Tag Archives: Emergency

My Every Day (almost) Carry

Well, September is almost over, and with it, National Preparedness Month. So, I wanted to go over things that I carry with me on a daily basis.

Most basically, I have my keys. I carry two sets so I don’t have to deal with my work keys on the weekends. I do keep a SOG Key Knife on my everyday key ring. It is well under the limit to be considered a “weapon” on a college campus. But it does come in handy for opening boxes, etc.

Besides my keys that I keep in my pocket, everything else varies as to if I have it in my bag, on my person, or in the truck. I obviously don’t carry everything all day every day. Some of these items do not play nicely with working on campus, so they either stay locked in the truck, or at home depending on the day.

I should also note that I have a Georgia Weapons Carry License. So, the Georgia rules allow for university employees to keep weapons locked in my vehicle, even when parked on campus – even though most of the time I park in city spots.

The Bag

 

What doesn’t fit in my pockets goes in here. It is a SOG Ninja bag. It has a customized name tag with my name and radio call sign on the velcro for the morale patch. Also shown is my handheld radio, which I will discuss more in a bit, and a GPB Camelbak water bottle.

Technology

 

I generally have my work issued iPad (2nd Gen). Everywhere I go I have my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S4 (soon to be upgraded, I hope). Being a smart phone, I obviously have it loaded down. I do have it encrypted, with a complex pass code. Additionally, a secondary code is required to access my cloud accounts, such as Evernote. Also thrown in for good measure is a pair of earbuds.

The radio is a Baofeng UV-82. I have it programmed with the repeaters for my home county, and all of the adjacent counties as well. Even though the company doesn’t have the best reputation, it is in my price range, covers both the 2m and 70cm bands, and will receive NOAA broadcasts and FM broadcast frequencies.

Tool Kit

In my bag, I keep a Maxpedition Fatty Pocket Organizer. Inside, I keep:

 

First Aid

 

  • Obviously, a first aid kit
  • Listerine spray
  • Ibuprofen
  • Gloves

Not pictured

  • Snacks
  • Stock of other OTC meds (allergy, sinus, etc)

Charging Equipment

Since there are days I spend a lot of time away from the office, I have a large battery charging pack, a smaller one, and chargers for both my phone and iPad.

Self Defense

I have a S&W Tactical Pen, Gerber Fast Draw Tanto, and depending on the day, I go back and forth between a Tarus PT 609 and a PT-22.

de KF4JAL, EC Baldwin County

ares-cl-lrgWell, since it is finally posted on the website, I guess I can go ahead and announce that I have been appointed as the Emergency Coordinator for Baldwin County, Georgia through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

As you can see from my Training Page, I have been working towards becoming more involved with ARES for a while. After I finished the “strongly suggested” courses, I realized there was no formal organization in my home county. A few friends and I got together and decided to work towards reactivating the program.

It took a while to work through the channels, but I received the official word Sunday morning that my appointment was approved. I am excited for this opportunity to work with my fellow Baldwin County radio amateurs, the state leadership, and the local emergency management team. Public service was one of the things that originally attracted to amateur radio, and it is an honor to now have even a minor leadership role.

Field Day 2014

Well, another year’s Field Day has come and gone. And, being Field Day, a comedy of errors made things interesting. To start with, I needed to be two places at one time. So, I started out the day at the Piedmont ARES site in Putnam County. After I couple of hours, I headed south to the Milledgeville ARC site at Georgia College’s West Campus.

Over the course of the day, we had a generator go out, a power supply stop working (probably as a result of the generator), and an antenna fail. But, even with all that and a thunderstorm for good measure, we still managed to have a great time eating barbecue and chatting about the hobby we all love.

Somehow, in the midst of all the chaos, we still managed to make some contacts. I was on HF for the first time since getting back into the hobby, and upgrading to General, and was able to get several contacts around the southwest and northeast portions of the country. A friend of mine sent me a message that Saturday night, after leaving the site, he was able to get more contacts at home working as a 1D than both the PARES and MARC sites combined. That’s how it goes I guess. But anyway, here are some pictures of the day’s events.

Join in the Fun for Field Day

Things have changed a lot in amateur radio since I was first licensed. Back then, VHF radio was a way to get out of having a cell phone, or supplemented it when you lived so far out in the country there wasn’t any signal. As I have gotten older and emerged from my unintended sabbatical, some things have changed, and yet a lot remains the same.

Technology has advanced beyond belief. There are modes in heavy use today that hadn’t even been thought of when I passed my Technician exam. But, the core function of ham radio, beyond being a fun STEM based hobby, has been and continues to be public service, especially in times of disaster. We live in a connected world, and I’m as bad as it as anybody. Between WiFi, 4G, and my smart phone, I am constantly IMing, texting, and posting to social media. When those connections become overloaded or go down completely, Ham Radio is ready to stand in the gap.

It does not take much imagination to visualize situations where it may be needed. From basic public service like volunteering for a race to emergency communications in times of widespread disasters, public service is where amateur radio operators move from hobbyests to valuable assets to emergency management.

PrintTomorrow, operators from around the United States, the world, and beyond will participate in a national emergency drill, known simply as Field Day. The purpose is simple, make as many contacts as possible within the specified time frame under less than optimal conditions. This year, the Milledgeville Amateur Radio Club will be set up at Georgia College’s West Campus. I will be out there for most of the evening, and hope to see you there. I’ll also be trying to at least stop by the Piedmont ARES site outside of Eatonton, if time allows.

Field Day is always a fun experience. The ARRL Website has a locator form for a site near you. I hope you get to join in!