Alaska River Watch and Fire Status

Alert Yentna to Willow Area Reaching Flood Stage

State Fire Status

Current River Watch Flood Map

Discussions have begun with the Alaska Weather Forecasting offices.  There are some disturbing facts that may affect Alaska severally as breakup begins and spring continues. It is noted the ground is still frozen, the temperatures are rising and now the storms coming in are mainly rain and could become heavy.  So as happens every year, the ice breaks up and begins to flow down river, blocking areas and causing flooding.  Since the ground is still frozen and snow is melting in the mountains and low lands, there is no place to go except into the rivers, rising the levels.

As I had put out earlier we have been asked to assist the Fairbanks and Anchorage Weather Forecast offices by submitting reports of what we have observed.  As hams scattered around Alaska and near a lot of river and streams we would be the first to observe the water rising.  So as discussion continue with the various forecasting offices, we need to prepare for 2 things.  One lets take notice of the level of the water in are area, either driving around, at home or while flying.  First of all be very careful, we don't need to travel a lot yet until we get control of this crazy virus.  2nd, if your area has flooded in the past, its going to flood this year like the worst flood we have had in the past.  Get your important items packed in waterproof containers.  Some times zip log bags, Tupperware and storage containers can save our pictures, important papers, books and electronics.

I have been putting out info and links as to where you can go to get weather spotter training and begin training for our new ALASKA SKYWARN program we are developing.  Harry/AL6F works for the Fairbanks weather office (KL7FWX) and they have a complete ham station, with Winlink established. for emergencies.  Harry is heading up our SKYWARN program.  Carol and I have taken the weather spotter training several times and just completed it on line again, but if you haven't, go to the links I provided on the MARA ARES website www.kl7jft.org and take the course.  There is a great reference book and a small test at the end. That is step one.  Next will be the SKYWARN courses that goes further into what it's about.

SKYWARN is very critical in the lower 48 where they have hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding.  Well all we have is earthquakes, flooding and snow and wind storms.  So with our unique capabilities and scattered like we are we can pass this valuable info onto the weather forecast offices to help them do their job better and could help save your neighbor and friends.  Now you may not want to be an official spotter, that's fine, but at least you have a little knowledge that would help you to help us.

To start, safely go to your near river and streams where you've seen flooding in the past and will probably see again and put in a marker, or put a surveying tape on a tree at the edge, something for a starting reference and log in the time and date, location, (lat and long if you have it), and check it about the same time each day. Driving back and forth to the store or work once we get back to it, check it and keep track of what you find.  Maybe you have an old broken measure tape fasten it to the marker or tree so you can use binoculars from a safe distance to see how the levels have changed.  Is there ice flowing are trees or ice blocking the river or stream. Do we have erosion picking up that may affect a house, neighborhood, or road?  It doesn't take you long and it is very important.

Start monitoring the VHF and HF nets and pass info along to the Net Control or get a message to me, Don/KL7JFT or Harry/AL6F.  Hear are some links that you can use to find out about flood warnings:

River Watch Program

River Summary

Interactive River Map

Now to report weather or flooding go to these sites and please email KL7JFT and AL6F or if you have any questions.

RFC/River Forecast Center

For Fairbanks AOR:

For Anchorage AOR:

 

Chignik Bay & Sand Point Tuesday Night Earthquake

Bushmaster Operations was activated last night, the 21st to support Earthquake and possible Tsunami on the Aleutian Chain to affect Homer and Cook Inlet area,  last night around 2300 by the SEOC.  KL7EOC/KL5T alerted us to the earthquake.  We establish nets on 3920, 147.30, 147.33, Winlink, 223.6 and DMR/AK TG3102.  KL7JFT started logging in contacts from Valdez, Homer, Anchor Point, Big Delta, & Kodiak.  We had supporting stations coming up on the VHF net.  KL4B verified that HF Winlink was available to KL7GRM and KL7EDK. KL4RCS maintain contact with Public TV and Radio to feed us information.  Kodiak/WL7R got us the coordinates of the earthquake and details.  It 7.8 ;75 miles SW of Chignik Bay, Secondary quake happen at Sand Point, 6.1.  The Tsunami was to hit between 2230 and 2320 in the Kodiak and Homer Area and possibly come up Cook inlet. KL2T reported the siren had went off on the Homer Spit and evacuations began.  WL7R reported the same in Kodiak.  KL7GRM Winlink was operational and he brought up the Eagle Packet Node for backup.  KL5T monitored the 147.30 net with KL4E's assistance out of Eagle River.  All stations maintained a good watch from their areas, propagation was excellent on 3920.  As conditions changed the NCs were kept in formed. at about 2330/0100 the outlying stations began to report the Tsunami warnings were being closed down.  KL7EOC/KL5T reported the SEOC closed down the nets and would work the support issues on the chain thru their channels.  The next morning reports were compiled and submitted.  At the request of AG6SV/Ken, the Saturn Comm Coordinator, reports were forward to him, which were further sent to FEMA, Salvation Army HQ and Washington D.C.  Operations secured at 0100 the 22nd.  All stations used excellent net procedures and discipline, A "Well Done" to everyone.  Thanks for the support.   Don/KL7JFT MATSU DEC

MARA ANNUAL PICNIC

MARA's annual picnic was a great success at the Lake Lucille Rec Area,   The barbee was great, thanks to our Chief Cook, John/KLIXM.  We had some great salads, cookies, baked beans and chili.  We had door prize drawings, all the kids had a great time, as well as the pups. Everyone cooperated on keeping their distance and keeping things clean, thank you for that.  Pictures have been posted on the MARA Facebook.  If you have any to add please send them to Don/KL7JFT.  We had some excellent discussions and future plans are in the works.  Thanks to John/KL7LL up from Washington State for the unique gifts.  Remember those who participated in the last ZOOM Meeting and won a door prize, we still have it for you as well as the folks who ordered coffee cups   Our VE Testing was a smashing success. We had 12 folks test, the youngest was 11, who passed.  Of the 12, 9 passed. 4 new techs, 4 upgrade to general and 1 to extra.  One of our applicants passed the tech and general.  Congrats to all.  The weather wasn't too bad, we had extra shelters erected, which helped everyone to keep there distance.  Thanks TJ/KL3IT for coordinating the dogs and cows, top notch meat.  73s & 88s everyone.

Map to Lake Lucille Park

MARA 2020 Field Day

Now that MARA Field Day is over, as previously mentioned, it was an individual or family Field Day event.  Folks operated from their home or portable stations, with or without emergency power.  The rules were modified a bit so that class 1D can contact other class 1D station as well as any other station as before..  If you participated in Field Day please include your association with MARA/KL7JFU in your tally sheet to show the club's aggregate score.  Also please send KL7JFT a copy of your sheet.

2020 Field Day Packet(1)

Field Day is Over Now What?

Motely Picnic

 

 

ALASKA AMATEUR RADIO PICNIC – 2020

Sponsored by The Alaska Motley Group

June 25th to June 28thTolsona Wilderness Campground

The campground was located at mile 173 Glenn Highway.  Most of the pictures will be found on the KL7JFT Facebook.

http://www.tolsonacampground.com

This was the 38th annual Motley Group Picnic.  around 45 attendees, most of whom are members of the Motley Group, Snipers Net or Alaska-Pacific Emergency Preparedness Net, but ALL amateur radio operators and their families were welcomed.

We had 2 experienced and certified tower climbers (Tom/KL3TC & Claude/N7FXX direct and demonstrate how to put up a tower, guying techniques and tower rescue procedures. Proper Safety belt use and support personnel procedures.  MARA was well represented, approximately 12 members were on hand.  The tower replaced the one the campground had lost in the last wind storm.  This will be used for expanding their WiFi foot print and will last them for many years.  Our campground owners really took care of us and joined in on our activities.

Saturday all the ladies got together and went to Glennallen for lunch and shopping.

Saturday we had the games and contest going on. The Cornhole game had some good competition and Betty/KL1XL was the champion.

The potluck dinner, awards presentation, door prize drawings Chinese auction was a lot of fun and good time was had by all.  We had a couple of the younger group float the creek.  Weather was super until Sunday as we broke camp and had a good breakfast before we headed home

 

Summer Solstice Qtry State Wide Comex (Completed)

20 June, we completed our Quarterly Alaska Comex, from 0900-1400.  We received, sent and originated msg traffic by Winlink and VHF/FM voice.  Bushmaster Operations cleared all traffic. Had 17 hams check into the Phone net 5 on HF & 17 on the local repeaters & 2 on DMR.  The exercise was support of the borough and forestry fire suppression teams. All traffic was handled on Winlink RMS and P2P, using VARA, Pactor, Packet, & using the Eagle Packet Network (145.01) down to Homer and places in between.  The RMS stations were KL7EDK, KL7GRM, WL7CVG-10 & KL7JFT-10 on various frequencies. We generated Health & Welfare, County Status & Windshield reports & Sitreps.  We had request for equipment, rescue, both animal and human. We used ICS213s, text msgs. Our long haul was P2P to AG6SV/Ken the Saturn Communications Coordinator. The DMR network used the AK TG 3102 thru our local repeaters. We had hams from Tok, Big Delta, Northpole, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Sterling, Eagle River and throughout the Matsu Valley. A big thank you to all the hams who participated.  Start studying and practicing for next Quarter.

