Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

Winter Field Day

What a great success the day was! We had sixteen ARES members, six very enthusiastic visitors, and one adorable Golden Retriever puppy named Cora.

We deployed the OCF dipole high in the trees (nice job, Ralph!) and were making contacts in Alaska, Hawaii, California, Georgia, South Carolina, Michigan, and all places in-between.

One of my favorite highlights was Bob Fischer who made his first HF contact and was literally jumping for joy and had to step away from the radio to still his racing heart! The excitement on his face is a priceless memory.

Field Day 2019

Join Multnomah County ARES on the waterfront at Willamette Park in Portland for Field Day this year! The event will run for 24 hours, from 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 22 until 11:00 AM on Sunday, June 23.

What is Field Day?

Field Day is ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

From the ARRL’s Field Day web page (www.arrl.org/field-day)

For licensed radio operators, we will have two HF stations set up for the duration of the event. We will also be running a Get On The Air (GOTA) station on Saturday until 9:00 PM so folks who don’t have an amateur radio license can give the radio a try with help from a mentor.

Location & Directions

Our Field Day site is at Willamette Park, 6500 SW Macadam Ave, in Portland. We will be operating from the covered “Picnic A” area near the south end of the park. The red location pin on the Google map below is directly over the picnic shelter (zooming in and turning on the aerial view will help orient you). There is also a park map available here.

If you’re driving, find your best route to SW Macadam Ave, then head east onto SW Nebraska St, and then turn right (south) onto SW Beaver Ave / SW Idaho St. Continue past the large parking lot. Picnic A is located just northwest of the small parking lot near the end of the road. Parking fee information can be found on the Portland Parks & Recreation website.

If you’re taking Trimet, the #35 Macadam/Greeley bus is probably the best option. Get off at SW Macadam & Nevada (stop ID 3620 if southbound or 3622 if northbound), then head east on SW Nevada St. Where the street turns right, you’ll find a footpath that will lead you into the park. At the end of the path, turn right onto the road and continue toward the parking lot. The picnic shelter should be visible on your left.


January VHF Contest

The January VHF Contest starts at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 19. Even a few minutes of participation will help anyone practice phonetics, become familiar with their radio, what frequencies to use, exchanges, antennas, etc. There will be LOTS of simplex activity on 2m FM (146.520, .540, .560, and .580) and some on 70cm (446.000). Even simple antennas and an HT from the kitchen table will make some contacts – higher elevations will be even better – so have some fun with it! The exchange is Grid Square with the Portland Metro Area being in CN85.

There will also be even MORE activity on SSB on 50.125, 144.200, and 432.100 MHZ if you are able.

Winter Field Day

Multnomah ARES has decided to participate in Winter Field Day this year and would love to have you join us.

Winter Field Day is similar to the big ARRL Field Day in June, but a little smaller and definitely much colder – a perfect opportunity to not only get some on-air operating experience, but to also try out your go-kit and see how ready you really are to operate in less than ideal conditions.

Winter Field Day takes place on January 26 & 27, however we will only be operating on Saturday, January 26, from 09:00 until around 17:00, depending on how many people we have on site. We will be located at the picnic shelter at the top of Scouters Mountain in Happy Valley – SE Boy Scout Lodge Rd & Southeast 147th Ave, Happy Valley, OR 97086

While this is the coldest part of the year, this will definitely be a fun event, and don’t worry, we will have tents, heaters, warm drinks, and hot chili on hand to warm you up.

Please let us know if you plan on attending, we hope to see you there!


MCARES Campout Last Call

Are you new to operating on the HF bands? Thinking about upgrading to a General class license so you can work HF? Don’t care about HF but want to hang out and get to know your fellow ARES members and have a great time? The HF Campout is approaching soon, and we still have space for a few more folks!

Date: September 14-16
Location: Pine Point Campground, on the shores of Timothy Lake in the Mount Hood National Forest
Cost: $20 to cover the campground and shared supper

Come join us for our annual HF Campout, September 14-16, in the beautiful Mount Hood National Forest. We have reserved a nice group campsite for everyone and still have room for a few more folks.

We will bring the trailer as well as set up a couple of other HF Stations, and we encourage everyone to bring their own portable HF setups.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “But Robert, Timothy Lake is down in a valley. HF must not work down there very well”. Have no worries! I spent Field Day camped out on Timothy Lake a couple of years ago, and we had no problems making contacts all over the United States.

To sign up for the campout, email me at RGAnglin [at] gmail [dot] com

Vista House/Rooster Rock Event

Echo team helped Vista House at Crown Point celebrate its 100 year anniversary by holding a public outreach and training event on July 14. We had an outreach table set up in Vista House with flyers and the orange go-kit, and team members to answer questions and invite folks to tour the MCARES trailer which was in full operation in the parking lot.

The yellow digital kit was set up with another public outreach table under a tree by the river at Rooster Rock State Park just down the hill.

Everyone got a chance to try some image transfer with MMSSTV and to work gateway and peer-to-peer Winlink, so it was a great training exercise as well.

Thanks to Deb KK7DEB for bringing the trailer and handling the training there and to John KI7LYP and Patti KB7GMM for handling the Rooster Rock PR and training. Appreciation also goes to Tom KE7JTM and Ken KI7RUN for helping to coordinate with Vista House and Oregon State Parks. And thanks to all the participating Echo team members who put in a total of 42 volunteer hours on a very hot Saturday!

