuner. Even when both ends were plugged in, the antenna tuner didn't work (resulting in High SWR indications from the radio). We got around this by using the VHF radio kit battery to directly power the antenna tuner, which worked a lot better. George, KA6ASF, has the cable and is checking continuity. We should be able to fix this- but I am not convinced this cable is the best way to power the tuner.
5. We could use an SWR meter with the kit- I will probably bring my personal one next time. There may be one on the radio, but a standard SWR meter would be a lot more useful.
6. The ultimate test of this kit would be to do a full scale field deployment, away from the city and running on battery power. Ideally this would be in conjunction with other similar deployments in other counties/regions. Given the inevitable change in the weather in our area over the next 60 days, we likely won't be able to swing this until the fall. This is something for the long term training calendar.
7. We are charging the kit batteries right now- Victor is going to unplug the chargers on Monday. The regular staff is certainly capable of topping off these batteries once a month I believe.
8. By checking the VHF Kit (FT-8900) we identified a few errors on the codeplug for repeaters in our area. The CORA repeaters have changed frequencies and PLs recently and this was not reflected. We should add a couple more local repeaters like the K6CLX 147.000 repeater and the EOC 449.300 repeaters as well.
9. We used one of the magnetic mounted antennas to do our VHF radio testing, but a roof mounted antenna would be ideal for testing the range of local, simplex communications. I didn't find an access point into the building, but I am sure if the facility manager and I got together we could figure out a way to get a cable out of/ into the building.
10. We didn't test the DMR mobile radio. Next time.
11. To end on a positive note- Victor indicated that he was interested in getting licensed. I would like to work with both of you (Bob, Jovana) to ensure that he has the resources to achieve that goal in the near future.
Thanks to all those that participated and facilitated this training. We will tentatively do this again on Saturday, April 15th. All are welcome.
Direct any requests for clarification to myself via email.
Fred Curtis, KI6GRO
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Sounds like you had a good training day there in El Centro! I did receive your Winlink message and responded back to you. Glad you are making good use of the equipment and that it is not sitting around gathering dust.
73 de KI6GRO
On Mon, Mar 13, 2023 at 9:23 AM J Rollins <km6nuy@...> wrote:
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