- Pulled Pork w/ Memphis sauce
- Potato salad/Macaroni salad
- Various snacks
- McDondald’s Run?
On June 3, Greg, KM4CCG briefed us on how we are going to execute Field Day 2021 (The PDF is available. Please drop David an email if you would like access to the WebEx).
Here are the key points:
This is a fun event. Our purpose is three fold:
We are planning to operate under the “F” flag and will be working in cooperation with our partners in Emergency Management. We hope to have a straw man menu posted on Monday, but if you have food suggestions, or dietary restrictions, please drop a note to David as well.
Thanks to Greg, Marc, and the team for leading this effort this year.
We look forward to seeing you at Field Day 2021!
I was appointed the Emergency Coordinator of the Prince William County ARES® in April of 2001.
In April of 2001, we still had the Twin Towers in New York. Bush II was President by Supreme Court decision (who can forget the dangling chad?), and ARES® as an organization was still doing fun runs and other charity walks because cell phone coverage was spotty at best. I took over from Erv (and I cannot even remember his last name or call sign – anyone, anyone?). Steve Frick, N4OGR (SK), was the assistant, and we were working through the Great Unpleasantness which we would eventually come out the other side, mostly unscathed.
And then, September 11 happened.
Suddenly Amateur Radio and ARES® were a thing. I spent the day in the driveway of my house, with two HTs in my hand and my daughter rolling a jiggle ball back and forth on the lawn. I did not do much because I did not even know where the EOC was, much less what we needed to do there. I would later spend the week coordinating Amateurs heading to help at the Pentagon, myself included. Shortly after that, the head of the communications unit, Captain Fred Miller, called me into a meeting. He had only one question – would I enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Prince William County. Of course, I said yes. We spend a couple of weeks going back and forth on the essential items, but the MOU was signed. The cadre evolved to become PWCARES. We stood up a website, an email list (reflector) and started recruiting. I appointed my Assistants appropriately. Two from Woodbridge, two from OVH, and two at large. And then work began.
We have participated in County exercises, City deployments, Hospital exercises, emergencies (floods and hurricanes), supported the Marine Corps Marathon Office events, 24-hour runs, bike races, and numerous walks.
In 2011, at the request of Manassas City, we mobilized seventy-seven amateurs from the National Capital Area over five days to support the city at five sites from sun up to sundown, supporting the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). We fed them, looked after their dogs (Emma loved it), and made sure that the messages got through despite incredible summer heat and rotten sandwiches (that the Red Cross provided – we served brisket that day). Volunteer Prince William wanted to crash the party. See our challenge coin page for more details.
We have figured out how to get a signal out of a school, set up multiple Field Day events, and established ourselves as the training ground for Amateurs in Northern Virginia. We have practice message sending on voice, digital, HF, VHF, eieio. We have adopted Incident Command System forms, processes, and procedures. Many of us have more FEMA certifications than active FEMA employees.
And we continue to grow.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife, Dianne, KI4FVV, and Hurricane Emma for their support. I would also like to say thank you to my Assistants, who have supported me or told me to sit down. A special thank you to Keith, KM4AA, who explicitly told me to go to bed (after 36 hours of operation during Hurricane/TS Isabel), and Trisha, KI4PCM. She noticed that hypothermia had set in during the inaugural 24-hour run.
My thanks to the PWCARES cadre that has followed my lead over the last twenty years challenged my assumptions and shown how an ARES® cadre can operate. While I do not expect to do this job for another twenty years, I look forward to at least the next five. Unless someone wants to step up and take over for me. Anyone? Anyone?
To define the relationship between the Prince William County Office of Emergency Services (OES), Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).
To establish a framework of cooperation and a close working relationship with volunteer licensed amateur radio operators organized under the authority of the ARRL ARES program and the Prince William County of Emergency Services (OES).
On Saturday, March 20, 2021, Andy, KJ4MTP; Tom, W4PIO; John, KK4TCE; Scott Larimer, KN4RPA; Rob, KJ4LWN; Peter, KD4QNA; Greg, KM4CCG; David, KG4GIY; and Marc, N1BED, deployed to the wilds of MCB Quantico to support the Crossroads 17.75 run. Two waves of 200 odd runners attacked the hills on a lovely Saturday morning and hated every minute of it, so the MCMO considers it a complete success.