MCARES Campout

Our annual campout is coming up on the weekend of September 14-16. This is the highlight of the year and a reward for all our hard work through the busy spring and summer. Come for the whole weekend or just for the day on Saturday. If you like to camp, operate HF, or just relax with friends, this is the place to be. The trailer will be there and most likely another HF station or two. You may even earn your HF Operator certificate.

We will be in the group site at the Pine Point Campground on the shores of Timothy Lake. The site allows tents and RVs (no hookups) and has drinking water and vault toilets. The campground is easily accessible by car. To get there, travel east on Highway 26 for approximately 40 miles past the city of Sandy to Skyline Road/Road 42. Turn right on Skyline Road and continue south for about 9 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 57 and travel west for 2 miles, then turn right again at the Pine Point Campground entrance sign.

The cost is $20 per person to cover the campsite fee. Campers are expected to provide for their own breakfast and lunch. Dinner Friday and Saturday are group potluck events. Email Robert at RGAnglin [at] gmail [dot] com for reservations.

News from Around the County

Come one, come all to Field Day! For those of you unfamiliar with Field Day, from the ARRL:

Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio. This outing is the largest event for radio groups interested in field operations.

This will be the first year that Multnomah County ARES will be operating independently for this event. It’s a big deal for us, as it is pretty rare that we operate and perform outreach over an entire weekend.

Drop by Willamette Park at SW Macadam & SW Nebraska Street on Saturday June 23 from 11:00 AM until Sunday June 24 at 11:00 AM and experience the fun! The ARES trailer will be there with a GOTA (get on the air) station so you can give HF a try with an experienced control operator, no matter what your license class. You can visit two other on site field stations to see what HF modes they are operating and visit the outreach tent to see what they are up to. We also have the picnic shelter reserved so you can sit and enjoy a picnic and visit with other members. If you would like to join the potluck dinner, check your email for the signup sheet that was sent on May 31. We hope to see you there!

The MCARES raffle is back this year. Come to the June ARES meeting to see what we have for you. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds benefit our July “go-kit show and tell” BBQ and help purchase propane for the thirsty ARES trailer generators.

The custom briefcases and clipboards purchased for us by Multnomah County Emergency Management have arrived! We will be distributing them to our ARRO certified members at the June ARES meeting on June 28. If you are a new member and have not yet completed your training, we will save yours for you!

MultCoARES Field Day

For those unfamiliar with Field Day, the ARRL explains:

Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

This outing is the largest event for radio groups interested in field operations. This will be the first year that Multnomah ARES will be operating independently for this event. It’s a big deal for us, as it is pretty rare that we operate and perform outreach over an entire weekend. I will attempt to outline the broad plan here, especially for those who have not operated during Field Day before.

Multnomah ARES has extended an invitation to the Portland NET AROs to operate with us for this event. We will be operating from Saturday Morning on June 23 until Sunday Morning, June 24.  We will need to loft the antennas and set up the stations before the operating commences. I plan on performing these actions on Saturday; no pre-staging on Friday will occur.

We will be operating from the picnic shelter at Willamette Park (off Macadam Ave). Our operating location was chosen for the large amount of foot traffic – the main goal of Field Day is outreach! I have tested Willamette Park for RF noise and skywave propagation (sufficient topographic clearance for takeoff angles). I was able to get contacts in Texas, Arizona, the East Coast, and Japan from this site, so I’m sure that our radio operations will be successful.

We will be operating two stations for points, a GOTA station, and potentially a VHF station during the event. Setup will be interesting, and require some forethought. We are not allowed to sink stakes in this location, the area is somewhat cramped for large antennas, and the parking near the picnic shelter is metered and limited. That said, there is permanent plumbing, shore power, tons of passers-by and a beautiful view of the river. We’ll work through the difficulties and leverage the positives of the park.

We will have a lot of work to do to make this event a success, but we have a ton of awesome and motivated folks in our radio unit. The leadership team will be reaching out for assistance, but many hands will make light work. Stay tuned for updates, and I hope to see everyone on June 23!

MCARES Campout

Although I feel most at home in the deserts of the American Southwest, I feel very blessed to be living in one of the most beautiful places in the US. The outdoor opportunities here are endless, and the sights incredible. Because my home is so flat and dusty, I try to spend as much time exploring the mountains and other various landscapes as much as possible. 

Since we built our awesome communications trailer four years ago, the first idea that popped into my head was, “We HAVE to take this thing camping!” And so we created our annual HF Campout. The purpose was three-fold: to exercise the trailer for an extended period of time away from the comforts of civilization; to provide HF training and experience; and as a relaxing team building event. To have a top performing, cohesive team, sometimes you just need to have fun without the pressures of a structured drill.  

This year, we have found a great group campsite on the shores of Timothy Lake called Pine Point. The campsite allows up to 36 people and should provide for a very relaxing and fun adventure for the team. Although Timothy Lake is nestled in a valley, I have worked HF from this location during Field Day and had no problem reaching stations all over the world. 

We will be arriving Friday Sept 14 and staying through Sunday the 16th, so we should be avoiding most of the Summer crowd. And although we call it the “HF Campout,” you don’t have to have any interest in working HF; just come out and have fun. If you would like to join us, please RSVP ASAP by emailing me at RGAnglin [at] Gmail [dot] com. We like to get a headcount as early as possible so that we can plan meals and whatnot. Typically everyone is on their own for breakfast and lunch, but we do group dinners at night. The cost this year is $20/person to help cover the cost of the campground and food. We look forward to seeing you there!