Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

Featured Member Profile: Deb KK7DEB and Eli W7ELI

When we joined the Corbett NERT team in 2005, the group was in desperate need of ham radio operators. We signed up with the Clark County Amateur Radio Club for technician class. We walked out of the exam with our PASS slips and wondered, “Now what?” Off we went to HRO pleading total ignorance of all things electronic but professing an interest in emergency communications. The very patient salesman recommended a Yaesu VX6R HT. We each bought one and they turned out to be a good choice.

The CCARC put us to work right away, partnering us with an experienced ham, Jack (now a silent key) for the Diabetes Walk. We quickly learned that a rubber ducky antenna doesn’t get very far, so back to HRO for a quarter-wave for the HTs and a mag mount for the car.

The only ham we knew was our friend Jerry who lives on San Juan Island. A little experimenting with linked repeaters and we were talking almost to Canada! We scanned the two meter band listening to anything we could find and stumbled on the Northwest Traffic and Training Net. We listened a long time and learned the basics of message handling, then finally got up the courage to check in and try sending a message to Jerry. Back to HRO. 5 watts even with a better antenna still wouldn’t get us out of Corbett. But 50 watts did! We grew up as hams on the NTTN.

However, we still wanted to get into emergency communications. We went to a couple of Multnomah County ARES meetings but there were only three or four other folks in attendance and there was no apparent training going on. At the EmComm Conference in Seattle we met David Kidd KA7OZO, then EC for Clackamas County and District 1 EC. He encouraged us to come to Clackamas County and we were again put to work on drills, SETS, and public service events. We upgraded to General class in 2008 so we would be able to operate HF at a served agency if needed.

When Multnomah County got a new EC in 2009, Dave asked us to help rejuvenate the group, so we returned to our home county ARES to see what we could do. Three years ago we moved from Corbett to Fairview and left the NERT team behind. Now all our volunteer time and energy is devoted to Multnomah County ARES. It has been so exciting to be a part of the growth and development of this great team of hams. We are fast becoming the best in the state thanks to the entire leadership team and all of you!

Membership News

Our newest members are George KK7FM, John KG7JKN, Bob KG7JKQ, and Fletcher WA7FPD. Look for them at the next meeting and give them a hearty welcome.

Congratulations to Eli W7ELI who has been appointed the new Net Manager for the Northwest Oregon Traffic and Training Net (NTTN). Congratulations also to Ann KF7RBV who is a new Volunteer Examiner (VE).

Training & Certification News

We will be presenting some ARRO and NCFO certificates to several members at next Thursday’s meeting. We take a break from the certification-focused training at this meeting to get a lesson on antennas used in emergency communications in our county, presented by Garrett AF7RF.

The New Member Orientation will be an overview of who we are and what we do, how we fit into the big picture of disaster response, and communication channels within the organization.

From the EC’s Desk

Hello Fellow ARES Members,

This letter is going to press the day before Walk MS. We have a record 37 ham radio operators who have volunteered their time for this event; about half are Portland NET AROs. This is the first public service event for many of these volunteers. Our primary goal is to provide a valuable communications service to the organizers of Walk MS.

The MS Society appreciates the service we provide and we appreciate the service and training opportunity. My thanks go to all the volunteers in this event.

Leadership Meeting Recap

The new Multnomah County ARES ID card has final approval from Joe Rizzi, Emergency Manager. Cards will be issued at this month’s meeting by Garrett AF7RF and background check forms and pictures will be obtained where needed.

Garrett reports that the state “Red Card” system may be operational again and he will be working with them regarding the Multnomah County data base.

Featured Member Profile: Adam KF7LJH

For me the path down the dark side started with two simultaneous events early in 2010. My grandfather passed and a car ran into my house. Hello? The ramifications of this drama were twofold: I inherited my grandfather’s HF radio and I became very interested in personal preparedness.

With that motivation, I took the technical and general tests simultaneously and joined the Portland NET program. Quickly I learned about ARES and joined this great organization and have been an active member for about three years now. I’m a real ham. I contest, chase DX, am serious about Field Day and do a lot of experimentation with digital modes like HF Digital Voice, JT65, and FM satellite work. I’ve been very active in setting up local RMS gateways at various locations around town and enjoy all the exciting features of modern APRS functionality. I enjoy learning new things, technical things, but I tend to get bored with something after I’ve figured it out. I’m often reading about the next cool thing it seems like…

In real life I’m a long time IT manager, a Portland native, and I live in a nice little house in the Alameda neighborhood. All my family is here in town or up the hill in Sandy (a mixed blessing) and I have 12 nieces and nephews, which seems insane when I say it like that. Christmas is complete chaos these days.

Membership News

Our newest members are Dan KG7AOX, Richard KF7INQ, and Matthew KD7LAI. Dan is joining the Gresham Team, Richard is joining the County ECC Team, Matthew is joining the Red Cross Team, and Steve AF7DD has moved to the Gresham Team. Welcome to all.

Remember to send me email, address, or phone number changes. Also, if you have pictures, items for sale, or anything else you want to share in the newsletter, please send it to me. You could even send in your bio for the Featured Member Profile…

From the EC’s Desk

Hello fellow ARES members,

What a great meeting last month! We had 43 turn out for the ARRO check-off session. It is really important we get this state ARES mandated training underway. Our goal is to have all active members certified by June. The March training will cover the Traffic Handling portion of the certification. I hope you will all attend this part-two session.

Please join me in thanking Multnomah County Emergency Management for their financial support. They have paid our website fees for the next three years. We are fortunate to have County EM staff that is so supportive and appreciative of our volunteer services.

Welcome to our newest members: Dan, Richard, and Mathew. I am very pleased to see our membership grow. To date we have 53 active members and 25 inactive and supporting members. Thanks to all for spreading the word and encouraging other hams to join us.

Leadership Meeting Recap

Garrett and the folks at the BOEC 911 Call Center have finalized a Life Safety Traffic Form which will be distributed at the March ARES meeting.

Multnomah County ARES ID cards will be printed March 30. These new cards will certify completion of the ICS 100, 200 and 700 classes and passage of the background check. They will bear the signature of the County Emergency Manager and will be accepted in lieu of the state red card within Multnomah County. These cards should be ready for distribution at the April ARES meeting.

Training & Certification News

Our last meeting was the best attended ever! Thank you all. We were in the annex out back at the fire station, so we were crowded. It was pretty chaotic, but we got a lot accomplished. This month will be part two of our push to get members ARRO certified.

With the large membership numbers, printing is getting to be a challenge, so I will be emailing the traffic handling training materials to you. I hope you will become familiar with the contents and bring your questions to the meeting. We will spend the majority of our training time in small groups (in the usual BIG room!) actually practicing passing traffic. See you all on March 27.

Thanks for your enthusiasm and support of this training program.