From Don Steinbach:

This was a City/County ARES/RACES drill.

We had nine licensed ham participants — not bad for a Saturday morning given all the other things going on:

  • Peter AA6PM
  • Lyle KB6OKO
  • Jeff N6ADE
  • Stan AB6SR
  • Davina KM6YEP
  • Paul KM6YEO
  • Larry KG6GMN
  • Jack KM6ZWR
  • Don AE6PM 

We started Saratoga checkins at 1000 and almost immediately got wrapped up with the County since they started taking message traffic instead of continuing with city checkins. All communication was via voice, no packet. Fortunately the folks in the field stayed with us until the logjam broke at about 1015. I made it a point to keep them informed as to what was happening while Peter dealt with the County and that likely helped keep us together. 

Once again we proved that we need two, preferably three, people at the EOC. Not everyone needs to have a license since there is always a “control operator” present, so an unlicensed person could be operating one of the radios. Something we should keep in mind in the future to possibly augment our resources. 

We conducted comm checks between the EOC and (1) Saratoga Retirement Community (2) Sub-Acute Saratoga Children’s Hospital (3) Prospect Center (4) Prospect High (5) Saratoga High and (6) Saint Andrews. All were successful as expected. We didn’t test the EOC-to-EOC radio. The last test was May 1. 

Lessons learned:

  • We need to kill the voice status feedback from the Kenwood TM-V71. It kicks in whenever we switch modes and causes unnecessay delay and adds confusion
  • It’s unclear that the frequencies programmed into the Kenwood TM-V71 at the primary EOC is the same as what’s at the alternate EOC. The two EOCs, Saratoga Retirement and (now) the trailer(s) should be identical IMHO. Memory channel and frequency.
  • It didn’t occur to me to power up both two-meter radios, so we were using the Kenwood TM-V71 for both the County and Saratoga. Bad mistake on my part. Again, a second operator would have discovered that immediately. 

Peter did a great job running the show while I tried to keep up with the paperwork and tracking. 

That’s it. Don – AE6PM