My thanks to the team and for their inputs.
David’s ICS 214
Marc’s ICS 214
This is an experiment. Thanks for your help.
First, a moment of silence for the passing of Steve Frick/N4OGR who passed because of COVID at the beginning of this year.
By now, we all know there is a couple of vaccines available for COVID-19. The efficacy should be good enough, but full dosing will not be complete until middle to late summer for those that want it and can get it. Virginia has moved up to group 1B dosing as of Monday, January 11, 2021. There are still questions about reinfection, the effect of the vaccine on the variants (two that we know of so far (B.1.1.7 and B.1.351) (CDC). Regardless, COVID protocols will remain in effect for the foreseeable future and possibly into 2022. This means masks at all events, six-foot separations, and no exceptions.
COVID heavily impacted the events in 2020 as organizers scrambled to figure out how to hold them safely, if they were held at all. Even training events were curtailed or canceled outright.
As in prior years, the bulk of our events in 2020 were with the Marine Corps Marathon Program Office. Unlike last year, we only participated in two events – the August round-up of runs and the December Frozen Chosin. My thanks to those who came out and supported those events.
We had two events with our friends at Willing Warrior. While not technically ARES events, a large number of us did support them. Andy, KM4JTP organized a lovely day in the rain to help them celebrate their fifth year at the compound with a Corvette Show and celebration (OK, it really only rained from 2 PM on, but it did rain hard enough to soak everyone through to the skin), and the Warrior Bike Ride in September, which featured over 250 riders on three courses. Thanks to all those who supported those events.
Events in 2021 are in flux and will depend on several things. Many standing events have already been canceled or made virtual.
As of January, the Marathon Program Office offers its slate of events as virtual events this year. The 17.75 Crossroads run will be held and will not be in the Park, but will be on base. They will announce other runs as they get closer and the details firm up.
Willing Warriors is planning their bike ride for Saturday, September 11 this year. We will release details once we get them.
2021 ARRL Field Day is June 26-27. Greg, KM4CCG has lead our efforts in the last couple of years. We will update the cadre on plans as we get closer to Field Day.
Have you looked at the action plan lately? Please review Section 5 and 6, at least.
I will be creating a new section about behavior while on station. I am proud that you have all treated each other professionally and acted professionally. However, to prevent future issues and make sure everyone is on the same page, I will add it.
The current badge will last through the end of 2021. At this point, the badge printer is not compatible with Windows 10, and I lost all the pictures when the database crashed anyway. We will need to update the pictures once we can be in the same zip code. And once I get a new badge printer.
Training requirements for 2021 have not changed. Please check the training page for details. If you have started an ARES task book and need the pages signed, we will do that once we can be in the same zip code.
There is a tentative AuxComm course set for April. I will have the ability to volunteer one or two people from the cadre. If you are interested in taking the course, please let me know.
WinLink appears to be moving the VARA software and abandoning the built-in software. It requires a purchase to use the full features.
If you would like to participate in WinLink Wednesday, please feel free. Also, there is a PWCARES HF subside available. Check the Slack/Element channel #packetwl2k for details on Tuesdays for updates.
PWC ARES WINLINK WEDNESDAY SUBNET ONLY VARA THIS WEEK P2P 3588 USB DIAL FREQUENCY ++++NOTE NEW CALL W4PWC++++ EACH WED 0001 TO 2359EST
For some reason, we had a Statewide Simulated Emergency Test, on January 16, 2021. I am not sure how well it was attended. No details were available beyond the scenario below.
Operation “The Big One” is a scenario of a 7.7 earthquake in the active seismic area of the Mountain Lake area of Giles County Virginia. Major damage would be experienced in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Pearsburg and Radford Virginia. There is possible damage to the aging Claytor Lake Dam near Pulaski Virginia. This lake is 115 deep, 27.7 miles long and covers 4472 acres. This stands on the New River.
This places all communities along New River down stream from the Claytor Lake at risk of catastrophic flooding. This also includes the Radford Arsenal which employees thousands of people. Virginia Tech and Radford University would experience major damage.
