The NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour stop in Miami at the US Coast Guard Air Station Miami located at Opa-Locka Executive Airport on Friday, May 12th. Two USAF C-130 hurricane hunter aircraft and one NOAA P-3 aircraft will be onsite!
Hendry County Emergency Management is proud to partner with FEMA and the University of Hawaii’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center in delivering a FREE four (4) hour presentation of AWR-343 – Hurricane Awareness at the EOC on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 0900.
This training will discuss the latest hurricane science in forecasting and warning in addition to ways to better mitigate the impacts of high winds, heavy rain, and storm surge.
See the flyer below for details or go here to register. A minimum of 20 people must register for the class to occur. All are welcome to attend.
Pretty much sums it up. We’ll be discussing what we’d like to do for third and fourth quarter; lessons learned from first quarter festival activity, and other hammy stuff. Hope to see you at Beef’s in Labelle.
You know things are getting serious when you measure your antenna in kilometers…
The FCC has published FCC-17-33A1 that adopts rules to implement certain radio frequency allocation decisions from the World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 and 2007, including adding two new bands to the Amateur Radio Service. It allocates 135.7-137.8 kHz and 472-479 kHz to the amateur service on a secondary basis for General, advanced, and Extra class licensees.
TL;DR: from the Order:
EIRP is limited to five watts on 630 meters, except for that portion of Alaska that is within 800 kilometers of the Russian Federation’s borders, where the maximum EIRP is limited to one watt. Maximum antenna height is 60 meters.
EIRP on 2200 meters is one watt.
The amateur service will share this band with power line communication (PLC) signals (among other users) which electric utility companies use under Part 15 (unprotected and noninterference basis). The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) objected to the proposal, citing interference potential.
The FCC sided with the Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation that a secondary amateur service allocation to the bands will provide new opportunities for amateur operators to experiment with equipment, techniques, antennas, and propagation.
“Amateurs wishing to operate on the band will need to notify the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) and be separated at least 1km from electric transmission lines that carry power line communication (PLC) signals that use the same band.” — Wikipedia
The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida, was a high risk residential commitment facility operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice for male youth 13 to 21 years of age who were committed by the Court. The school originally opened in 1900 as the Florida State Reform School. It was later known as the Florida Industrial School for Boys (1914-1957), the Florida School for Boys (1957-1967), and finally the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. The school closed in 2011.
Lenox Williams was born in White City, Alabama on February 9, 1932. He began his career in Marianna in 1960, when he was hired as a psychologist at Florida School for Boys. He later advanced to superintendent and became the longest serving superintendent in the history of Dozier School for Boys. He died on July 26, 2010.
The 31st Clewiston Sugar Festival is in the books, and by most any measure it was a mass-of-humanity good time. Live music, shiny custom cars, old-school steam farm equipment, and food, food, food.
The participating amateur radio operators of Big Lake ARC wore their Reservist colors as Hendry EM representatives working out of the Joint Command Post supporting Hendry County EMS, Clewiston Fire, Montura Fire, Pioneer Fire, Hendry Sheriff’s Office, and Clewiston Police.
Incident Command was Clewiston PD’s Lieutenant Aaron Angell, backed by Clewison PD’s Debi McNeil, Hendry EMS Captain Adrian Damms, Hendry EM Director Brian Newhouse KJ4WIC, EM Logistics Chief Cristina Mercado, and E-911 Technician Brandi Frame KN4AFW.
After the group briefing from Lieutenant Angell, the hams were honored with a personal team briefing outlining their expected duties as support personnel.
KC1FLU set a high bar for net control at the go-box with measured tones, time and station checks, and regular information updates on both the amateurs 446.000 ground frequency, and the local Clewiston 2-meter repeater.
The go-box is a bright yellow Pelican case containing an Alinco DR-635 dual bander and matching 32-amp switched power supply. A Diamond X50A dual-band antenna gets the signal out.
KI4LFF, KM4EWE, and KI4QIQ also set a high performance mark as Rovers, supporting Public Safety teams in the field, and acting as dispatched eyes-on-site for specific areas of the festival.
On three occasions they helped sweep the grounds looking for parents separated from their children, and to help locate a mentally-disabled man for his family. The Rover teams were out the door immediately after a quick briefing, moments after the calls came in for the missing individuals.
They were equipped with County 800-MHz public safety radios for direct communication with the Command Post as well as their UHF amateur communications.
An exercise was planned to simulate a failure of the 800-MHz system. Hams would have been dispatched to the EMS strike teams to act as their communicators. A spike in activity among festival-goers requiring increased attention of Public Safety personnel about the same time led to the decision to postpone the exercise.
KC0SJU wore his Red Cross vest during the festival, manning a responder rehab tent with water and snacks.
Breakfast was served up from St. Martin’s Episcopal Church courtesy of Hendry County EC, WA4PAM.
WD4RCC acted as unit leader for the amateur’s participation in the Sugar Festival, to which all the senior members of Joint Command gave high marks for readiness, flexibility, and cooperation with County and City Public Safety staff.
The takeaways from the deployment were mostly technical. The command post was located in a room that was acoustically highly reflective. The noise level with multiple radios going off simultaneously was taxing the focus of everyone in the room.
Some modifications to the go-box were suggested including a front-firing speaker, or a way to prop the box lid to direct the sound towards the operator. Also, keeping some duct tape in the box to secure power and coaxial cabling to floors and walls in a busy environment.
Unlike February’s Labelle Swamp Cabbage Festival that had the hams exceeding the range limits of handy-talkies on UHF simplex along a two mile parade route, the Clewiston Sugar Festival was more compact, all within nine city blocks. (Think a tic-tac-toe grid.) For this deployment, the large Diamond antenna was overkill. A smaller dual band whip attached to a connector mounted through the go-box would have been sufficient.
The Labelle Swamp Cabbage Festival is a February tradition, pulling in more than 6,500 visitors to Hendry County. The 51st edition over the weekend of February 26th and 27th was one of the largest, with over one hundred vendors offering food, drinks, crafts, games, and live music.
This year, legacy country band Shenandoah was on the ticket, kicking off their 30th Anniversary Tour, along with two days of entertainment, food, river cruises, food, car shows, and the Swamp Cabbage Parade, Saturday and Sunday, February 25 & 26.
Fifteen members of Big Lake ARC and Hendry CERT worked the Parade Saturday morning, taking assignments at key intersections along the route, and then after the parade, throughout the festival grounds.
KN4AFW performed well as net control, maintaining communications on 446.000 simplex and the local Labelle repeater.
During the parade, one of the Reservists fell ill due to the heat, and the difficulty of moving emergency vehicles through a densely packed parade route was never more clear. A Hendry EMS team checked the Reservist out, and sent him home to rest. Thanks to Belle’s Ice Cream Bar for their hospitality during the action.
A missing child put everyone on alert for a few minutes. KN4AFU and KN4AFV were able to locate the parents within moments of the alert being posted by Sheriff’s dispatch.
Hendry County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Billy Griffin, in a note of appreciation to EM Director Brian Newhouse KJ4WIC, said, “Thank you so much for your assistance during the Swamp Cabbage Festival. The group of volunteers you have are Top Notch and I enjoyed them immensely . Please share with them my sincerest Thanks and appreciation for all they did that day to make the 2017 Swamp Cabbage Festival not only successful; but safe as well. Great job from some even greater people.”
The takeaway from this event was that 70cm proved to be at the edge of range using handhelds for all functions, including net control at the command post. Future operations will use a higher-powered mobile 70cm at the command post with an external antenna.
This past January 21st, three Hendry County Emergency Management Reservists passed the technician test and joined amateur radio as KN4AFU, KN4AFV, and KN4AFW.
With the advent of vanity calls, just about any unused combination is available, so prefixes (the part before the District number) don’t hold the identity they once had.
But, long timers raised an eyebrow this time, since “KN” (and “WN”) calls were what specifically identified a novice licensee in years past.
Licensed for 35 years, Pete “The Greek” Varounis NL7XM, is amateur radio’s callsign historian. He maintains editions of the telephone-directory sized Radio Amateurs Callbook for researching callsign origins and histories for amateurs the world over. Pete played a part in the development of the amateur radio backstory in the ABC-TV sitcom Last Man Standing, by creating authentic callsigns for off-screen radio ham characters in the amateur radio heavy episode, The Fight.
So, Pete was clearly the guy to ask about the “KN” curiosity.
The history of US Amateur callsigns series is an enormous topic, complex and full of contradictions.
The new KN4xxx's will likely temporarily be viewed as a moderate curiosity, but real old timers know the FCC has always recycled callsigns and groups. The vanity system is a perfect example of this practice.
There are only a handful of W#xx (a.k.a. "1x2s") alive today who are original holders of those calls. Most have had 4, 5, or more previous holders over the last 60 to nearly 90 years!
The intent of the Novice Class License (introduced in July 1951) was to inspire enthusiasm for the art and science. A one year mandatory expiration provided the catalyst to prompt one to upgrade to Technician or General Class, or start all over again.
Until the late 1970s, these Novices were issued distinctive callsign's with the letter "N" (or later, "V" in some crowded Districts) in the 2nd place of the prefix, right after the "W" or "K" and before the District number. They all had 3-letter suffixes. If you successfully upgraded in time, that "N" was dropped, so KN6ABC became K6ABC, or later in the 70's, maybe even WA6ABC.
The upgrade rate was around 50-60%. Many of those Novice callsigns were recycled only a few years later during the era of the Novice Class campaign.
Although there are still almost 12,000 grandfathered Novice ticket holders today, the "N" designator no longer carries the distinction it once did. It was only a matter of time before the 4th District would get sequentially issued KN4xxx calls after consuming the KM4xxx series.
The unusual (and cool) thing now however, is this hasn't happened on a grand scale for decades!
For example KN4AFW was first issued to 15-year old Novice Chase Hearn around November 1954. Chase is alive and well, still using the upgraded callsign, K4AFW!
Vy 73, PeteTheGreek / NL7XM
Hams wanting to know who had their call before them accounts for 90% of Pete’s research efforts. He’s likely to be very busy for the next few years as the “KN” series works through the alphabet.