Oakland County Amateur Radio Public Service Corp (ARPSC)

            W8OAK Repeaters – 146.900 MHz/100pl & 444.325 MHz/107.2pl

                        Weekly 2 meter net 8 pm every Thursday

                        Hospital Radio Net – 7:30 pm last Thursday of Month

            Packet 144.950 MHz/1200 baud, connects made with Oakxxx or

                        Callsign-# to OAKBBS (W8OAK-3) with nodes at

                        OAKNOD (N8NM-1 Pontiac – most coverage),

                        OAKEOC (W8OAK-7 at EOC) or K8DTX-7 (White Lake)

            APRS – 144.390 MHz

            Web Site: http://www.arpsc.com


Meeting Minutes for 7 November 2012

            On 7 November 2012 at 7 pm, Jim Richards - AB8JR, Emergency Coordinator (EC) for the Oakland County ARPSC, called the meeting to order in the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  The order of business included:

(I). Report from Steve Iannucci, Homeland Security Division – Oakland County:

Last Saturday’s Siren Test was the last for this year and Steve thanked the volunteers for their help.    A local newspaper has printed an article about the 17 October 2012 stimulated test exercise (SET) with the City of Troy.   In regard to the W8OAK antenna, Steve is hopeful it will be back on the water tower shortly.   

 On 9 October 2012, there were damage assessment classes for building inspectors at the CREST – Oakland Community College (OCC) campus.  Four ARPSC members (Jim Richards – AB8JR, Pete Gladysz – K8PGJ, Murray Scott – KE8UM, and Jim Murphy – N8SML) assisted emergency communications during this SET.

(II). Report from Randy Love – WF5X, District Two EC.

             Randy noted emails went out to Michigan amateur radio members to assist Hurricane Sandy communications.  Unless you live in the affected area, he says - do not self deploy.   Such a person may find him/herself side-lined, unwanted, and possibly in trouble.   

 (III). Report from the Emergency Coordinator (EC), Jim Richards - AB8JR:

             Until the W8OAK antenna is back up on the water tower, our nets may possibly use several alternate frequencies, such as the Clarkston Repeater at 146.840/100pl or a simplex frequency.

             Our 2012 siren testing season is finished, and all 252 sirens were checked at least once this year.  That’s a new record for us.  Sometime next year, additional new sirens will increase the number to 267.   Jim thanks all the volunteers who assisted in this effort. 

             The order for a Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) has not yet been mailed.

 (IV). Presentation: Emergency Deployments, by Ken Pearce - N4KCD.

             Ken is an electrical engineer with a radio frequencies background.  He also is a paramedic and general mechanic, all of which have made him useful in emergency deployments.   His volunteer efforts began back in 1979 with Wichita Falls, Texas, later he went through several hurricane deployments in Florida, and his last assignment was in Haiti after its earthquake.   He was witness to both the failures and successes of governmental agency emergency assistance.  Rescue agencies have gradually realized that they need to combine resources and sometimes work with strange bed-fellows in order to handle problems.  With huge emergencies, everything seems to begin with chaos and everyone is experiencing different problems.  Many agencies were and some still are not really ready to act or act quickly.

             For the individual volunteer, do train and train hard.  But when one gets to his/her location, expect chaos, danger, and hardships.   It’s a much different world out there than in your training.  There will be a gap in time where assistance hasn’t arrived and another where it isn’t enough.  This still happened with the recent Hurricane Sandy.  You may be dealing with powerful individuals who don’t know what to do.    Keep your “cool,” and keep thinking how to solve problems.   Keeping the right mental attitude can make a difference in your success.

 (V). Presentation: October 13, 2012 SET by Pete Gladysz – K8PGJ.

             Our goal for this SET was to evaluate readiness and effectiveness of the Oakland County ARPSC to provide communication support.   In this SET, the Troy fire and police were involved.    For our ARPSC, this test was designed to “come out of the blue,” without prior warning.   

             As part of the SET, Troy Emergency needed communication assistance: i.e. from ham radio operators.  To do this, the Troy Fire Department has to request Troy Dispatch to contact Oakland County Homeland Security Division for emergency communication assistance.  The Troy Dispatch directly contacts Oakland County Dispatch, who then notifies Oakland County Homeland Security Division.  They, in turn, notify the ARPSC Emergency Coordinator (EC) who notifies members to deploy and sets up an emergency radio net.  

