Alachua ARES/NFARC/NF4AC Clubs MINUTES April 12, 2023

Attendance:  21 Meeting held in person at the Queen of Peace Catholic Community and also held via ZOOM. 

  • Gordon Gibby
  • Leland Gallup
  • Gordon Beattie
  • Susan Halbert
  • Mike Schaeffer
  • Jim Bledsoe
  • Steve Panaghi
  • Craig Fugate
  • Jeff Capehart
  • Earl McDow
  • Dean Covey
  • Dave Huckstep
  • Reid Tillery
  • Vann Chesney
  • Ron Lewis
  • Lorilyn Roberts
  • Earl Sloan Zoom
  • Amy Woods Zoom
  • Rosemary Jones
  • Mike Hasselbeck Zoom
  • Wendell Wright

Introductions. From 1830 until 1900 when the meeting commenced.  The NFARC/NF4AC radio club met for this month in person at Queen or Peace Catholic Community and via Zoom.  

  1. INTRODUCTION/APPROVAL OF MARCH 2023 MINUTES.  Minutes approved.  Jeff Capehart next talked our ARES service. 156 hours of volunteer service in March. Introduction of new/not recent members/visitors. Jeff Capehart described the number of training opportunities and where information can be found: groups.io/NFARC; Thursday 8pm ARES VHF Nets; 1st Thursday of the month 7pm Tech Nite by Zoom; Reid Tillery’s Winlink University; Wednesday EOC radio room training; License Classes – Group selected August 19 to do a Technician class (19th and 20th); Lunch N Labs; Friday NVIS 75 meter net at 1900 on 3970 1st and 3d Fridays of the month. 3560 CW and Vara FM on alternating weeks.

