Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Winlink Wednesday

It is that time of week again. Winlink Wednesday!  This week please include in the body of you check-in how many fire fighters are generally on duty (hint look at Thursday night's post).  Use the Winklink General Check-In Template.

As always, if you need more information regarding Winlink Wednesday, go here:  https://www.wvcarc.com/p/winlink-wednesday.html

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

Sunday, April 21, 2019

WVCARC - Draft Field Operations Manual

For some time now I have wanted to get the Field Operations Manual completed for the WVCARC group.  My local neighborhood group has had one for many years and I have found it invaluable.  What is the Field Operation Manual (FOM)?  Glad you asked.  It a collection of policies, procedures, and resources relevent to WVCARC.  It is designed to be printed on 8.5" x 5.5" paper and bound into a manual.  It currently stands at 61 pages.  I am waiting for one more piece of information before I can recommend that it can be printed.  WVCARC will have copies available for the price of printing and binding.  I am still working out what that will cost will be.  You may of course print your own if you would like.  I generally release an updated version every year.  You can view the draft version now by clicking the link below.  I remind you not to print it yet as this is just a draft.  If you see any errors or if you have suggestions for the FOM, let me know ASAP so that they can be fixed or added before it goes to print.


Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday's Exercise Results

First off, a special thanks to all those who participated in our drill Saturday, KF7HXA, AC7GU, AE3DC, K0WTD, K2AGE, K2MJW, K7CJB, KA7MMM, KE7AET, KF7HXA, KF7QBW, KF7YOL, W7RZR, KB6EMA and KI7IHU.  I am grateful for Cole and Dave from West Valley City for allowing us to operate from the city's communication trailer.  Things worked out very well.

Operators were able to check in from all 35 schools in West Valley City, as well as all Fire Stations.  Most check-ins at the Fire Stations utilized the onsite radio and a Winlink message was also transmitted.  Every check-in was recorded on a paper ICS-213 form and then type into a Winlink ICS-213 form that was later transmitted via the packet network.  We were able to do all this in 1 hour 20 min which  is amazing.

It was great to see everyone become more proficient in checking in at their various location as they completed their assignments.  Listening to everyone's experiences afterwords was fantastic.  I think it is safe to say that everyone learned something.

I look forward to next years exercise.  For those that were unable to participate, I encourage you to sign up to help with at least one of the many events held this year.  You will learn things that you can find in no other place.

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

We used a WVC issued Kenwood TM-D700a that is mounted in a Pelican case.  We ran off of the internal battery.

Emma (KB6EMA) entered the paper ICS-213 forms into Winlink

Outside view of the communications trailer.

First time using the solar panels.  They were connected to a Goal Zero Yeti 1400 which was then plugged into the trailer.



Friday, April 19, 2019

Final Thoughts Before The Excersise

I know it is late, but here are some last minute thoughts and facts before the drill.  West Valley City, has a population of around 138,359 people.  The population density is 3839.59 people/mi², with a household density of 1088.86 people/mi². (Source)  It is the 2nd largest city in Utah.  Salt Lake City is number 1 with 200,662 people.  By summer we will have six operating Fire Stations.  Many if not most of the fire fighters do not live in West Valley City.  At any one given time there are about 30 on duty fire fighters.  That means in the event of a wide spread disaster there will be one fire fighter for every 4,611 people. 

Basically, what I am trying to say is, they are going to be pretty busy and they will need to manage their finite resources efficiently.  I often tell people I am only as good as the information I am given.  This also applies in an emergency.  The skill set we bring to the table is the ability to send and receive information effectively.  The better the communication, the better the decisions.  The better the decisions, the better service and in the end this saves lives.

The way we become better is by flexing our communication muscles through exercises like the one Saturday.  Not only will each of you learn something new, but as an organization we will become stronger. Of equal importance, our relationship with our served agency will be strengthened.  I also find these exercises are also fun.  I hope each of you do as well.

Now for some final instructions.  I will be on the repeater around 8:00 AM if anyone needs me.  If your call sign is not found on the roster and you would like to help out please contact me there.  The more the merrier.  For those that are unable to participate, it is Easter weekend after all, feel free to monitor the repeater during the drill.  The NET will start probably a little before 10:00 AM.   Wait for instructions before checking in.

That is about it for now, remember some extra batteries and try to get some sleep.

Mat
K2MJM

2019 West Valley City Drill Assignments Posted

You can find your assignments for this Saturday here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/177elJyMjcysCFDqI4zdOmhUFcewLwh-AYHroIfA9GMU/edit?usp=sharing

I had to make a few adjustments, as some schools had multiple operators assigned to them.  I tried to keep each operators schools somewhat close to each other.  I will be starting the NET at 10:00 AM.  We will be using our repeater, 448.800 Mhz, negative offset, 100 Hz tone.  Please wait for instructions before checking in.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding your assignment please let me know.  For those assigned to check in at a Fire Station I will relay your instructions during the NET.  If there are other operators who would like to participate and have not yet signed up please email me at mat.murdock@wvcarc.com.

Thank you again for your willingness to help out with this drill.

Mat
K2MJM

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Special Utah Great Shake Out NET

The Great Utah Shake Out is this Thursday, April 18th.  WVCARC will be holding a quick NET at 12:00 PM on our normal repeater which is 448.800 Mhz, negative offset, 100 Hz tone.  This is always an interesting NET as people are generally at a different location then our normal Thursday Night NET.


Mat Murdock
K2MJM

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Winlink Wednesday

It is that time of week again. Winlink Wednesday!  This week please include in the body of you check-in how many Fire Stations WVC has.  Use the Winklink General  Check-In Template.