Internet service, phone service and power has been lost over about a 30 mile radius from the epic center of the quake. Communications support will be needed from throughout the Commonwealth.1
If you have not signed up with ARES Connect, please do so. Rumor had it that it may be going away, but until it does, the site is still viable. I will continue to do double or triple entry.
There is a Virginia Section Website as well. It is operational as of January 15, 2021.
Slack was purchased by Salesforce early this year. As such, there appears to be an increasing probability that we will be charged for use of the service. We are looking at alternatives. At the moment we are kicking the tires on a product called Element.
If you want to help us kick the tires, please create an account at app.element.io or download the iOS or Android client. Once you have created an account, please email the EC your user name so I can invite you to join the group. It is not as intuitive as Slack, but it seems OK so far. Please be patient as we take it for a spin.
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a horrible year. Events canceled left right and centre, job losses, and who can forget spending ten weeks with your nearest and dearest. It is enough to make most operators go nuts. But things are improving!
On Saturday, September 26, 2020, the Willing Warriors held their delayed Warrior Bike Challenge Ride. This included three loops, one a metric century, one a 30-mile loop, and a 13-mile loop. Mother Nature spent Friday getting the rain from Tropical Storm Beta out of her system, so while it was not a beautiful, sunny day, it was at least dry and provided great riding conditions.
Here are some views from the course.
Congratulations to the team that participated and Andy, KJ4MTP, for herding the cats on this one, so your humble EC could sit and operate for a change.
Photos are copyright of their photographers.
This was PWCARES first opportunity to get back into the field since the Honor 8K run in December, and the first post-COVID-19 event hosted by the Marine Corps Marathon Office. This served as both a chance to prototype how events might work in the future, and give everyone a chance to run through the woods.
The issue of base access is not something PWCARES can affect, however our issues have been heard, both by the MCMO and the PMO, who have overall responsibility for base access and access control. A number of issues have been identified and will be discussed internally at Quantico.
As our first event back, we could have done better. We certainly could have done considerably worse. We will find an excuse to practice as the year goes forward.
We are living in interesting times. When we started the planning for Field Day 2020, we planned to have a broader setup, extensive help from Prince William County in terms of equipment and other goodies, and better antennas. Field day is not a contest, but a chance to show our abilities in the field. In order to be successful, we have to work together, often in close proximity to each other, and the public. With the risks of COVID-19, that is not a reasonable request, nor a safe on at this time. There are just too many unknowns, and there is still a lack of proper protective equipment, necessary to make the event successful.
“Due to the unique situation presented this year, this can be an opportunity for you, your club, and/or group to try something new,” ARRL Contest Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE, said. “Field Day isn’t about doing things the same way year after year. Use this year to develop and employ a new approach that is in line with the current circumstances.”
While I agree with Mr. Bourque on a certain level, the current field day rules do not allow much beyond individual station operation. A home location, depending on where we are in the phase lockdown and what other facilities/amenities are required or available, could be the best option. It is reasonable to believe that such things as public restrooms will continue to be off-limits for weeks, if not months to come.
This has been a challenging year. I do not like to cancel training events, especially when people have put time into preparing for them, both mentally as well as practically. The fewer chances we get to practice, the less prepared we will be, but I also am critically aware of the realities of this year. After talking to Greg, KM4CCG, our Field Day Chair, as well as listening to the comments from the cadre, we will not be holding a PWCARES Field Day event. If you are interested in participating in Field Day, I encourage you to do so. Please visit the League’s Field Day page for all the rules and other information.
Standard check-ins this week (no weather snapshots or attachments of any type, please).
Please remember to use the correct format for check-in, as shown below (check-in message on a SINGLE LINE), over an RF connection.
Subject: Winlink Wednesday Check-In
call sign, first name, city or town, county, state (HF or VHF, etc.)
WA4GSD, Dan, Woodbridge, Prince William, VA (HF) KG4GIY, David, Manassas City, VA (VHF)
On Thursday, all check-ins will be acknowledged, and a net report and complete roster will be published to the Web.
(New home for Winlink Wednesday information – site is being developed.)
(Don’t forget to explore the interactive features that Steve has built into this map: pan, zoom, Virginia view, world view, etc.)