NOT A DISASTER YET!
If you are living under a rock you might not know that PG&E has filed for bankruptcy. I have heard many "theories" why the "Power Struggle" has become such a mess, but my intention in this article is to focus on the ramifications of this "Crisis" in relation to emergency amateur radio communications.
The biggest error in handling this real or fabricated crisis is the preventable problem of informing the public and emergency agencies when and where these "rolling blackouts" will take place.
This has caused many businesses and the public much excess hazard such as persons stuck in elevators. By the grace of God we have not had a preventable death due to this oversight by ALL involved with this failure to consider providing this vital information.
Folks, we are not talking about a minor loss of data or a cold meal at a restaurant, we are talking about a public safety issue! I saw rescue personnel unable to access certain stalled elevators with children in them. Without a highly risky extraction procedure they had to set in a darkened elevator until the power was restored to that building. In my opinion this "policy of not telling" is unacceptable for many reasons. I can't believe that any purpose is served by not giving this vital information to the public in a timely fashion.
One could plan their activities to accommodate this interruption in power. This would include many aspects of our daily routine. Instead of people using the elevators if they have a health issue, they could opt for another time or use the stairs. Or someone that works at a computer could "save and close" their current work and go outside and get a breath of fresh air or go for a brisk walk. Instead, many feel undue stress and many emergency agencies are tasked to handle preventable problems.
So far this "Power Crisis," real or contrived, has cost countless emergency responses. Call me "Chicken Little" (And many do! Hi!), but I will bet money that soon someone will die as a direct result of NOT having a forewarning.
How do we as communicators fit into this situation that could be the difference between life and death? Even though we don't have a lot of elevators in our area, there are many other situations that would make our skills valuable.
Here we go with the test. Do you carry a handheld radio with you or have you just let it set at home or in your vehicle? Do you keep an extra battery or a clamshell with alkaline batteries with you? Do you have a brilliant LED or small light on your key ring?
Would you feel dumb if someone needed immediate help that you could have provided with the little extra hassle of carrying these items?
Chicken Little here feels that if I carry a "fanny pack" with many items including the clamshell and radio I will be likely to be able to help in some way and thus avoid the Murphy's Law that IF you leave your radio sure enough you will need it!
I suspect that many hams will need another "Wake Up Call" in the form of an earthquake or other major disaster to get them to charge their handheld. Worse yet is the fact that rechargeable batteries need conditioning. So how is that 5-year-old battery holding out? If you don't know then you are not prepared.
If you don't have a handheld radio, then I suggest buying
one. They are not very expensive and are a blast to use! There is something exciting about
being at a fair, on a boat, in a mall, and being able to use the local repeaters. They are
a must at many of the events that use ham communicators to provide public safety.
Thanks to all that use, test, their ham gear and polish their emergency response ability by checking in to the local emergency nets in our area. It all takes time out of our spare time, but again I would rather prepare for disaster and never use the skills and equipment needed than to have a lifetime of regret because I failed to prepare.
I hope by the time that this newsletter goes to print this problem has been rectified.
73 from the Editor
April is the month that we all start gearing up for the spring chores and adventures. It is also the month that many involved with events in which ham communicators are used are making their lists and checking them twice! You can be part of the fun and learn some valuable lessons along with enjoying the events with other hams. These events are one of the only ways to see if you are "really prepared" without a disaster in progress.
Some of the brightest and dedicated hams are working these various events, which provide new hams an opportunity to glean from the more experienced hams.
So tune in to the local nets and sign up to work one of the many events for which hams provide much needed communications.
As long as I have been a ham (since 1992) I have not been privy to a "Foxhunt."
This event involves hiding a "transmitter that sends a signal/beacon" and we drive around town and try to find it first! Mike, KA6PGN, has set up the "rabbit" (transmitter) and will be activated on May 22nd in the morning!
Even though I have not built a DF (directional finding) antenna, I will nonetheless show up and use my body as a shield and use a handheld to give me a bit of DF capability.
I wonder if I could use a small beam such as a cellular 13-element beam to receive the signal? Or can one make a 1/8 wave beam to keep the size compact? How about 4 small antennas with a rotating shield?
As you can see I have many questions about this fun sport. Traditionally when the "fox" is found everyone gets together and has a confab and trades stories and tips. Sometimes everyone ends up at a park or a restaurant and has a snack.
