COVID-19 Rolls On
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.
Review of 2020
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.
Marine Corps Marathon Program Office
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.
Upcoming in 2021
Events in 2021 are in flux and will depend on several things. Many standing events have already been canceled or made virtual.
Marine Corps Marathon Program Office
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.
Action Plan Review
Have you looked at the action plan lately? Please review Section 5 and 6, at least.
New Section – Behavior
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
The Big One
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.