SOUTH COAST EMERGENCY GROUP

MEETING MINUTES   7-1-15    Station 59   1800 hours

 Ham Radio Report                                             Linda/Peter

“June 27 and 28 SC4ARC participated in National Amateur Radio Field Day. We put up temporary antennas, operating stations and a food/break tent. For 24 continuous hours we made as many contacts as possible using only emergency power and our temporary set up.  During that time we completed nearly 300 unique contacts, operated in phone (voice) and digital/text modes.  We also held classes in operating in digital modes, building an expedient directional antenna, contacted the International Space Station (twice.)  While the weather was exceptional (as was the food!) we performed all of the activities we might need to during a disaster.  Our farthest contact was 5300 miles, to Japan, using about 50 watts of transmitter power; comparable to an average porch light.

“In June we also were offered a digipeater by American Red Cross who are replacing some of their hardware as they standardize the configuration of their operating positions.  We intend to deploy the digpeater on Butano Ridge, above Pescadero, to give immediate access to the WinLink system for Half Moon Bay.  We know that for some time Half Moon Bay has been looking for a way to practice but that there are no WinLink stations available in the Coastside area aside from ours on South Skyline.  Our goal (with Red Cross) is to eventually deploy a second, full WinLink station in the North

part of San Mateo County, and give much of the County, Coastside and Bayside, redundant coverage.  In the meantime we can extend coverage using this digipeater, right now, into Half Moon Bay and the CEOC.”

Tri-County OES Summit                                     Peggy/Nick

Additions to Nick’s comments about the Tri-County OES meeting, Peggy adds the following:

“My focus, as a first step, has been with respect to CERT organization and activation within Santa Clara County (SCC) and Santa Cruz County (SCZ).

“SCZ (CalFire) has agreed to issue ID cards.  SSEPO is working with Chief Ian Larkin and Battalion Chief Aldo Gonzalez to set up appointments/dates for swearing in and photography of individual CERT trained citizens. 

“SCC will need additional investigative work as the residents of unincorporated areas and not covered by current organizational procedures. I will be following up with fire personnel at Saratoga Fire Station and Los Gatos Fire Station, as these are the nearest fire stations to the geographical coverage area for South Skyline residents.”

“GIS Mapping project update:

Initial project training will be delivered in July with first data collection efforts anticipated in July.

Another emergency preparedness group that is very active is called CERPP (Citizens Emergency Response Preparedness Program).  Selena Brown of Woodside Fire manages this group.  The group reaches into “Corners” and Skyline Blvd. to Old La Honda Road. I will reach out to Selena, advise her of SCEG, and determine next steps.”

 KPDO Radio Update                                                    Catherine

“KPDO has received a grant for $56,000 from Don Horsley’s office to re-boot KPDO at a new antenna site.  Recent tests prove that Coastside.net can provide adequate broadband capabilities to the site.  The grant includes permits and provision for:  electricity, backup generator power, internet access, physical installation of the radio tower, radio and ham radio equipment, and software.  The grant was provided because of the ability of KPDO to help with emergency coordination, and to help the local schools as part of a media arts program.  The grant will be processed through the County’s Information Services Division.  Support from Puente, Deborah Hirst, and SCEG helped a lot in getting this grant!”

 New Firehouse Update                                              Shem

Battalion Chief Shem Hawkins reported that the process to locate the new Pescadero fire station is on-going, and he will notify our group as new details become available.

 CEAP and the South Coast Update                            All

The group discussed some ideas for outreach to South Coast and South Skyline businesses who may not yet belong to CEAP, including a streamlined application form and alternative methods of outreach.

 Roundtable                                                                  All

Battalion Chief Shem Hawkins reported the following:

“Cal Fire has started their Defensible Space Inspections for the fire season.  We will have inspectors in the area, as well as the Pescadero Engine Companies contacting local homeowners and discussing the program.  If you have any questions, please contact me at 650.245.1715”

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday, August 5, 1800 hours, Station 59

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Coastside Emergency Corps members participate in National Amateur Radio Field Day

June 27 and 28, 2015

Prepared by Coastside OES Coordinator Nick Gottuso

Amateur radio plays a critical role in Emergency Preparedness and Response throughout the roughly 300-square mile Coastside Zone of San Mateo County, which includes the South Skyline area. Most of the ham radio operators in the Coastside Zone are also active members of the Coastside Emergency Corps (CEC.)

This year, for National Amateur Radio Field Day, members of the South Coastal Citizens Corps Council Amateur Radio Club (thankfully and cleverly shortened to SC4ARC) hosted the 24-hour event on the grounds of La Honda Gardens in the town of La Honda. I was invited to visit the event on Saturday, June 27th, to check out the proceedings for myself. Good excuse for a motorcycle ride on my day off!

As I rode down Highway 84 past the La Honda fire station, I saw the mobile radio antenna trailer in the field next to the fire house, fully extended to its 30’ height. This is the OES-owned antenna trailer that had been forgotten about and left for scrap behind a garage at La Honda Fire, fully overgrown with brush and other vegetation, untouched for many years. The members of SC4 rescued this critical piece of equipment, and at their own expense and with their own labor, completely restored it (cleaning, repainting, new wheel bearings, etc) and returned it to fully functional status, ready to be deployed anywhere in San Mateo County where it might be needed.

At the event site next door, there were tents erected for radio communications, a food tent, a tent with cot for naps (this was a 24-hour endurance event, after all) and a public information booth explaining what it was all about. A huge directional antenna had been erected; visitors were encouraged to try their hand at radio communications, received instruction, and had their questions answered.

      CEC members participating in La Honda Field Day included Peter Chupity, Paul Gurries, Linda Bennett, Neil Panton, Peggy Wargo, Michael Pittaro and others who arrived later for the next shift.

      Peter Chupity provided the following summary:

“June 27 and 28 SC4ARC participated in National Amateur Radio Field Day. We put up temporary antennas, operating stations and a food/break tent. For 24 continuous hours we made as many contacts as possible using only emergency power and our temporary set up.  During that time we completed nearly 300 unique contacts, operated in phone (voice) and digital/text modes.  We also held classes in operating in digital modes, building an expedient directional antenna, and contacted the International Space Station (twice!)  While the weather was exceptional (as was the food!) we performed all of the activities we might need to during a disaster.  Our farthest contact was 5300 miles, to Japan, using about 50 watts of transmitter power; comparable to an average porch light.”

When I arrived on scene, Peter told me they had contacted the International Space Station, and I admit that I thought they were pulling my leg, taking advantage of my inexperience and gullibility. They even showed me a homebuilt antenna they claimed to have used to talk to space, made from PVC pipe with arms crafted from pieces of metal measuring tape, adding to my incredulity. As it turns out, they actually did accomplish this feat of radio wizardry with the gear on hand, and had the digital record to prove it; very impressive, to say the least.

 Half Moon Bay ARC also participated in Field Day, setting up operations on Venice Beach, successfully  contacting all but two states in the US, as well as Canada, Guatemala, and Hawaii. Voice and Morse code were used, and they had a great turnout with plenty of public visitors. I’m looking forward to visiting them at next year’s Field Day, if I’m invited, and maybe even if I’m not!  J