Seeking Donations For Our Newest Communications Van, Comm III

Donation Display at Twin County Credit Union

Our newest communications van, now designated “Comm III”, needs plenty of supplies before it will be available to serve our first responders and our community.  Everything from wood and paint for the floors and walls to electrical supplies and radios must be purchased and installed.  It will be a big job taking around 1,000 volunteer hours to complete.  The ARES team priced out all the supplies that went into our current communications van and found it totaled $6,350.00.  While some of these supplies will undoubtedly be provided by some of our team members,  most will need to be purchased.

Centralia ARES does not receive funding from its served agencies.  We, therefore, depend heavily on donations from as many sources as we can locate.  Being a 501(c)3 group helps but contacting and asking for donations from many, many businesses and organizations takes a lot of time and effort.

Nevertheless, our communications vans would not be possible without these generous donations. Today, the team displayed our current communications van at Twin County Credit Union in Centralia.  We met and talked with Branch Manager Jon Brein and spent a little over an hour letting bank customers view and walk through the van.  Jon will be working to set up some advertising  and another display date allowing the team another opportunity to meet the public and explain what we do and why we are needed in the community.

The generosity and support from the community and the region has been and will continue to be vitally important in support of our mission.  To all who donate to our cause, we say “Thank You!”

We Made History Today!

Centralia ARES Comm Vans

Today’s Solar Eclipse Special Event Station & QSO Party was a wonderful opportunity to work together as a team and make history today!  Under a cloudless, beautiful blue sky, the team set up our equipment in the Mellen Street Park and Ride, sharing the area with a couple of dedicated eclipse fans from Vancouver, BC with two great telescopes which made the day even more special.  It took just over 45 minutes to set up the communication vans, antennas and generator but we were ready for the first radio contact just before 8 am.

The team came prepared with Eclipse Cookies, Moon Pies, Solar Shots (coffee) and Mars Water.  Nothing but the best for this crew.  After all, it was a “special event”.  We managed to give away all but one of our solar eclipse viewing glasses and even passed out some goodies donated by the police department.

John, AD6KT, working the BawFaw Repeater

Attendance grew through the day topping out at 31 team members and visitors on site.  The team managed a total of 97 radio contacts by the time we closed the event at 1 pm:  five HF contacts, 30 contacts on the K7CEM repeater and 62 on the BawFaw repeater.  We’ll be working during the next week to fill out our two different, one of a kind, special event QSL cards.

Everyone took time to enjoy the solar eclipse – 94% of totality locally – and grab a few team photos.  This crew of dedicated amateur radio professionals can be proud of their work.

After all, We Made History Today!

Working in style wearing our Solar Eclipse Glasses

Let’s Make History Together!

Centralia ARES’ Solar Eclipse QSO Party is only days away.  We’re about to make history together!  Our special event begins at 7 am where we will meet at the Mellen Street park and ride across from the police and fire training center.  We’ll have Comm II and our newest (still empty) comm van on site.  From 7 am – 8 am, we’ll place the vehicles, set up the generator, radios and antennas so we can go on the air at 8 am.  From 8 am – 1 pm, we’ll make as many radio contacts as possible on the HF bands as well as on the K7CEM and BawFaw Repeaters.  We will, of course, take some time out to watch the eclipse too.

One VHF radio and the HF radio will be working from inside Comm II.  The other VHF radio (on the alternate repeater) will be on the table outside the vans.  While we could work all three radios from within the van, noise and space for logging make that difficult, so we’ll spread out a little.  If you’re available, we could use extra hands – especially from 7 am-8 am to help set up the larger dipole antenna and other gear.

To keep your tummy from grumbling, we’ll have Eclipse Cookies, Moon Pies, Solar Shots (coffee) and Mars Water on hand.  We have 20 pair of NASA approved solar eclipse glasses that will be given away on a first come, first serve basis (special preference may be given to those willing to do a little set up work)

We’ll be testing out Paul’s new Icom IC-7300 HF radio in the van.  Those contacting us on the HF frequencies will give a signal report and their Maidenhead Grid number. Contacts on the repeaters will be asked for their call sign and name.  We have two special QSL cards.  A contact on the K7CEM repeater gets one of the cards while a contact on the BawFaw repeater gets the other card.  Anyone  contacting us on BOTH repeaters will get both cards.  We also have a special Solar Eclipse QSO Party certificate for those working the event site.

As always, those attending the event site should dress for the weather.  Weather estimates at this time show about 84 degrees under partly cloudy skies so dress accordingly.  Feel free to bring a chair for additional conform.

The Solar Eclipse QSO Party and special event station will be our only meeting Monday  since this activity will keep us occupied for six or seven hours.

So, come on, call in sick on Monday and come make history with us at the Centralia ARES Solar Eclipse Special Event Station.  The chances are this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch a solar eclipse, play radio and eat Moon Pies!


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