Amid rain, quarter sized hail and tornado warnings across the area, the intrepid Centralia ARES team met last evening at the Riverside Fire Authority’s station #2 for our regular training session. Unfortunately, our guest speaker, Scott, couldn’t make the meeting but we will schedule him, hopefully, for our next training session. The net check-in proved difficult when the base radio at the fire station quit receiving. Everyone could hear net control but net control couldn’t hear anyone. That’s the way the whole day has been.
We did have a great time however. We were able to show off the new Icom IC-7300 HF radio the Centralia Police Department purchased for the team. Ultimately, there will be three of these radios coming our way – one for the EOC and one for each of our communication vans. This, and digital capability currently undergoing some changes, will complete our list of comms equipment allowing us complete VHF, UHF, HF, Law and Fire, digital and CB systems.
Team member Bill Knepper, with his new call sign N7GWK, gave a nice presentation on his HF and VHF antenna installation project at his home. This was the first time many of us had seen the Hex beam antenna system up close. Bill has the tower, antenna, and coax all set up and working well. It was fun to see the system come together, complete with his unique mid-tower hinge –
Team member John Campeau, AD6KT, completed his ARRL Emergency Communications Course and had high praise for this nine week training system. John felt the course covered many, many areas he was unfamiliar with and was full of tips and techniques. The course, costing $50 is overseen by an ARRL on-line mentor, which John greatly appreciated. The final part is a 35 question multiple choice test which you must pass with a score of 80% or better. Overall, John said he learned many things from this valuable course and would highly recommend it to others.
Chuck Verdon, W5KAV, updated the team on the progress of our team digital system work. More to come on that at our next meeting on October 2nd.
As a reminder, our regular meeting location at the downtown Emergency Operations Center is being used for a conversational Spanish class through November so we will be training at either the Riverside Fire Authority’s station #2 training room, 1818 Harrison Avenue or the Police & Fire training facility, 1401 Mellen Street. Check your emails or the calendar for updates.