BOY SCOUT JOTA

We have been asked to support the Boy Scout’s JOTA at the Scout camp Gorsuch at Mirror Lake 22700 Camp Gorsuch Rd, Chugiak. It will be Oct 16-18th, but they normally only do it for one day.  We’ll set the trailers Friday at 1000 and operate Saturday and tear down Saturday evening around 1700 if they don’t want to work Sunday.  We need about a dozen folks or more to support this, excellent training opportunity.  We could operate DMR if HF is a bust.  We need trailer pullers, setup and teardown crews, folks to interface and training folks to work with the kids to operate.  We normally make up certificates for the kids for operating.  Possibly coordinate with Tim or Ray to run packet, if it will work from the site. We are registered with the BSA and have the use of their call sign  K2BSA/KL7.  Suggested HF freqs are on their website. Please contact Don/KL7JFT so we can make sure we have enough folks on hand.  Trailers need to depart no later than 0800 from MATCOM.

13th Annual Emergency Preparedness Expo

MARA will be participating in the Annual Emergency Preparedness Expo will be held on September 25, 2021 from 10am to 3pm at the Menard Sports Complex.  Setup will be at 0900 and teardown at 1500.  We will need about 10-15 volunteers.  Please contact Don/KL7JFT at dbush@gci.net

 Pandemic protocols, as appropriate, will be in place. Hand sanitizer stations, and optional face masks will be available, especially for those not fully vaccinated. As many activities as possible will take place outdoors, weather permitting. The goal of this Emergency Preparedness Expo is to serve the needs of the community by providing all-seasons safety and disaster preparedness information and training at no cost to all residents and visitors.

This free, family-friendly event will feature:

  • Interactive games and activities
  • Disaster preparedness kit demos
  • Disaster services displays
  • Informative presentations
  • Direct to consumer sales
  • Door Prizes
  • First 100 adults through the door will receive a free preparedness kit

We will be setting up the Comm Center and Support Trailers, demonstrating Ham Radio Operations, training our newer folks and exchanging information wit the public.

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:

 

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

Storm Damage Reporting

The National Weather Service needs are help, whether you are a ham, weather spotter or an individual who seen storm situations and damage they may of caused.  The below link is the short report you can fill out and send to the weather station in your area, be it Anchorage or Fairbanks.

This is valuable information, especially if a dollar value can be added to the damage assessments (realistic not just inflated for effect).  There is a section in the storm report page just for high winds.

https://www.weather.gov/aprfc/submit?site=afc

 

Harry/AL6F

Alaska SKYWARN Manager

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