I'm happy to report a rousing success for the Simulated Emergency Test this morning! Thanks to (in no particular order), Johnny WD4DYH, Wyatt KJ4CTD, Ariel NY4G, Phil KG4FQG, Ken KD4PH, Bob N3PT, Chris KJ4GJG, Wayne K4VAS, Chris K4FLL, Nathan KJ4RQZ, Josh KG4PFJ, Robert WA4HRK, Tom KB1EFA and Greg KI4SVQ. These are the folks that I remember as either attendees or checkins -- I'm sure there were more.
Around 0830, Phil opened the ARES Net in standby mode and took checkins from responding ARES members. The plan was for most of the group to rally at the Red Cross at 0900 while Bob and Tillman met at the EOC at 0915. Phil kept close tabs on all logged-in stations and did a great job of seeking status updates and tracking our assets.
While enroute, several of us checked into the statewide linked net called by K4EMD at the state EOC in Columbia. The SCHEART VHF repeaters were then unlinked at 0900 to allow users to experiment with various direct DTMF links around the state.
Our group quickly established operations on VHF repeater and simplex frequencies at the Red Cross and Bob and Tillman soon had the EOC's 2-meter radio on the air. From the EOC, we contacted the Red Cross (both repeater and simplex), several ARES operators in various locations around the upstate, the Spartanburg EOC (repeater only -- simplex was not successful at the time), the state EOC (via SCHEART direct link), and the Berkley County EOC (again via SCHEART link). We tested the radio's memory, VFO and DTMF capabilities. Special thanks to GCOEM's Rachel Ethun for coming in on a Saturday to let us in the EOC and for Scott and Jay's help to authorize our access. This was the first time in a long time that those radios were on the air for an official drill and we were very excited for the opportunity.
Meanwhile over at the Red Cross, Johnny led the group through the activation of multiple 2m radios in the Ready Room and Ariel temporarily swapped out the existing TS-820S for a very capable TS-2000 and quickly established HF communications on both the 80 and 40 meter bands. Ariel logged contacts with K4EMD at the state EOC on both bands! The Red Cross crew continued to experiment with various combinations of repeaters and simplex frequencies to give the systems a thorough workout, and they performed extremely well. Much like the EOC, it's been many moons since the Red Cross Ready Room equipment has seen this kind of use and testing. Special thanks to Tanya Carter for arranging our access today!
As an additional bonus, we applied an antenna analyzer to every piece of feedline we could find along the Ready Room wall and they all indicated very good SWR matches on their intended bands.
We wrapped up operations around 1130, secured the facilities, and headed over to Wendy's to celebrate the day's success over burgers and fries (which carried its own adventures including rendering first aid to a woman in diabetic shock and parking lot repairs to my truck's electrical system -- thanks Johnny and Phil!).
Be sure to check out (and "like") our new Greenville ARES Facebook page, where you can find a few photos of the day's event!
I had a blast and hope you did too!
73 until next time,