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 5 December 2012


            On 5 December 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:


            Several more Oakland County townships/cities are considering amateur radios in their fire stations and EOC’s.  These include Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, and Birmingham.  Equipment would be purchased with government funding and would include handhelds, base station transceivers, and antennas.   However, each locality would be responsible for installation costs.    Philip Ross – WB8NXP is one ham who plans to assist Bloomfield Hills Township with the installation. 


The City of Southfield has already gone through this process, including purchasing equipment, installations, training programs, and recruiting amateur radio members under the direction of Frank Coutts – (former) Southfield Emergency Manager.  Bill Johns is the current Southfield Emergency Manager. 


Concerns were expressed that hams serving several groups might have conflicting pressures.  Some sort of working agreement would be needed on how they would be deployed during a common emergency.  This will be addressed with County Homeland Security, the municipalities and the County Emergency Coordinator.   Marsha Fleming – N8FE mentioned that Southfield hams could assist in their training.  Steve added that each municipality might have 2 to 5 mobile transceivers and even more handhelds.    One community is considering 10 handhelds.   Mobile units could be mounted near their dispatchers.   A question was raised on whether their needs for radio ham radio personnel would exceed available hams in the county and might drain members from our county ARPSC.     


ARPSC identification cards will expire at the end of this month and will be replaced as soon as possible next year.  RACES cards are still good through 2014.  


Plans now exist to move the W8OAK antenna back to the water tower, possibly later this week.   Jim Richards – AB8JR adds that this will be the old antenna and not a new one which may be needed.   This old antenna may be one of several causes for our poor reception.   Last Thursday’s net had to switch to the Clarkston repeater.  Tomorrow night’s net will begin on W8OAK.  If reception is a problem, the net may switch again to the Clarkston Repeater.   Check the in-put on W8OAK for this possibility.


(II). Report from Jim Richards – AB8JR for Randy Love – WF5X, District Two EC.


            There was a District Two meeting last Saturday, 1 December 2012.   Five emergency coordinators (ECs) attended.  St. Clair County still doesn’t have an EC.  Monroe ARPSC has only about six members.  Credentialing for cross county activities was discussed.    Required classes will include IS-22, 100, 200, 700 and 800. The group did not recommend the States suggestion for IS-300 and 400 as the two day long classes since it appeared no one would teach the class for free.       


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


            Emergency Coordinators for Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland County are planning a tri-county stimulated test exercise (SET) for March or April 2013.  Volunteers would be moving about to different areas.    EC’s will begin attending each other’s meetings in order to learn how each functions.  Hopes are to develop some mutual understanding so that things might work their best when something happens.    Lloyd Suter added that an antenna is being put on Ann Arbor’s Veteran Administration Building which would improve Washtenaw linkage to other counties.           


Steve Iannurcci pointed out that natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy seem to be most common emergency.  However, one shouldn’t forget that terrorist problems are an ever-present threat.  


One problem we are facing in emergency amateur radio communication is the transmission of lengthy messages.  A recent SET tested this with the National Traffic System and found it beyond its capability.  An alternative system of emergency communications is needed.  Do note that communications between EOCs is not only over radio, but by whatever system is most efficient.  Because long messages are a problem, Jim is looking to digital modes for faster transmission.   Murray Scott – KE8UM notes that the Homeland Security will be having two day classes at/near and preceding the next Dayton Hamvention.    They may address this problem.   


(IV). APRSC Training Plans from Lloyd Suter, N2NGQ:


            Lloyd purposes the following classes: 


IS-22 on 9 January 2013 at 2 pm at the ARPSC location

IS-100 on 16 January 2013 at 2 pm at the ARPSC location

IS-200 on 23 January 2012 at 2pm at the ARPSC location

IS-700 on 30 January 2012 at 2pm at the ARPSC location

IS-800 on 5 February 2012 at 11am at the ARPSC location


            These classes would be designed for our ARPSC members.  Understanding the incident command system is very important - how it works and how the communication volunteer is involved with it.   Jim Richards – AB8JR mentions that certification in these classes will be phased in over some time.    If one checks the current list of FEMA classes, one such class is IS-100 and has several variations and improvements.  After one is credited with an earlier IS-100 class, a fresher class might serve better. 


            Our 2 meter repeater problem needs improvement.  Hopefully, Steve Murphy – N8NM of County Radios can get the new equipment installed soon so that we can see if further work needs to be done.   Update: Our DMR radio has not yet been purchased.


            Skywarn Recognition Day was Friday, November 30th through Saturday, December 1st, 2012.  Ted Davis – N8ZSA reports that there was a good turnout and members were able to work all the States.  Propagation was very poor and contacts were fewer than last year.  Jim Richards – AB8JR mention that channel 2 showed up and possibly will run a story about this. 


(V). Meeting Planning for 2013:     


            Members were asked what topics might be worth while to cover in 2013.   These included (1) Portable antenna construction, (2) grounding electrical equipment and protection from lightning, (3) using the internet radio linking project (IRLP) for emergency communications, (4) county 911 system and how it works, (5) discussion on portable power and use of Anderson power pole connections, (6) new ideas for training, (7) field deployment kits and ideas to solve communication problems when in the field, (8) experiences encountered when on field deployment, (9) Joel Goldberg – W8HIU on his FEMA communication deployment, (10) use of digital mode on VHF, (11) operation of the ICOM IC-2820 to include D-Star digital voice, data, and possibly D-RATS.


Jim Richards – AB8JR believes we will be pushed more to use digital data modes.  Two hundred word voice messages do not work well.  Currently, emergency communications uses a number of digital modes.   This needs to be standardized.  On several SETs, Jim found some odd mode would be used and there would be a scramble to set it up.    Also, additional equipment, software, and instruction would be needed for digital modes.   Computer generated information sent directly through amateur radio would be most useful.    In addition, new packet software is needed at our EOC.


Concern was expressed that some messages would be the type that shouldn’t be intercepted by the wrong parties; i.e. hospital patient privacy with hospital emergency communication.   DMR ham radio could increase this privacy.    


 (VI). AEC-Management Team Reports:  


            (1). Report by Jim Richards – AB8JR for Jim Richards – W8JJR, SkyWarn and Mike Vander Veer – KD8ATK, Net Operations.


            Volunteers are needed for net control and Skywarn operations.  If interested, email to Mike Vander Veer at kd8atk@wowway.com or let Jim Richards – W8JJR know.  Several simultaneous nets may be needed with certain emergencies and this will require more control net operators.      


            (2). Report from Murray Scott – KE8UM, Logistics


            Murray checked the master on-off electrical switch in the back room communication console.    It has a delay switch preventing electrical power being turned on to everything at the same time.   In theory, this could prevent an unwanted surge.  He did find an “iffy” connection that might explain the power suddenly going off.       


 (VII). Specialty Officer/Coordinator Reports:


             (1). Report from Ron Miotke – WD8MNX, Membership:


            Our membership renewal application is being reworked.  Information about one’s township will be dropped.   Ron will place a new box to indicate one’s information is the same as the previous year.   This “same” box still needs to be checked yearly so that the ARPSC knows you are still active.   A reminder at meetings would be helpful.   It is important that our organization know recent changes; i.e. email addresses, etc. 


            (2). Report from Ted Davis – N8ZSA, Sirens:


            Siren coverage for this year was 100%.   The spread sheet for this has not yet been updated.


            (3). Report from Maurice Davidson – K8SJD, National Weather Service Liaison:


            November was the 6th driest on record.         


(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

6 December 2012