             Results: The following took place 13 October 2012:

9:05 am – Oakland County Homeland Security is notified.

9:10 am – Jim Richards – AB8JR (EC) is notified by Homeland Security

9:18 am – EC sends text messages and emails to members.

9:21 am – Text and emails are being received.

9:25 am - One member, Pete Gladysz - K8PGJ is now in his car and on the way.

9:35 am – Emergency Net on W8OAK is in operation at the Troy Fire House.

9:41 am – Two more operators are reroute to locations

9:50 am – The other Jim Richards – W8JJR is headed to his assigned fire house and begins using 146.46 simplex to improve W8OAK reception.

12:19 am – This is the time of the last check-in, making a total of 34 members contacted.  Also, 24 email messages were received, some of whom indicated they were available later in the day.   This would be useful should the exercise or emergency take greater time.  Total time taken for this SET was about 3.5 hours. 

             Lessons learned:  When the W8OAK repeater was marginal in reception, but the simplex frequency of 146.46 MHz had effective coverage in the City of Troy.   One problem with simplex is that it might delay another with very urgent information.  One would have to wait until the original transmission is finished.   There was some sort of interference at Fire Station #5 on simplex.  This was ended by adding a 100Hz pl tone.   Randy Love, WF5X suggested another solution might be to change the frequency up or down in order to make the interference go away.   Another member suggested newer changeable billboards may be a cause of such interference.  

 Our mini – EOC inside the Troy Firehouse was not on the same floor as the Troy Dispatch.  Getting messages to and from them became a minor problem.   When Troy Dispatch first received the request for communication assistance, their dispatch didn’t know what to do until it was explained to them.  The request had to go Homeland Security by way of Oakland County Dispatch.   Dispatch did not need to know about ARPSC or ham radio; they only needed to know that communication assistance was officially requested and that they should contact Oakland County Homeland Security via the County Dispatch.    Our operators at the mini – EOC used a fire department Yaesu FT-7800 which was in place with a functioning antenna.    When a 100Hz pl tone had to be added, its instruction book couldn’t be found.  

     Radio operators need to be reminded to speak slowly, utilize phonetics when necessary, and give their first names and state their location.   There is a continued need to refine/update ARPSC text, email, and phone lists.  Randy Love – WF5X adds that our new W8OAK controller (when installed) will have a two tone alert activation signal.  This might be useful in contacting members.  A calling tree was not used because it is too time consuming and relies on an unreliable cascading series of phone calls.  Robo-call services are too expensive to use.

Also, volunteers could use some way to identify their cars in the parking areas; i.e. a metallic ARPSC sign or identifying cone.        

 (VI). AEC-Management Team Reports:

             (1). Report from Jim Richards – W8JJR, SkyWarn

             This was a quiet year.  Our emergency center was only activated five times.

             (2). Report from Jim Richards – AB8JR for Mike Vander Veer – KD8ATK, Net Operations:

             Volunteers for net control operations are needed.  If interested, email to Mike Vander Veer at kd8atk@wowway.com.  Jim believes several simultaneous nets may be needed with certain emergencies and this will require more control net operators.   Simplex net operations could be used.

             (3). Report from Lloyd Suter – N2NGQ, Training/VE Testing:

             Regarding FEMA classes at our EOC, members were asked whether they preferred classes during (1) week day, (2) week day night, or (3) Saturday.  The last two were preferred.   Jim Richards, AB8JR added our members also need to attend refresher classes.  In fact, some FEMA classes have upgraded their material and members may need to retake them.

  (VII). Specialty Officer/Coordinator Reports:

             (1). Report from Ted Davis – N8ZSA, regarding National Weather Service (NWS):

             A NWS meeting will be held 10 November 2012, but only one representative from our membership can attend.  This is due to limited seating space.

             (2). Report from Mark Shaw – K8ED, National Traffic System (NTS) Communications:

             For those interested in the NTS, there is a net every night at 10:15 pm on 146.760/100hz repeater system.           

 (VIII). New and Other Items of Interest:

             Sno Drift Rally will be held January 25-26, 2012 at Atlanta, Montmorency County, Michigan.  Ham radio volunteers are needed and can contact Pete Gladysz – K8PGJ at radio@sno-drift.org.  


Respectfully submitted,

James R. Murphy, N8SML

Secretary, Oakland County, ARPSC

8 November 2012

Minutes were approved by Jim Richards – AB8JR, EC.