News

Deployment Kits

Tom, W3TDH has been focusing on the topic of deployment kits during the last few training nets. Here is a link to the document, “Personal Go-Kit for Emergency Communications,” by Dan O-Connor, KE7HLR, that was discussed by Tom on our August 10 net.

https://www.soara.org/classes/technician/personal_go_kit_ke7hlr_2011.pdf

Tom has been working on a version of a deployment kit list that is specific to Montgomery County ARES. A copy of that document has been posted for comment by MCACS members. You must be logged into the website in order to view the document and provide comments. Here is the link: DRAFT MC ARES Deployment Kit List

Special Election to Fill Vacancy on the MCACS Board

Paul Fitzgerald, N3RQV, has stepped down from his position on the MCACS Board of Directors. We are sorry to see him go, and thank him for his service.

His departure leaves a vacancy which, according to the MCACS Bylaws, must be filled by a special election. Nominations are hereby sought for this position. You may nominate yourself or another person, but if you nominate someone else, please confirm that they are willing to serve should they be elected. You must be a Full Member of MCACS in order to serve on the board. Nominations should be sent to ataylor@mcacs.net.

Comments from Members Sought on Draft MCACS Policy Document, “Standards of Behavior and Conduct”

The MCACS board is seeking comments from any and all MCACS members regarding a draft policy document. Please click the following link for additional information.

https://mcacs.net/policies-procedures/behavior-conduct/

Field Exercise held on July 27, 2021

MCACS conducted a field exercise (technically, a drill, to use the correct FEMA term) on the evening of Jul 27, 2021.

The goal of this communications drill was to get MCACS members out of the house, provide practice setting up a station in the field, and sending third-party messages via voice and/or Winlink. Responding operators were asked to travel to a park near their home, alone or in small groups, send a message to the Montgomery County EOC (station call sign WA3YOO) and receive a response using an ICS-213 General Message Form to record the message and response. Template messages were provided to make it easy to compose a suitable exercise message.  The response was a simple acknowledgment confirming receipt of the message.

The turnout was a bit disappointing, but that could have been due to any number of factors. Participants included W3DK (who designed the exercise), WA2WDT, KC3MIX, KC3MDX, N3QYJ, and AC3N. K3CSX served as net control. KN3U simulated operation at the EOC, operating in the MAIPN Van, which was parked in his driveway.

One exercise objective was to practice using the ICS-213 message template that is built into Winlink, which several participating stations were able to do successfully. Others experienced the usual gremlins, and were able to work through them by the end of the exercise or a day or two later, demonstrating once again the value of practicing our communications skills.

Did you known that the Winlink Express software has a built-in utility to generate an ICS-309 communications log at the conclusion of an operational period? Click the following link to see log produced at WA3YOO. Winlink Express fills in the details for all Winlink traffic sent and received by the station. In this case, in addition to the Winlink traffic, WA3YOO received one ICS213 message that was transmitted by voice. KN3U typed that message into an ICS-213 blank form as it was read over the air, and subsequently added that message to the log by hand.

It is really helpful to have a blank form for transcribing received messages. Even though I’m not a touch-typist, I find I can type a message much faster than writing it out in longhand — and the result is more legible. You can download versions of all the ICS forms in PDF fillable format from the FEMA website — you can find the link in the resources section of this website. Versions are also widely available in Word, Excel, and other formats from other sources.

Link to ICS-309 Communications Log at WA3YOO

Transcribed ISC-213 message received via voice at WA3YOO

On-Air ICS Training

Back in February, we embarked on a campaign to get more of our members to complete the four FEMA courses required for full membership in MCACS. On June 8, we wrapped up our presentation of the fourth course in the series.