Salt Lake County ARES Updates

What is ARES?

ARES is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a project supported by the ARRL to facilitate extending emergency services to our communities.  ARES is divided into Sections and smaller groups, and our own local groups is called the Salt Lake County ARES (or SLCo ARES).

Our own Dan (N7XDL) is the new EC (Emergency Coordinator) for SLCo ARES.  He has asked that the following information be posted on the MARC web site.

Time Reporting

The ARRL used to provide a mechanism for reporting volunteer hours associated with ARES via their ARES Connect utility.  This tool has been discontinued, but ARES members still need to be able to report their time to the ARRL.  SLCo ARES is using a Google Form to input the information.  The form can be found here:  https://forms.gle/sWk5Q1qR2xRi7eyv6

Please enter your data PRIOR to the last week of the month, every month, so that the data can be compiled and submitted to the ARRL before the end of the month.

Standard Load and Radio Configuration Files

SLCo ARES has spent a great deal of time working on the Standard Load.  While individual clubs will be maintaining their own versions of it, the basic template is maintained by SLCo ARES.  They are also setting up a repository of standard load files and radio configuration files.  These files will be stored in a Google Drive (at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1N5DF663VUrLslCVH4nj1glAFu5acBKc0?usp=sharing) for general access.

Please send any standard load files you have or have generated in any format (ideally CSV, RT Systems files, or CHIRP radio image files) directly to Dan (N7XDL) or Rian (KF7QGY) for inclusion in this repository.  NOTE, we are not including Dan's or Rian's e-mail addresses here to help limit their spam exposure... if you do not have their e-mail addresses, please use our Contact Form to ask for them and we will be happy to let you know.  You can also find their e-mail addresses on QRZ.com.

Load files should be named according to the following standard to simplify classification:  <Make>_<Model>_<Date>.<Format>.  For example, a CSV file for a Yaesu FTM-400 DR mobile radio that was produced on 7 July 2021 would be named Yaesu_FTM400DR_070721.CSV, while a CHIRP image for an AnyTone AT-5888 UV III produced on 21 June 2021 would be named AnyTone_AT5888UVIII_062121.IMG.

WinLink Training

ARES recently sponsored an introduction to WinLink.  The presentation and associated chat text are available at the following links:

Presentation:  https://youtu.be/bl4aFN-sJjY

Chat Text:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jQBXnpiZxArKo5erTpLv8KmdAYelkYXF/view?usp=sharing

There will also be a four week training series starting in August.  You do NOT need to be an ARES member to attend.  The training will be provided over Zoom and is being coordinated by Oliver (K6OLI) from the Los Angeles Northeast District ARES in conjunction with Utah ARES.

In order to attend, you must first sign up at https://forms.gle/affxfCuNij7K7fMu6.  Once you have signed up, you will be added to a mailing list to receive the Zoom link(s).  The first session will be on 30 June 2021 at 7:00 PM MDT.  If you have any questions, please contact the Utah Section EC Tyler (N7UWX).  (Again, use our contact form if you don't know Tyler's e-mail address.)

And Finally...

SLCo ARES suggests that you read and heed the following article by Lucy Jones of the Los Angeles Times:  Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Meeting 3 June 2021 – Election Results

We held elections for the board positions at the club meeting last night.  If you were not there, you didn't get a vote.  We also experimented with Zoom-casting and recording the meeting in the new location at the fire department.  It seemed to go well.

Newly elected board members are the following:

  • President:  Gordon Anderson (KE7LWB)
  • Vice-president:  Jan Peterson (KD7ZWV)
  • Treasurer:  Sherwood Preece (KF7YCT)
  • Secretary:  Brad Olson (KJ7RPV)

In addition, several other positions and people were proposed:

  • News Letter Editor:  (proposed) Karen Kezerian (KC7NQP)
  • News Letter Staff:  Ragnar Bjorge (N7LCR), Dan Lundwall (N7XDL)
  • Web Master(s):  Jan Peterson (KD7ZWV), Max Walker (KJ7WLV)
  • Training Committee:  Dave Carr (KH7IHU), Jens ??, Stan Lawrence (KE7SL), Dan Lundwall (N7XDL), Ragnar Bjorge (N7LCR), Jan Peterson (KD7ZWV)
  • Activities Director:  TBD
  • Net Control Coordinator:  Brad Olson (KJ7RPV)

A recording of the meeting is included below:

Returning to In Person Meetings

As was announced on the net this evening, the club is returning to in person meetings starting this week with the meeting on 3 June.  Along with the return to meetings is a new location!  We will now be meeting at Murray Fire Department Station 81 in their beautiful conference/training room!  I will update the Meeting Schedule and Location page accordingly.  If you are vaccinated, please feel free to not wear a mask to the meeting.  If you are not vaccinated or have extenuating circumstances that involve you wishing to continue wearing a mask, please wear one and don't feel embarrassed to do so.  We want everyone to be comfortable and feel safe.  We will be maintaining some amount of social distancing during the meeting (no group hugs).  Sorry, Ragnar, but pants at least will be required... do not wear just a Speedo.