This game has purpose in the realm of finding a "key-downed" transmitter whether it is accidental or intentional jamming. Police and other agencies use the ham community to find malicious people using a radio to disrupt communications. This dangerous person is not that uncommon and can wreak havoc to an emergency agency's ability to respond. So here is your chance to learn, enjoy, and confab with other hams.
MIR PACKET ADDRESS
The International Space Station (ISS) is going and growing! Soon the Packet Station will be turned on and will transmit a periodic beacon every two minutes. The ARISS Packet system will identify with RZ3DZR-1. We who are bound by gravity are asked not to use the Packet Mailbox System, as the crew will not have a computer to read the messages for a bit longer. Packet reception reports can be sent to the ARISS team. For information about ARISS visit their web site at: http: //ariss.gfsc.nasa.gov/
SECTION MANAGER VOTE
John Wallach, W6TLK, is again running for section manager. I like John and am voting for this dedicated ham. George, K7WWA, also endorses John. I am hoping to sway you to vote for John as well. 73 from Cory, KN6ZU
HAMFEST 2001 IS COMING TO FERNDALE!
Yes, the weekend of June 22nd to 24th will have a very special event for the public and fellow hams to enjoy! The ARRL Pacific Director will be there as well as many demonstrations and raffle prizes. Last year was fun and this year should be even more elaborate!
More info about the dinner and wine and cheese banquet is available by contacting: 707-442-3866 or contact conven@humboldt_aarc.org or www.humboldt_arc.org
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
--Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
--Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do
--Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
"Fame comes from the brave and those who are willing to fail. Fear of failure is no excuse." Cory Allen, KN6ZU
Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club
Minutes of March 27, 2001
President Leland Smith (W6CLG) brought the meeting to order at 1905 Hours
The following members were present:
- Jack Foster, Treasurer, KM6TE
- Jerry Wilson, Secretary, KF6IBP
- Gladys Smith, KD6IBF
- Todd Barton, KF6KBX
- Ron Aronson, KF6IBO
- Kim Cabrera, KG6BFO
- Cliff Banfill, KE6VDE
AGENDA: accepted as presented
PREVIOUS MINUTES: Approved
TREASURER'S REPORT: There is $634.65 in the Savings Account and an
estimated $586 in the Equipment Fund. There are 27 Paid up members.
OLD BUSINESS: Jerry nominated Kim KG6BFO to fill the Board vacancy. She agreed. The election will be at the next club meeting in April (we are going by the by-laws). Discussion on how to trim cost of newsletter. When Cory gets the newsletter to Kim for the web page she can also e-mail it to those who have agreed to receive it that way, however how do we satisfy our commitment to the advertisers since we don't send the graphics that way. Jack suggested that the club gets a low cost printer and print it ourselves rather than pay transportation and copier costs. Still need to pay postage. Many questions - need Cory's input.
New Meeting Place The Secretary reported that the letter to the Garberville
Fire Chief, as requested by the President, had been sent thanking the District for the use of the meeting room.
NEW BUSINESS: Redwood Coast Amateur Radio Convention will be held at the Ferndale Fair Grounds June 23, 2001. There will be a Banquet and a
Speaker. Jack requested that members donate their unwanted equipment to
SHARC for selling at the Convention to help our bank balance. FWRA Board
Leland is stepping down as one of our members of that Board Jerry nominated
Cliff KE6VDE to take his place 2nd by Jack PASSED unanimously.
Jerry asked if anyone would be interested in becoming a Volunteer in
Prevention with CDF. It involves patrolling the backcountry and
reporting smoke during high fire danger times. There may be more need
this summer and fall since it seems we are in a bit of a drought this
spring and Grasshopper Lookout will not be in operation. Jerry has the
application forms and will be trying to contact other hams to help out.
OPEN FORUM: Some more discussion about how to print and
DOOR PRIZE: Leland won an alternator tester
ADJOURNMENT: 19:45 Hours
Respectfully submitted J.R.Wilson KF6IBP, Secretary
A RESPONSE TO QUESTION IN THE MINUTES
I would like to say there is no "requirement" or agreement with the advertisers in regards to how many "hard copies" are sent by mail each month. Also, Kim, KG6BFO, can "Attach" the adds to the e-mail copies sent. Kim has also put "links" on the Sharc Web Page and that is a big plus to the advertisers! They support us and we support them. So please let Kim know if you can help by retrieving the newsletter from the web page (the preferred method) or would like to be added to the e-mail list she is compiling. Kim's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The mailing list is smaller thanks to the support of those who have access to the World Wide Web and that is good for the club.
Please pay your dues if you have not yet.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS