Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

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!

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!

Outreach Update

2017 has already been a busy time for MCARES outreach. Here’s a quick look at what’s been happening.

Fix-It Fair
On January 28, Adam KF7LJH and I staffed a Fix-It Fair event at George Middle School. We estimate that several hundred people were in attendance!

One of the primary reasons for attending these types of events is to recruit new ARES members. We had the good fortune to be set up right next to our partners from Portland NET. There was a steady stream of folks interested in learning what we do to support Multnomah County. Conversations with a number of attendees may well lead to some new members.

We introduced two new twists to this event. Adam demonstrated a digital go-kit, which proved to be a big draw to our display. We also brought along a continuous loop slide presentation, featuring many of you at past MCARES events. Our slide presentation needs a little more work, but it provided a great source of activity at our table.

There were over 60 different organizations represented at this Fix-It Fair. Learn more about Fix-It Fairs!

PacTrust Presentation
On February 16, Joe WA7FWC, Eli W7ELI, and I made a presentation to about 35 employees of PacTrust. PacTrust is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest real estate developers and investment property owners. We were invited to talk about the MCARES organization and how we support the emergency communications infrastructure. Joe also demonstrated both image transfer and Winlink messaging.

Looking Ahead
Our next scheduled outreach event will be on Saturday, February 25. Rolf KI4HOP, Bob N6ZKL, and I will provide a MCARES presence at the Overlook Sustainability Summit. The theme of this event is Putting Preparedness into Action. The event will run from 9:45 AM to 2:00 PM at Beach Elementary School Auditorium at 1710 N Humboldt Street in Portland. If you have some free time that day, stop by and say hello.

If you are interested in helping out at an outreach event, contact Steve W7SRH at hallstr [at] hotmail [dot] com and get on the Outreach Roster. No presentation expertise is required; just come along to learn and share your own experiences with MCARES.

Multnomah County ARES Supports Portland Public Schools

Portland Public Schools (PPS) is in the process of forming a ham radio club. Molly Emmons, the emergency preparedness manager for PPS, has requested that MCARES provide consultation to the group as they put their new organization together. Initially, the membership will be made up of faculty and staff. Once things are up and running, students will be encouraged to participate. This may lead to incorporating ham technology into the curriculum at some point in the future.

It is envisioned that one of the major benefits of forming this club will be to have AROs located in school facilities all across the district. This could have a huge impact on communication connectivity during times of extreme emergency.

Steve Konrad AF7DD and Steve Hall W7SRH made a presentation to 35 faculty of the PPS on April 27 at the club’s initial organizational meeting. Attendees were introduced to ARES involvement in emergency communications and community service activities. Steve Konrad is helping Molly coordinate a study process for those interested in becoming licensed which will culminate in a test session scheduled for June 11.

PPS is also partnering with Multnomah County government and Portland Bureau of Emergency Management regarding other preparedness efforts.

PPS is a Pre K-12 district with an enrollment of approximately 48,500 students and 3,000 teachers. About 85 schools and 50 special needs sites are maintained within the district.

Outreach News

On Thursday April 7, Deb KK7DEB, Robert W5TEX, and Steve W7SRH set up shop at Warner Pacific College as part of an outreach effort. We partnered with PBEM NET. We were invited by a student group as part of a class project which focused on preparedness. Some interest was also expressed on the part of the College to set up a basic VHF communication station. We operated VHF, D-Star via DVAP, and Winlink. While this was not a heavily attended event, there were several very interested students and it was an opportunity to discuss future comms plans with campus security. Thanks to Julie W7OW at Lewis and Clark College for making contact with our station during the event.

We are in talks with Jeremy at PBEM NET about partnering on a recruiting effort to all hams in Multnomah County. PBEM has agreed in principle to provide funds for a post-card mailing inviting those interested to learn more about the NET program and Multnomah County ARES. There are about 2,500 licensed HAMS in the County.

Outreach opportunities: You received an email from me recently about forming an Outreach Team. Thanks to those who have responded. If you are interested in joining this team, send me an email at hallstr [at] hotmail [dot] com.