Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

Training & Certification News

The Training Calendar for 2014 has been posted on the website. Thanks to all who attended the December meeting for your input.

Five members of the leadership team have already received their ARRO (ARES/RACES Radio Operator) and NCFO (Net Control and Field Operator) certificates. More certificates will be awarded at the January meeting. Team leaders are or will soon be working with their teams to get their members ARRO certified. Those who wish may also work on their NCFO certificates.

Served Agency Committee and Leadership Meetings Recap

Most of the leadership meeting was focused on the upcoming drill. Robert WX5TEX was promoted from Deputy AEC to AEC. Congratulations, Robert!

Garrett AF7RF reported at the SAC meeting that the Oregon Food Bank radio equipment has been installed and tested, and is fully functional. Nice work, Garrett. Kudos to Dean Alby for making this happen. Our OFB Team will be operating there for the January 25 drill.

Kent Powloski N7KPN, of Portland Fire & Rescue, is working on a new regional frequency template.

Training & Certification News

Team leaders have been trained to evaluate their team members and check off tasks. Most of the team leaders have finished their ARRO (ARES/RACES Radio Operator) qualifications. Our training plan has been written in its official incarnation and is under final review. Once the 2014 training schedule has been determined, it will be submitted to Lisa Clarke, the Oregon Section AEC-Training.

Several members have been honing their traffic handling skills on the NTTN (Northwest Traffic and Training Net) and on our weekly net. It’s amazing how quickly they learn! We are trying to assure that at least one piece of traffic gets sent every week on the ARES net. Be ready; the next one might be for you!

Many Thanks to Sonny KF7SUH for a great “Alternate Power Sources” training at the November meeting. It was both entertaining and informative.

Membership News

The teams have been firmed up and all active and provisional members are now assigned to a team. Those who are committed to serve ARES are on served agency teams. Those with other commitments, such as NET teams, or those whose commitment is still undeclared but who still want to train and drill with us, are assigned to a roving team. The list has been emailed to all members. Be sure to look it over. If you are not where you think you should be, please contact Deb at dprovo [at] yahoo [dot] com.

From the EC’s Desk

It has been a very busy and productive year for our ARES group. My thanks to all of you for being involved and for participating in the various SETs, drills, and special events. I feel as a whole we are much more organized and prepared.

It was great to see our Multnomah County ECC team picture published in the January edition of QST magazine – see page 79, if you missed the announcement last week.

Multnomah County Emergency Management has allocated some funds to us. We are working on a list of needs which include website fees, headphones for all of our served agencies, and some equipment for a portable net control go kit. We are fortunate to have the support of an awesome Emergency Management team. Our thanks to Joe Rizzi, Stevie Bullock and Tina Birch.

I hope you will try to attend the December 19 meeting. We really do need and appreciate your input on setting up the training schedule for 2014. The Leadership team wishes to thank you all for a great year by bringing desserts and snacks to the December meeting, so be sure to save some room.

Served Agency Committee and Leadership Meetings Recap

There is some grant money available to us from the county and a prioritized wish list has been compiled.

Nate is working with the county and state personnel to streamline the Red Card process and find missing cards.

PBEM (Portland Bureau of Emergency Management) has published their NET guidelines, which had to be completed before the county frequency template could be finalized. Helen KE7SCS has been working on this.

Helen is also acting as liaison to the local hospitals regarding their amateur radio emergency communications.

We are working with PBEM to test the radio equipment in their new building and get their Winlink system up and running.

AUXCOM Training

Helen KE7SCS and I represented MCARES at the State AUXCOM training in Salem on December 7 and 8. The course was presented by two fellow hams from the Department of Homeland Security and most Oregon counties had ARES representatives in attendance. The two 10-hour days were grueling but we learned a lot. The main goal was to educate the volunteers on how to work closely with the public safety community so that communications between the two will be interoperable. We learned how to fill out a lot of ICS forms and had a tour of the state OEM facility.

It was also a great opportunity to network with ARES folks from other counties and the Oregon Section leaders. They are taking notice of the good things happening in Multnomah County ARES.

Membership News

Congratulations to Ann KF7RBV and Paul N7NTW for completing ARRL EC-001 class. Ann reports that she learned a lot and the course was very worthwhile. We have asked Ann to share some of what she learned at a future meeting.

ARO Certification Program

The ARRO and Net Control Certification check-off lists have been posted. We are still fine-tuning our teams. All members who have stated on their membership forms that their first service priority in a disaster is ARES are on served agency teams. All members with other first priorities, (NET, workplace or other agency), will be assigned a new team that we are forming. All team leaders will be ARRO certified and trained in helping their team members to get certified.

From the EC’s Desk

Thanks to the 30+ members who participated in Multnomah County for the Fall Oregon Section SET. We had a great turn out, including over 10 stations on our VHF voice net. We also had Winlink connections on VHF and HF, as well as some HF voice stations participating on the section net. Thanks to all of our served agency partners who worked on Saturday to support this radio exercise.

Bruce N4PDX has informed me that he needs to step down as West Multnomah County AEC. I really want to thank him for all of his efforts as we put together the team concept. His efforts have been invaluable! He will continue in his role as PIO and Webmaster. Adam KF7LJH has agreed to take on the AEC position. I have full confidence in his ability.

The October Drill from Home, in which we tested the practicality of operating simplex on the repeater output frequency, if the repeater goes down, went very well. This is now part of our Standard Operating Procedure.

The new weekly NET script has been tested and has been well received. With a few minor adjustments, it is now officially adopted. You can get a copy from our website.

I hope to see you all at the November monthly meeting on the 21st.