This week's meeting is doubly important as we will be having elections for new club officers.  As you (hopefully) know, our fearless leader, Dan (N7XDL) has accepted the position of Emergency Coordinator for Salt Lake County ARES and is unable to fill both positions with the care and support that they both require.  Since our by laws call for new club officers every two years, and the current board has been serving for three years now (thanks to COVID-19), it is past time for us to have these elections.

At this point, I don't know if we will be supporting the Zoom sessions during the in-person meetings.  I would like to continue doing so, but I need to check out the venue and determine what support there is for video conferencing from Station 81.  I will be doing so this week prior to the meeting on Thursday, so watch your e-mail boxes for an update.  If we can't support the Zoom sessions, we will still look at continuing to record the meetings for presentation via YouTube on the club web site.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.  It will be great to see you all in person once again!

“Advanced Topics” Meeting – 13 May 2021

Okay, we didn't really have an advanced topics meeting this week.  Instead, several of us got together at the repeater site and helped clean up the area.  This mainly involved removing trash and getting rid of weeds and other overgrowth.  Pictures of the event have been added to the Club Repeaters page.

Basic Topics Meeting – 6 May 2021

We had a different kind of meeting today.  In lieu of training, we discussed several things that will be affecting the club moving forward.

For starters, we used the new Murray repeater located at the Murray Animal Shelter for our check-in net this evening.  The repeater sounded great and nearly all checkins were totally clean and full quieting.  Please take a look at our Club Repeaters page for more information about the new repeater.  While this repeater has a power output of only 40W, it has an effective radiated power of around 300W due to the gain antenna and the antenna's placement at the 180 foot level of the tower that was on this site.  This repeater provides an excellent resource for 1.25m communications across the entire Salt Lake valley.

To show our thanks for Murray City for sponsoring this repeater, Dan (N7XDL) proposed that we take our next scheduled club meeting next week, 13 May 2021, starting at 6:30 PM and meet at the repeater site to clean up the area.  Please bring weed whackers, rakes, work gloves, saws, and whatever else you think you might need to help out.  Dan will be sending out an announcement via e-mail to the club membership regarding this scheduling change.  I will be deferring my discussion of the legal ramifications of our favorite Chinese radios until the following week's general club meeting.

Dan was also talking with Joey (KI7BQM), who is the Murray City emergency manager and our fire department representative.  Joey informs us that Murray City will be adding some amateur radio equipment to the city owned communications truck, including a dual band antenna mounted on the extendable mast.  We will do a little presentation on that vehicle at a later date.

Murray City has also started their CERT training again, and will be putting on a special class for MARC members.  There will be no charge for this training, which will consist of five sessions, typically about two hours each.  Personal equipment for CERT response will also be available for purchase, but is not required.  Additional information about this series of classes will be made available when it gets a little closer.

On to a more personal note, Dan, our fearless leader and the founder and president of MARC has been selected to be the new Salt Lake County ARES Emergency Coordinator.  Dan expects this to take quite a bit of his time and is concerned about impacts it may have on the operation of MARC.  He will be sending out several surveys over the next couple of weeks to get feedback from the club membership about how this should be handled, including things such as a change in the board of MARC and who and how the monthly training sessions will be handled going forward.

Please watch for these surveys and respond in a timely fashion.

Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's meeting.  We had sixteen people in attendance, which, while not a new record, is still a good turnout.  We would love to see some of the less active members start attending these Zoom sessions until such time as we are able to meet in person again.

Club Repeater is Live!

Our club's new repeater on 223.96 MHz with a PL of 103.5 Hz is live and on the air.

The contractor came to install the antenna and tie in the feed line on Thursday, 22 April 2021.  Several members of the club were in attendance to "help" and kibitz.  The mounting brace/extension was first prepared, and then the contractor ascended the tower to the 180-ish foot level.  A rope was dropped from a pulley attached near the top of the tower and club members aided in pulling the mounting brace, antenna, assorted tools, and the feed line up to the top.

Once installed, the power to the repeater was turned on (the basic repeater configuration had been pre-installed) and the repeater was on the air!

Check out the Club Repeaters page for pictures!

We especially thank Murray City for their contributions in getting this repeater set up, and especially for providing the site and utilities.  This repeater's central location will be instrumental in providing reliable communications in the event of an emergency, allowing our city to respond effectively.

Thanks also to the Murray City Fire Department for spearheading this effort and for the club members who helped out with the installation.

Advanced Topics Class – 8 April 2021 – Radio Linking via Internet (IRLP and EchoLink)

Slides:  IRLP_and_EchoLink
Link to the IT Crowd episode referenced in the presentation:   https://youtu.be/iDbyYGrswtg

Links from the presentation: