MARA 2021 HAMFEST

Our date is set for 11 Sept.  The location will be the Big Lake Lions Club, at 2942 Lions Cir Big Lake.  Tabitha/KL4FZ has completed our door prize request letter to give to the vendors and businesses to request door prizes.  We need volunteers to help on various tasks for the hamfest.  Please contact Chris/KL5BF to assist.  BBQ cook & barbee, need programs and presenters, will need VEs to conduct testing at 1400, will need folks at the gate and the MARA Country Store, setup and tear down crews. Please turn door prizes into Pam/KL3PAM.

Alaska River Watch and Fire Status

State Fire Status

River Watch Program

Current PIREP Areas of Interest: Link

National Weather Service (NWS) is responsible for monitoring ice breakup conditions throughout Alaska to assess flood threats and navigational hazards. Ground observations, aerial reconnaissance, and remote sensing are sources used to assess ice conditions. Although ice jam flooding is most common during the ice breakup season, ice condition reports are welcome during freezeup and mid-winter as well.

We have relied for many years on observations of Alaska village residents describing the river ice condition in front of the village. Supplemental aerial observations from aircraft flying at low to mid-level altitudes have significantly enhanced the information on ice conditions. Since ice conditions can vary significantly along a river and can change rapidly during the breakup process, numerous observations are needed statewide to assess the status of breakup. It must be stressed that we are looking for reliable and objective reports.

The River Watch Program is a voluntary program that is...

  • Asking pilots and village residents to provide reports of river ice conditions
  • Requesting pilot observations that can be obtained without deviation from the normal route or flight level
  • Stressing that river ice observations only be taken when it can be done safely
  • Serving the purpose to assist the NWS in providing accurate forecasts, warnings, and navigation information

River and lake ice observations can be provided to the Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center (APRFC) via:

  • radio from aircraft to AFSS with observations for inclusion in a PIREP
  • phone at 1-800-847-1739
  • email report and/or photos to nws.ar.aprfc@noaa.gov

Additional information about the program and tools to download are available at the following links:

Program background:

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 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:

 

MARA 2021 ANNUAL PICNIC

MARA's annual picnic will be held at the Lake Lucille Rec Area on the 17th of July at 1000, it will be in Pavilion A.   We will be having our usual Barbee, we need a grill and chief cook.  We ask folks to bring a side dish, MARA will supply the Dogs, Cow, Buns, Condiments and Water.  We will have door prizes.  There is a very large field and play ground, good for flying drones if you are interested. There is a great dog park that the dogs will enjoy running and playing. Those that have ordered coffee cups in the past please stop by and pay for them and pick the up.   If you are interested in a VE Session, contact Ken/KL2HF, other wise it will be the following Saturday.  Bring a chair and if bad weather a picnic cover.  We will have picnic tables in the Pavilion.

Map to Lake Lucille Park

2021 Motely Picnic

Motely Picnic for June planning is out. Larry/AL7LW reports:

MOTLEY PICNIC FLYER

Greetings, Amateur radio operators:

The 39th annual Alaska Motley Group picnic will be held at the Tolsona Wilderness Campground June 24th thru 27th.

The campground owners are now accepting reservations.  Look at the website (www.tolsonacampground.com ) and call or email now to reserve your space.

RV campsites are $30 per night for picnic attendees.  Inform the campground owners the size of your RV and that you will be there for the Motley Group picnic.

All campsites are along Tolsona creek and include electricity and water and there are showers, laundry and other amenities.

All Ham operators are welcome; tell your Ham friends.

Motley Group moderators are encouraged to "talk it up."  I would like to see 100 attendees; our record so far is 83.

Later this spring we will be distributing a picnic flyer outlining planned activities.

73,
Larry, AL7LW

Portable Operations Work Shop

This year we are resuming our in-person workshops with two PORTABLE OPERATING WORKSHOPS planned. The first will take place at 1000 on Saturday, May 1st at Finger Lake State Recreation Site in Wasilla.

This won’t be your grandpa’s dry ham radio lecture either. We will be getting hands-on under field conditions and setting up a variety of stations (including HF). This is fast-and-light field radio at its best, and will be held rain or shine. POC is Brandon/KL7BSC and the VHF UP GROUP

See just how portable a backpack HF station can be. Learn to set up a single-operator portable VHF contest station. Or if local parks are your thing you can see how a combined HF-VHF Parks on the Air activation works. Don’t miss out!

POTA, What is this?

Well POTA is Parks On The Air.  Do you want have some fun, well this is it and it good practice for operating away from your home station. A lot of Alaskans like to get into the outdoors, fishing, hunting, hiking, ATVing, boating, or just plain camping.  Now it's possible you just want to get away from the hussle and bussle from the city and others for peace and quite.  But how would you like to help your state to improve getting folks interested to visit and help our small businesses.   Ham operators are always interested in talking up their station, home, and interest you have.  Well go to a park, any type and setup your portable station and call CQ CQ POTA, Denali National Park. This winter we held Winter Field Day at Finger Lake and had a blast.  Below is a link to a video that tells you all about it.  Enjoy.      POTA

SOTA-POTA Saturday 13th MAR

Hello group,

Don't forget that this Saturday Alaska VHF+ is doing another Parks on the Air activation, and this time it will also be a Summits on the Air attempt at the same time.

Weather permitting, I will be hiking up a peak called The Hideout, just north of Skilak Lake. The plan is to be on the air for the 2 M SSB net at 0930 and make a few contacts there. I will have a good antenna but will be running QRP, so keep an ear out for a weak signal in the background.

If you can't hear me on VHF then keep an ear on 20 M FT8 around 1030. I'll be switching to that band and mode to make contacts outside of Alaska, but locals should be able to pick me up too.

For Summits on the Air this peak is "KLA/KM-456". It is within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and counts as K-0149 for that program.

Brandon Clark, KL7BSC

https://brandonclarklabs.com/

MAR STATEWIDE QUARTELY COMEX

The Section Exercise will be in MAR 13th 2021 (TBD) from 0900 to 1400

All modes will be allowed also relays.   We will use WinLink, voice, CW and any other method that works.   All messages will begin and end with EXERCISE, EXERCISE so we don't upset any folks who might see the messages.  Please use ARRL radiogram. NOTE: Winlink does have a race template to use. You can report in and out times, number of dogs,, dog drops, any requests, and team scratches.  Let Race HQ, know the name of your Dog Race and the number of entries.

Linda/AD4BL/SEC would like all messages copied to her station when possible.  While this is a fun exercise it is also very important as we will be testing all our methods and links.  We will also have new amateurs on the system who might need your assistance and trying out new pieces of equipment.  This is a prototype for how we will operate in the event of an actual emergency managing dispatches, support convoys, and the like.

KL7EDK AND KL7JFU will be the hubs.  All traffic intended for the RACE HQ will go to KL7JFU  - NO EXCEPTIONS.  KL7JFU will act as Race Central and will have the authority to activate any air or ground support request for assistance.

All H/W traffic will go to the Special OPS group manned by AL7N either via CW or Winlink.

If sending real traffic please write:  complete address, phone number, and email address and sign with your full name, callsign, and location so there is a better chance of getting them delivered.

If sending messages to "agencies" please write a complete address, phone number and email address and add your phone number and email address to your signature.