Monday, August 27, 2007

This is truly a great resource for all of involved in Ward and Stake Emergency Communications. By way of introduction, my name is Mark Kelley. I'm the Stake Emergency Communications Specialist for the Parker Colorado Stake. We held our very first ham net in the history of our Stake, on January 7th of this year. From the time of our first net, we have also worked together with the Castle Rock Colorado Stake. They could only identify 3 licensed hams in their Stake at the time and it seemed logical that we work together. As both Parker and Castle Rock Stakes are geographically challenged, we were able to secure an agreement with the Castle Rock Repeater Group which is a wide coverage repeater. We hold our weekly nets there on 146.67Mhz and have permission to operate there and on 145.400Mhz.

I taught my first Technician's Class licensing course in May of 2006, before I was ever called to this position. Out of that class we licensed four new hams within our Stake. I was called to my Stake position in November. At that time we were able to identify 13 hams within our Stake boundaries, plus the 4 new additions from the class. We were able to sponsor another class in May of this year. From this class we saw 12 new hams created in our Stake, another 6 hams in the Castle Rock Stake and had a non-member get his license as well. Michael Poor, KBØQKY, Stake Emergency Communications Specialist from the Castle Rock Stake are co-teaching yet another class for our two Stakes. He's got another 12 new Technician's Class candidates and the Parker Stake has another 2. The Highlands Ranch Stake has also joined in on the fun and should end up with 3 new hams in their Stake. Since that time, we've seen some move-ins and have identified a few more whose addresses had not been changed on their licenses to reflect their location within our Stake Boundaries. It's certainly easy enough to scrub the Stake Directory against the FCC ULS database.

We have our weekly nets. We've had one communications exercise so far this year. We were able to determine that, minus the 146.67 and 145.400 repeaters we're currently using, we can cover the Parker Stake via crossband repeater, strategically located from the home of David (Stake Preparedness Specialist/KCØKCE). One of the local ARES groups has primary priviledges on 146.67. We're exploring coverage on 145.400 which may or may not cover our entire Stake. Without repeater coverage, communication via simplex is challenging to a couple of parts of our Stake due to geography.

Getting the program up and running in our wards has been challenging. We still don't have specialists called in all the wards. We actually have Communications Specialists called in only about half.

We are proceeding with the wards which are ready to launch the program which David Lowe posted for our Stake, which calls for dividing our Stake into blocks, heading by Block Captains. Communication with perspective members will occur using both Ham Radio VHF/UHF and FRS radios. I'll let everybody know of struggles and challenges as we move forward. We've seen the Westminster Stake successfully use the same type of program which we're implementing for the Parker Stake and am confident, that with persistence and hard work, we can make the program successful. Our goal is to be able to report the status of every member living within our Stake during an emergency event and to be able to have a priesthood conduit to assist non-members as well, living within our Stake boundaries.

We are now having regular monthly Face-to-Face meetings, alternating between Parker and Castle Rock Stakes. Our last one was a simple antenna party where we built J-Pole antennas for use by those who are challenged with HTs with a simple Rubber Duck antenna. Our meeting in September will involve more training in simple net and emergency communications operations.

Should anybody have questions of our group, we're ready to help that way. We would certainly like to establish a dialogue with other Stakes Emcomm Specialists and learn from your successes as we grow and expand our efforts.

Regards -

Mark Kelley
Parker Colorado Stake Emcomm Spec

1 comment:

Emergency Response Communications said...

This is good information Mark. This is definately the type of information that we would like to see others share, so that we can all learn together and help each other. Thanks for your effort. Keep us posted of your progress. We review this information regularly. Thanks
Richard Humpherys