As always, if you need more information regarding Winlink Wednesday, go here:  https://www.wvcarc.com/p/winlink-wednesday.html

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

April 20th Drill Update - We Need More People

This is just a reminder that we need operators to sign up for the April 20th drill.  ONLY SEVEN OPERATORS HAVE SIGNED UP SO FAR.  The goal is to check-in from every school and Fire Station in the city for a total of 33 locationsWe need a minimum of 16 operators Saturday in order to accomplish this in a timely manner. 

This is one of those times where we need to have a good showing of support.  There will be city officials present to observe our progress and organization.  We will be starting at 10:00 AM and the goal is to be complete with the drill by 11:30 AM if not earlier.  If you are able to help, please log into your WVCARC Portal account and select as many schools as you feel you will be able to visit in an hour.  Please choose schools that have not already been selected by other operators.  If you are unable to access the site and would like to participate, please email me at mat.murdock@wvcarc.com.  Thank you again for your willingness to help out this Saturday.

Mat
K2MJM

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Winlink Wednesday

This Winlink Wednesday, and unless otherwise specified, we will continue to use the Winlink check-in template.  One issue that many of you had last week was you were using old templates.  The current version of Winlink is 1.5.20.0.  The current version of templates is 1.0.88.0.

You can find out what version of Winlink you are running by clicking "Help" in the menu and then "About".  You can see what version of the templates you have by click "Messages" in the menu and then Templates.  The version is right at the top.

This week we are going to do another weather report as things could be interesting.  Please include your location, temperature, and a weather report.  Send your check-in to K2WVC.

For those new to templates follow the  step by step instructions how how to send a message.
  1. Launch Winlink Express.
  2. Select new message.
  3. Click on "Select Template" in the menu.
  4. Expand Standard Templates
  5. Expand GENERAL Forms
  6. Double Click on "Winlink Check In.txt"
A web browser window should open up.  Fill out submit, and transfer the form.

Templates only work in Winlink Express.  If you are using something other then Winlink Express then a standard check-in will suffice.

If you have any questions let me know.  Good Luck!

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Official 2019 Standard Load Posted

The official 2019 Standard Load has been release. You may view and download it here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1foaur0cFsajkNyX46Dq8tc_UpMTJUEFpL4OxGcoqctg/edit?usp=sharing 

The biggest change is with the channels 21-30 which are set aside for club use.  It includes our repeater frequency as well as a simplex entry for if it is down.

Instructions on using the Standard Load and its purpose can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oYb0XtTCSvpUgSZf0XdJB4_HLCcnrA4LMzIfNpFNXhQ/edit?usp=sharing 

Remember that the purpose of the standard load is to create "a standard programming sequence, designed to make your radio operations faster and easier. It is also designed to give you local control over your own frequencies while somewhat standardizing channels and channel names county-wide."  Please review the instructions and the standard load out. If you have questions please bring them up at the next NET or post a comment below.

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

Saturday, April 6, 2019

April 20th Drill Update

In preparation for the upcoming April 20th drill, I need to know who will be participating.  I will be utilizing the Operator Portal for this.  I have updated the portal so that you can select multiple schools.  Given the number of operators who participated last year I am requesting that each participant select two schools.  I would also ask that you select schools not already selected by another operator.  For your information, I have cleared out all past selections so I will have a more accurate count of participants.  Please add your selections by April 16th so I can make final assignments.

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Repeater, Take Three

Well.  The repeater is back in its rack and appears to be working properly.  Go ahead and give it a go.  Let me know if you have any issues.  The manufacture removed the duplexer from being mounted inside the repeater cabinet to outside of it.  I put it as far away as I could, as seen in the pictures below.

Mat
K2MJM




Thursday, April 4, 2019

April 20th Valley Wide Drill

This April 20th we have the opportunity to participate once again in a Salt Lake Valley wide drill.  The goal is to have Amateur radio operators check in from each and every elementary school and Fire Station in our city limits.  This will be a challenging task as there are 29+ schools and 6 Fire Stations, however I am confident we can do this.

Before the drill we will make assignments largely based on what elementary school you choose on the Operator Panel.  In the past you were only able to select fire stations.  That has changed.  You can now select schools in addition to your fire stations, so stop reading and go do that now.  :)

A few days before the drill we will email out assignments.  At 10:00 AM we will start check-ins.  Based on where people check in we may make additional assignments for operators to go and check in from another school.  We need to complete this drill by 11:00 AM.  Following the the drill the plan is to meet at City Hall where the communication trailer will be.

This is a simple drill, but it will show us and the city what we are capable of doing.  So for now the assignment for each of you is to get on the Operator Portal and get select your school.  If you have any additional questions let me know.

Mat
K2MJM

Monday, April 1, 2019

Winlink Wednesday - Templates

This Winlink Wednesday we will learn a new skill.  Winlink templates are a way to input data in a form and have that information efficiently delivered to the intended recipient.  For this Winlink Wednesday I will have you respond using a template.  Below are step by step instructions how how to accomplish this.


  1. Launch Winlink Express.
  2. Select new message.
  3. Click on "Select Template" in the menu.
  4. Expand Standard Templates
  5. Expand GENERAL Forms
  6. Double Click on "Winlink Check In.txt"


A web browser window should open up.  Fill out submit, and transfer the form.

Templates only work in Winlink Express.  If you are using something other then Winlink Express then a standard check-in will suffice.

If you have any questions let me know.  Good Luck!

Thanks,

Mat
K2MJM