Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Amateur Radio Involvement in the 2010 Georgia HURREX
Posted on June 30, 2010 by kf4lmt
On 28 and 29 June, 2010 the State of Georgia held its annual HURREX (Hurricane Exercise). Amateur Radio operators under the auspices of ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) took part and tested their abilities to provide back up communications to first responders and GEMA (Georgia Emergency Management Agency). Amateur radio operators were positioned in various places throughout the state including the response area in Savannah, a staging area in Dublin, and the GEMA EOC in Atlanta.
Steve Bramham, W4SKB, the ARES DEC (District Emergency Coordinator) for the Georgia State Patrol was located in Savannah with GEMA’s INTEROP 1 communications trailer. Steve set up amateur radio communications via 2 Meter and 70cm repeaters, HF voice communications on 3.975 LSB, and D-Star voice. Unfortunately he had some HF radio issues with INTEROP 1 and that is where local Savannah hams came into the picture. Ralph Quinn, W4REQ, Guy McDonald, K4GTM and I spent several hours out at INTEROP 1 which was located at the Savannah International Airport on Monday evening. Efforts to troubleshoot the problem seemed to point to a feedline issue, so we ended up deciding to put up a temporary replacement using some line and feedline of Ralphs and a G5RV Jr. of mine. We accomplished the task by around 2200 and hoped that everything would work for Steve in the morning. Come Tuesday morning, Steve’s automatic tuner wouldn’t tune the G5RV Jr. for 80 Meters (the Jr. being designed for 40-10 Meters). Luckily we were able to borrow an MFJ-949C from Heyward Lovett, KT4RW; I picked up the tuner from Heyward and carried it out to Steve. The 949C tuned the antenna system just fine. We quickly had INTEROP 1 on the air and were able to check in to the 0900 ARES Net on 3.975 LSB.
After we got the HF radio up and running, I hung around and helped Steve get the D-Star station operational through the Pembroke D-Star repeater on 145.300. Just after 1000, I left the airport and went over to Hutchinson Island to help Steve with a GEMA request; the wanted to see if we would be able to provide backup communications to units in that area with handheld radios through the 146.970 repeater. We conducted a successful handheld radio check from the area of the Trade Center and proved we could do it on simplex mobile to mobile. I was able to talk to Greg Tillman, N4VAD on 146.520 while Greg was west of the airport in Pooler. That capability seemed to make an impression on the GEMA representative and could lead to deeper ARES involvement in further exercises.
I believe that we showed GEMA what Amateur Radio is capable of doing on Monday and Tuesday. A group of amateur radio operators, on short notice was able to overcome difficulty and adapt to a changing situation. Amazingly, almost all of the coordination for troubleshooting the antenna issue and replacing the antenna was done over the air via the 146.970 and 442.700 repeaters; we showed that we didn’t need telephones or cellphones and could accomplish the task with what we had on hand.
That's a 100% pass rate for our most recent class. We still have a couple yet to test at a later date.
Call signs should be out soon and will post them here on the blog.