Due to the Mayhill Cafe closing for remodeling, the breakfast meeting will be as follows until further notice: 1st, 3rd and if applicable 5th Friday of the month - Western Cafe in Cloudcroft; 2nd, 4th Friday of the month - Barn Door in Mayhill.
At the September 8, 2013 club meeting, Jim Fox (KA0ZPP) gave our club a nice presentation on constructing an inexpensive emergency 2 meter antenna using 300 ohm TV twin lead and a short length of coax.
Following the presentation and discussion Jim raffled off the very antenna that he had constructed. The winner was Justin Mace (K5WAZ).
During the summer of 2013 several members of the radio club conducted a survey extending the work originally done by Jim (KA0ZPP) and Stephanie Fox (KA0ZIA) to include reception details using 5 watt handheld, 50 watt 2 meter mobile and cellular phone (Verizon). The resulting spreadsheet data and coverage map are presented here.
The breakfast meetings for 2013 will be the first and third Fridays at the Western Cafe, the second and fourth Friday at the Mayhill Cafe. If there is a fifth Friday, the breakfast will meet at the Western.
There will a Technician Class October 8-12, 2012, 7-9 PM M-F, to be followed by our normally scheduled testing on the 13th at 10 AM. All to be held at the James Canyon Volunteer Fire Station on highway 82. Interested individuals can contact Tom Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 687-2168. Click here for more info on what to bring to the exam.
Also, the Sacramento Mountains Radio Club is now an ARRL Field-stocked VE Testing Station. Congratulations to our Testing Coordinator, Tom Smith, for all his hard work in making this happen!
As promised, we have a new page to contain forms, documents, and technical materials. A link to the page is located in the right-hand column of the club website.
Field Day 2012 was a huge success for the club, the members who participated, and for the general public. Link here for pictures and the story.
Left-to-right: ARRL-NM Section SM (Bill Kauffman - W5YEJ), Lincoln County Emergency Coordinator (JP Kenmore - K5FBK), and SEC (Mike Scales - K5SCA)
In New Mexico, the ARRL sponsored ARES/RACES/EmComm approach can be considered to be as simple as aiding local county, community, or other agencies with emergency communications assistance in the case of either local or national emergencies. There is no need for an ARES or Emergency Communications group to have a specific "served agency" specified, but rather that we become individually (or as a club function, or as a group of members within the club) knowledgeable in emergency communications, and offer our knowledge and expertise in support of any emergencies that might arise, and require trained emergency communicators.
Thus far, we, the SMRC, have found it difficult to connect with a local "served agency" that we could work with to define how we could assist as emergency communicators during emergency situations. One approach that was raised, during the presentation, was that Paul Quairoli (Otero County Emergency Services Coordinator) was interested in working with us to develop a working relationship. Bill Hanson (KI5J), President, plans to contact Paul, in the next few weeks, and inquire how he foresees our club members becoming trained to best be prepared to serve in a support function for his organization. However, until that conversation takes place, there are some FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) training courses that should be considered as basic individual training requirements to be able to successfully serve in an emergency communications function.
The most basic ones are IS-100 and IS-200, which deal with Incident Command System structure, i.e., how Incident Command functions are structured in emergency situations where we might be called on to assist. The other courses include sequentially more detail of emergency situations are managed, and how we, as a trained communications group, might fit in.
These courses are available as free, on-line computer based training, through FEMA. Anyone interested can access the training. And if you desire certifications for the courses, you can register to complete a final examination and receive a certificate indicating successful completion. These certifications can be helpful in showing that you have attained progressively increasing knowledge and expertise, and may be helpful in showing that you are qualified to assist when emergency communications assistance may be required.
Here are the web site locations where you can register for, and take the classes, and take the final examinations, leading to the certification process for each course:
It was mentioned during the club meeting presentation, that these might be more appropriate material than the ARRL Emergency Communication courses, for a couple of reasons: 1) that the FEMA courses are free, and the ARRL courses cost you money; and 2) the FEMA courses are more widely recognized by national, state, and county emergency personnel.
The bottom line for emergency communicators, as presented by the ARRL-NM leadership, is that while accurate message handling is a must, there is not necessarily a need for the very strict ARRL National Traffic System (NTS) message forms. In fact, an 8 1/2 x 11-inch ruled tablet will work just fine ... all that is really required is that the communicator passes the exact information that was requested. If you can capture the needed information accurately, and pass that information on to another party, that is all that is really required for successful "communications".
New Mexico celebrates its 100th anniversary of statehood in 2012, and this year's New Mexico Centennial QSO Party will take place Saturday, April 14 from 8:00am MDT until 8:00pm MDT. Go to NM QSO Party website for more info.
The March 11 meeting program on New Mexico ARES/RACES will be presented by by Bill Kauffman W5YEJ (ARRL New Mexico Section Manager) and Mike Scales K5SCA (ARRL New Mexico Section Emergency Coordinator).
The ARRL has released a new recommended practices for 60 meters. You can click on the link above to download the PDF copied from the ARRL website.
The raffle quilt was presented to Brian Edwards at the February 24th breakfast meeting. From left to right is Bill Hanson, Linda Shiplett, Brian Edwards, Mary Jo Kane, and Joan Nussbaum. Congratulations Brian! For those of you who did not win, I hear the ladies are working on another quilt.
and ARRL West Texas Section Convention. March 17th, 2012, Midland Lions Club, 200 Plaza Ave., Midland, Texas. Click on the link above for all the exciting info.
You can download a PDF of the 2012 breakfast and meeting schedule here. The dates of the April and May meetings have been changed due to Easter and Mother's Day.
Brian Edwards W5KFT. Pictured is the ham shack quilt that was up for raffle. If you didn't win, there is still a chance at another. The club members who created this beauty have already started on the next version. Stay tuned.
A few years ago, the James Canyon Volunteer Fire Department experienced several large wildfires like the Penasco fire and the Walker fire at a time when the Otero County Fire Radio communications system was in poor repair. The repeaters were old, some antennas were found broken off, feed lines and antennas were 20-25 years old, the microwave link to the Sheriff's Office worked on occasion. In short, the system was unreliable and of poor quality. As a result, many times the fire departments on the mountain found themselves in locations where they could communicate with no one outside the immediate area. Instant communications with persons outside the immediate fire fighting area is essential for crew safety. Not obtaining weather and fire behavior information places firefighters in dangerous situations.
Howard Shiplett KD5BZF and Reg Duncan W5UWY contacted the chief of the James Canyon Volunteer Fire Department and suggested a solution. Since the county had no funds to completely re-vamp the current system, why not hold amateur license exams and classes for the volunteers, install the much cheaper two-way ham radios in the fire trucks, install repeaters in strategic locations around the forest and thereby provide a reliable backup emergency communications system that could be used by the departments from locations where the county system did not serve or when it did not work properly. The amateur system could also be used for passing basic health and welfare traffic.
Through the generous donations and advice from Howard Shiplett and the encouragement and teaching skills of Reg Duncan, this active club was formed, four linked repeaters have been installed, firefighters and others have become licensed, and the fire department vehicles are all equipped with transceivers.
The system has been used for emergency and health and welfare traffic a number of times. It is comforting to the volunteer firefighters to know that in the event of a county communications failure, the ham radio system is up and waiting to be of assistance.
For the reasons stated above, the Sacramento Mountain Radio Club presented this award to Howard Shiplett at the November 2011 meeting: