Archive for April, 2011

Live Online Scanner for Potter and Randall County

Cory Elliott, KD5ROK, has assembled and hosted the only live online scanner in the Amarillo area. Cory’s scanner feed covers Potter and Randall County for 24/7 coverage of local public safety radio traffic. This is a handy resource which allows you to turn your computer, or smart phone–through the use of applications, into a virtual scanner. Using your computer or phone as a scanner will free up your ham gear to be dedicated to ham radio use so you don’t miss a single transmission. Also, while traveling out of the area, you will still be able to monitor events in the Amarillo area in real time. It is worth noting, that Cory has added an audio compressor which ensures that the audio output levels are the same for all transmissions heard on the feed. Without the compressor, some transmissions may be extremely loud while others are barely heard. This is a very clean installation and a useful resource in our area, and we thank you for your work, Cory.

Equipment used: Motorola Radio, Comet GP-3 antenna on a tower at 30 feet with LMR-400 coax, and also an audio compressor and EQ for audio shaping.

Click here to listen online to: Amarillo Fire 1,2,3, Amarillo Police 2 & 3, Amarillo Emergency Service, Randall County Sheriff, Randall County Fire, Randall County ESU, Texas Fire 1 & 2, Potter County Fire 1 & 2

 

 

 


ACS Facility Supervisor Training

Sheltering and Mass Care are critical operations in the aftermath of a major disaster in any community. And given the relative remoteness of Texas Panhandle to the capabilities that exist in other parts of Texas it is critical that we have a robust capability to assist displaced citizens. To assist communities in Texas better prepare for this critical operation, Texas DSHS has contracted with Baptist Community & Family Services (BCFS) to work with Amarillo to further develop an Alternate Care Site (ACS) capability that could also be used as a Functional Needs Support Service (FNSS) shelter or Medical Special Needs (MSN) shelter.

While BCFS is working with Emergency Management and Public Health to identify potential shelter locations and what is required to make them functional in a disaster, the final component of the program is to provide ACS Facility Supervisor Training. I would encourage anyone who potentially could work in a shelter management role to participate in this training.

ACS Facility Supervisor Training:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Amarillo/Potter/Randall Emergency Operations Center

Course Description:

The ACS Facility Supervisor training is a 3-hour course designed specifically for those who may be tasked with maintaining or working in an ACS facility upon activation in the event of a local emergency. Medical Reserve Corp members, Red Cross shelter team members, nursing students, volunteers from local faith-based organizations, public health employees and any others you designate for this purpose are all encouraged to attend.

Topics for the training include:

  • ACS functions
  • ACS facility selection and set up
  • ACS accessibility basics and barrier workarounds (reasonable modifications)
  • Patient intake, registration and tracking
  • Logistical supply requirements
  • Recommended volunteer and professional staffing ratios
  • Volunteer roles & responsibilities
  • ACS facility management best practices, policies & procedures
  • Overall ACS facilities management techniques, including suggested ICS structure and facility management organizational charts

I appreciate your consideration in supporting this training. Please RSVP to myself and pass the word to anyone you think might be interested in participating.

kevin.starbuck@amarillo.gov

Thanks, Kevin

Kevin Starbuck, CEM, Emergency Management Coordinator

Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management


PARC ARES Now Has A Twitter Account

The Panhandle Amateur Radio Club’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service group (PARC ARES) now has a Twitter account, @PanhandleARES, as an extension of the www.PanhandleARES.org website. There is no cost to the PARC for this account, and it will be maintained by KE5ZRT. The Twitter account will allow us to communicate more easily with the surrounding ARES groups in the region. We will also be able to receive and forward information from local, regional and national emergency services groups such as FEMA, TxDOT, Red Cross, local and national media, NWS personnel and more.  Further, @PanhandleARES will facilitate another avenue of dissemination of information. Please follow @PanhandleARES for news of local events related to the PARC, PARC ARES, and pertinent local emergency information.

If you are new to Twitter, or you are unfamiliar with Twitter, please check the following link for more information: http://twitter.com/about


Fox Hunting for Randall County

On April 10, 2011, Amarillo area amateur radio operators (hams) were asked to assist in tracking down a signal which was jamming the input frequency of the Randall County Fire Department repeater by using radio direction finding techniques known as Fox Hunting. Numerous hams across Amarillo provided signal reports from their fixed and mobile stations which indicated the interfering signal was not coming from inside the city limits. Armed with mobile rigs and high gain mobile antennas, KE5WXN and W5MJM of Amarillo were able to determine that the signal became audible while heading south from Amarillo at about McCormick Road and Interstate-27, and the signal increased as they continued South. Onboard a DPS helicopter, KC5HQY was able to further determine that the interfering signal was originating from Happy, TX. KE5ZRT and KE5ZRU, using a directional homebrew tape measure beam antenna (on loan from N5LUL) and a handheld transceiver, were able to isolate the signal to within 50 yards of the source of the interference which was determined to be one of two locations in Happy, TX. By tuning slightly off frequency and removing the rubber-duck antenna from a handheld transceiver, and through the process of elimination, N5SUJ and W5AMA were able to successfully isolate and terminate the source of the interfering signal which was determined to be a decommissioned county repeater with an opposite frequency pair, known as an extender. This was an excellent opportunity for local hams to serve their community by putting their amateur radio skills to use in a real-world application.


WTX Hams Use Twitter EchoLink and RF for Health and Welfare Traffic During WTX Wildfires

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During the wildfires at Midland and Ft. Myers on April 9th, KE5MKT of Midland became aware of individuals, via local repeater traffic, who were trying to locate family members who had possibly been evacuated. After exhausting other means of obtaining information, and while preparing to evacuate his own home, KE5MKT posted an urgent request for information related to the evacuations on his Twitter account. KE5ZRT and KE5ZRU of Amarillo were monitoring the newly created Twitter account representing the PARC ARES group, @PanhandleARES, and responded to the request for information by calling the Sherriff’s departments at nearby Fort Stockton, Alpine and Balmorhea. It was determined that 300 residents had been evacuated from Fort Myers to the Red Cross shelter at Balmorhea. KE5ZRU relayed this information via EchoLink to KE5MKT who was then able to share this information via RF and Twitter to locals that needed the information. Throughout the night, KE5MKT continued to pass health and welfare traffic utilizing both Twitter and amateur radio. Additionally, the Big Bend Emergency net was initiated on 3.922 to aid in communication efforts.


Childress Gets a New Repeater

Jim Moody Jr, AF5SS, reported today that Childress, TX has an amateur radio repeater once again. The output is 146.960 (-) with no tone. The repeater output is 100 watts, and the antenna is at 300 feet on a TX DOT tower in NW Childress County. The repeater is sponsored by PDARC, and the current call is N5OLP, which will soon be changed to N5OX. It is an open repeater, so give them a call as you are passing through. Signal reports are encouraged.


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