  1. PROPOSED 20 MAY GANN FUNCTIONAL EXERCISE VHF GTMO. Reid Tillery, K9RFT, walked through the concept of the operation: a 20 May exercise, using VHF 2m simplex as well as HF, involving health and welfare (H&W) messages for the public to get a “I’m ok” out of an affected area. Reid talked about the “architecture” of the exercise: “local helper stations” feeding the EOC and an HF network. There will be remote stations out of the disaster zone. Waldo radio room/EOC will be a basic collector node for capturing the feeds from the Local Helper Statons (LHS). Another method is P2P to KI4AOJ; other “remote” HF stations can take the messages and then report back to the HF net whether the transmission is successful. How many messages originated and transmitted are the key metrics for the exercise. Needs helper HF, VHF stations. Origination and relays count as separate messages for tally purposes. Ex plan on the NF4RC website. Volunteers for various positions sought: Gordon/Susan at the Alachua EOC; Waldo EOC covered; David Huckstep agreed to be a local helper station (HF); Earl agreed to HF and VHF; Rosemary agreed to be a simulated shelter (VHF); Jeff Capehart agreed to be shelter (VHF); Steve Panaghi to be a shelter (VHF); not using repeaters so there has to be simplex; Gordon Beattie agrees to be remote HF station. Ron Lewis agrees to be HF helper station; Amy agrees to be remote HF station.
  • UPDATE ON 22 APRIL FL STATEWIDE SET. Jeff and Susan described efforts so far on the local implementation of the SET, which will take place in 10 days. Jeff showed an extracted version of the overall NFL Section Explan developed by Arc Thames, the SEC.  Jeff talked a bit of protocol as to how messages and traffic would be handled.  There are seven goals per the ex plan. Local action plan (IAP) maps to the Section plan.  Walked through what the Alachua EOC will do; activate comm resources; communicate (SHARES) with the state and other agency (e.g., County EOCs). The EOC should send structured messages by one or more techniques. Also goal for the Waldo EOC. Jim and Lorilyn are simulating from their house; Ron Lewis from Station 25 ACFR, Rosemary will assist him there. Number of injects depends on the site that a volunteer will simulate. As you complete injects move to the next one; make sure that backup gear and antenna are available because participants will likely need them. State IAP and other stuff is not yet available. Operators who do not have specific site assignments can do situation reports and transmit them to the sited operators. Local draft IAP on website.
  • BLEDSOE SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF FIELD DAY PUBLICITY. Field Day publicity kicked off; much “already in place” by way of media inputs. Issue is that if you launch publicity too soon it’s forgotten. Big news is that we will have exposure: June 13th: County Commission proclamation that the week is amateur radio week. Meeting at 1130 at the County Commissioner’s building so be there in advance.  It will be on June 13th. Huckstep will be present. Gallup will be present. This will be on Channel 12 and there s will be streaming exposure for amateur radio.
  • TOWER TRAILER PLANNING/PROGRESS. The commercial equivalent is an Aluma Tower for 20$k. We have two of the three things necessary for a complete tower/trailer; trailer and tower. But we need a way to mount the tower in trailer. The tower can be deployed 30’ and can carry a fairly heavy load. When assembled with tower, the whole thing can be pulled by a normal pickup truck. To fabricate a way to mount the tower on the trailer, Stuart Reisner offers free labor to build, and materials will cost $500. KX4Z wants “wisdom.” Does it make sense to go ahead? What if the MARC unit can’t be deployed? Then this might be backup.  What will be the use model? Usable for various exercises? Allow a beam on one tower and dipoles on another with separation (that is, separation from the MARC tower if its also being used. Can be built before Field Day. Consensus: build the travel at a cost of $500. Susan Halbert and Gordon Beattie both offered donations towards the $500 expense (thanks to both of you!).
  • POSSIBLE NEW WEB SITE MANAGER. Steve Panaghi showed a prototype, using Word Press, of a new website for the club. Dynamic, so that you can, for example, scroll through PDFs on screen. As a dynamic page, it can adjust for the viewing screen, links will load pages with archived date. The info sections are easily updated. Groups.io link on the screen, too. Dedicated web address on a commercial server. Modern, secure, easier to use than the current web site. Creating posts are like creating a Word document. Have to have an account to log into the server to input information. Cost for doing this, and to have Steve be the content controller and designer, would be about $75 for three years. Put to club: agreed that we would “pass the hat” to fund the website/domain. Suggested that “controllers” of various functions can directly input date/information in to the new website. For example, the Secretary could directly load club minutes as soon as they are ready. The club enthusiastically thanked Steve for this effort!
  • PROGRESS ON WINLINK 101 102 201. Reid, K9RFT, talked about how he is acting as “dean” of the Winlink University, how the training works, how certification works. Talked about features in Winlink that are not widely known, such as position reports (in a way like APRS, only with the ability to do Winlink messages). Gordon Gibby talked about the University training session he did where he ran through how to actually set up an RMS server. Glen Johnson, who took the training, is now intending to set up an RMS. Gordon prepared a 16 page handout for this training, and as a result of Reid’s effort, many are being exposed to the unique and powerful tool that is Winlink.
  • NEW VOLUNTEER FOR IPP AREA X. SUSTAINABILITY. Group shown 6 minutes of a video that touched on the effects of a large scale catastrophic failure in our power grids. For example, a North Korean EMP would result in the death of 90% of the American population. Steve Panaghi has a 13 page document that he’ll put up on the website.  People don’t think so much about the aftermath of an event. For example, both FEMA and ARC recommend one gallon of water per day. Steve talks about water, as well as power. Use of generators. Energy budget, and how to calculate. How are you going to power mobile devices? Lots can be done off 12 volts. How are you going to secure your house, property, region. Arms, and non-lethal means of defense. First aid kits…Level one and builds on up. Comms with neighbors. Discussed MURS, etc. Folks asked to fill out the survey. Goal is 2 weeks sustainability. It’s item 5 in our IPP.
  • ARRL ARES® AND ALACHUA COUNTY TRAINING.  KX4Z showed the ARES task book for NFL, and the separate EOC task book. Described the difference between the ARES task book and the EOC radio room task book. The EOC radio room book is not the badging/volunteer material. There is a badged volunteer taskbook/sheet. Talked about how members are actually getting signed off as they demonstrate proficiency.
  1. MARCH LAB N LUNCH BACKBRIEF/OUTCOME. KX4Z talked about the building of 6 baluns – far better performance than he’d excpected. Lots of practical experience.
  1. LAB N LUNCHES MAY 13 AND 27 FIELD DAY PRACTICE. This will probably involve the building of the FD antennas that we’ll be putting up.  On the 27th we’ll be doing practice for FD, getting used to voice and logging. 
  1. FIELD DAY PLANNING REPORT.  In FD planning, we use ICS position descriptions, such as planning chief, operations chief, logistics chief. KX4Z showed overhead view of the Veterans’ Building, and the basic antenna structuring. Talked about the antennas set up, which will include the HF antenna from EOC, 2m vertical, 6m antenna, twin lead CF antenna, and two endfeds, all with separation from the OCFD (the EOC antenna), all anchored from the MARC tower. Discussed the possibility of a microwave link to KX4Z’s GOTA station/trailer.  Showed the floorplan of the suggested HF stations inside the Kanapaha Veterans Park center, visitor intake, freebie VHF/6m station. That station will be used immediately to pass visitor traffic. Tour guides/docents will meet people. Outside we’ll have publicity/handouts for the public to inform them about amateur radio. We have not yet picked up a “talk in” station, which was on last year’s after action. Talked the planning documents which are on the website, as well as the operator web signup google form.
  1. FIELD DAY LOGISTICS NEEDS.  Craig and Gallup agreed to bring monitors (KK4INZ with his 31” and AA3YB with his 27” monitor). Both HDMI. Craig will bring a Geochron and show that. Susan and Earl will take care of the microwave network. Station captains recruited: Gallup will do EOC station setup station one. Huckstep is unit number 2; station 3 is Wendell; station 4 is GOTA/KX4Z; station 5 is Craig and Hasselbeck. Satellite station is Ron Lewis;
  1. FIELD DAY OPERATIONS SOLUTIONS. AA3YB talked about the basic chronology of the dress rehearsal and FD weekend. We showed the overview of what will be happening by time, with – for example – the various stations and functions, such as antenna set up, equipment set up, operating stations and slots with times. KX4Z worked through the IAP on the timeline of activities. Rosemary agrees to watch the solar panels for charging/getting the points. Antennas and coax needs laid out; we need besides the colored paracord, which KX4Z has already procured, 1000’ black paracord – Fugate agreed to source. #14 ground wire – needs hard labor for a person to put in the ground wires.  Lorilyn agreed to that task with Rosemary to help. 100’ stranded #14 is what is needed. Rosemary will do the “talk in.” Earl Sloan is going to do a demo on amateur radio of (date?); needs an endfed half wave. This is the May 6 Blueberry festival. 9:00 in Island Grove, 0700 set up time. Needs other equipment, such as digital and solar set up.
  1. ADJOURN at 2111, 12 April 2023.