OCRA Meeting Notes – August 14, 2017
- Dan (KR4UB) – Facilitated the meeting
- Quick introduction by attendees
- Joel (KF4KQW) moved to the coast permanently. We wish him well.
- Keith (W1KES) was approved as Club secretary.
- Dee (KU4GC) provided the following Interactive NASA solar eclipse map
- EOC renovations will commence soon. We will most likely hold the September OCRA Membership meeting in the Fellowship Hall of the Efland Baha’i Center. More details to follow.
Treasurer Report: current Budget is $13,262.59, with 72 paid members
Kirby Saunders, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator, stopped by for quick introduction. Orange County is eager to have active ARES involvement in local emergency training exercises.
Such participation is part and partial to being an amateur radio operator. All OCRA members and active hams are encouraged to get involved in ARES. The Weekly Orange County ARES Training Net begins on Saturday mornings at 9:30 am on the W4UNC 442.150 MHz PL 131.8Hz repeater.
Steve Ahlbom (W3AHL): Orange County ARES/AUXCOMM has been requested to participate in a formal shelter exercise at the C.W. Stanford Middle School in Hillsborough on Wednesday, August 16th from 9:00-12:00 (first shift) and 12:00-1500 (second shift). The exercise will simulate power outage and establish shelter for 85 people.
This is a great way to learn or refresh shelter exercises. Typically, one must complete ICS 100, 200, 700, and 800 free online courses from the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and have some ARES experience (training nets, public service events, etc.) Steve will request a waiver for those who have not completed the courses prior to the exercise.
Incident command training is standardized across the country, which provides a common vocabulary and means of planning and organizing people to accomplish task. To participate in formal training exercises, one needs to complete the courses listed above.
Public service events are good way to learn about ARES and incident response. There are several ways to keep informed of training exercises…reflector emails, OCRA website, or contact Steve.
Show and Tell:
Dan (KR4UB) provided a reflection of the winter 1996 OCRA Newsletter, which mentioned the initiation of OCRA’s repeaters now known as W4UNC. Tremendous effort was involved to get the repeaters on the air. A key participant in this effort was John Welton (N4SJW), whom has since moved to Colorado, but was in attendance for this meeting.
John provided a similar recollection on the effort to establish a repeater on the UNC Campus.
John recalled that emergency response played an important part in establishing the repeaters on the Faculty Laboratory Office Building (FLOB), better known today as the Mary Ellen Jones building on the University of Chapel Hill (UNC) Campus. The UNC hospital, also located on campus, is the largest burn center in the South East. As such, a means for providing emergency communication coordination with the hospital and surrounding area was needed.
In 1996, with financial assistance provided by the Hospital, Orange County, and Town of Chapel Hill, along with sweat equity from OCRA and DFMA members, the repeater was installed on top of the FLOB. The repeater still provides Chapel Hill and the hospital wide area communication capabilities today. John also recalled the challenges associated with RF coverage inside the building, as the structure had very thick concrete walls. The site leveraged IRLP as the communication infrastructure, as cell phone coverage was not pervasive at that time.
Continuing the conversation on John Welton’s influence on disaster preparedness, Dan shared a 2009 QST article entitled, “When the Big One Hits, South Carolina Will Be Ready!” The article mentions John, along with fellow University of South Carolina nurse Brian Fletcher, involvement in obtaining funding to establish a statewide Amateur Radio 2 meter and 70 cm repeater system. The article states, South Carolina is prone to earth quakes, and John and Brian implemented a project at the Medical University of South Carolina to provide hospitals with Amateur Radio communications for redundant communication capacity in the case of hurricane evacuations and earthquakes. We were glad to have John and Dan’s reminiscing on past experiences and share the role amateur radio operators play in emergency management and natural disasters.
Chuck (K4RGN) – At the July DFMA meeting, Ed Fong (WB6IQN) presented a program where he discussed his antenna designs and his latest, patented, triband antenna, which was featured in March QST 2017. Chuck brought one of Ed’s TBJ-1 triband antenna to the meeting. He separated the antenna from the PVC casing and explained the design. Dan also added commentary on the eloquent helix transformer design. Ed is selling the antenna for $60. Likewise, Ed is selling an HF SSB handheld SDR based receiver, and a GP5/SSB for $60. If interested in any of these items, please contact Chuck at email@example.com
Steve (KZ1X) – Presented a low cost ($59), 40 meter SSB HR rig from HFSigs, based on the popular Bitx40 design. The rig is shipped built from Indian with digital read out…did I mention it was only $59. This rig is ideal for low power WSJT-X communication modes like JT65 and JT9. A friend of Steve’s created a 3D mounting for the rig, which is makes a solid rig worthy of addition to any ham shack.
Andy (W4KIL) – Has been active with DMR radio listening to repeater’s out west. He recently purchased an AAI Impendence Analyzer with graphing function for $150. The analyzer covers 140MHz~2700MHz, which includes Wi-Fi and maps all S parameters. Nice purchase Andy.
Wilson (W4BOH) – Son and friend reuse computer batteries. If you have extra computer batteries, let Wilson know and a deal can be made, and they will be used.
Lad (W4ORD) – mentioned that Southern Battery in Kernersville has refurbished batteries at great prices.
Nick (KA1HPM) – Attending the Cape Fear Amateur Radio Society swap in Fayetteville last weekend. Purchased a DL1000 dummy load. Tried it out on Sunday, and it worked. There was no documentation, or any manufacture listed on the product. Nick conducted an internet search and noticed a similar item in a 1980 British publication. Steve thinks it maybe of Japanese origin. In any case, it was a good find at an affordable price. Just goes to show you what deals you can find at a swap.
Rick – mentioned that Timber Lake Fire Department will be offering ICS 400 training on August 22, 23, 24.