Don/KL7JFT

MATSU DEC

Pay your Membership Dues On Line

If you haven't paid your 2020 membership dues, please get with John/KL1XM.  Our dues is one of our main incomes to maintain the club equipment and activities.  We are also a 501c3 non-profit club so it is all tax deductible. The web site has an application form for you to fill out under Forms and you can go to the Donate tab and pay by PayPal or Credit Card, if you like.  For any other club donations we will provide you a Tax Receipt.  Also with all the benefits available thru ARRL, you may be interested in joining it also.  You have the choice of 2 magazines now, one for new hams, with your ARRL membership, you also can get good equipment insurance, pod casts on various ham subjects, new equipment evaluations, construction projects, contest, and what ARRL is doing on our behalf with new legislation.

Another item of interest is that we are allowed to use our current meeting venue by donating to the food bank, non-perishable food or paper products.  This helps out our Food Bank for the community.   And thank you for your donation.

ALASKA 60 METER FREQ TEST ON 5167.5 KHZ

WL7PM/Dean will be net control. The  5167.5 60 meter frequency is an Alaska only frequency that can be used within 50 nautical miles of the Alaska Coast and anywhere in Alaska.  150 watts is the maximum power allowed. A dipole can be constructed out of wire at 82.5 FEET total. it can be fed with ladder wire or coax, depending on what your tuner will handle.  The Net will start at 1000-1100 on the last Saturday of every month.  Report any results if you make contact or not, so we can determine the usefulness of the frequency, to Dean.

DMR Radios

OK what is DMR Radio.

Digital mobile radio (DMR) is a limited open digital mobile radio standard defined in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Standard TS 102 361 parts 1–4[1] and used in commercial products around the world. DMR, along with P25 phase II and NXDN are the main competitor technologies in achieving 6.25 kHz equivalent bandwidth using the proprietary AMBE+2 vocoder. DMR and P25 II both use two-slot TDMA in a 12.5 kHz channel, while NXDN uses discrete 6.25 kHz channels using frequency division and TETRA uses a four-slot TDMA in a 25 kHz channel.

DMR was designed with three tiers. DMR tiers I and II (conventional) were first published in 2005, and DMR III (Trunked version) was published in 2012, with manufacturers producing products within a few years of each publication.

The primary goal of the standard is to specify a digital system with low complexity, low cost and interoperability across brands, so radio communications purchasers are not locked into a proprietary solution. In practice, given the current limited scope of the DMR standard, many vendors have introduced proprietary features that make their product offerings non-interoperable with other brands.

The ham versions of the Anytone, TYT,Retevis, BTECH, Ailunce, Yaesu and Alinco and a few other brands are Tier I and II.  And both Analog and Digital. The ALMR radios that the state is using and some municipalities are Tier III.

Some of the radio are Type 90 approved and work for ham also.  Prices vary 100-300 dollars.  There are some mobile version out there as well that go for 300-600 dollars.

My brand is the Anytone from Bridgecom.  This training and support they provide is top notch and no question goes unanswered.  They have several videos out on U-Tube and they have training courses at Bridgecom to take you thru the radios, programing and use.

Building your first code plug is a little daunting but their videos and support sites get you thru it, plus you can get with a buddy and share.

We currently have 4 Repeaters operational in Alaska, South Anchorage, Homer, Fairbanks and Wasilla. We organize or various groups of contacts into groups called Talkgroups and have one for Alaska, but there are several that include the lower 48 and the world.

These radios can be used on RF or thru internet/WiFi and cell phone hotspot connections.  We are experimenting in the Valley using them simplex and repeater coverage areas to see how they compare to standard Analog simplex and repeaters.

This is just the beginning.  Folks who are interested and/or are working this mode, lets put out heads together and see if we can getting going.

Don/KL7JFT