November 2021 ARES Meeting

Hey everyone, KE0LMZ here! Our November meeting was packed full of information and experience!

Firstly, I’d like to thank ARES EC Stephen Swerline KF6DRH, ARES AEC Renee Cason KE0LMZ (that’s me!), Kelly Stanfield W0YQG, Samantha Henley KE0LMY, Roger Henley KD0WXT, Alex Cason KE0YGT, Joe Barnett KE0WLB, and Kim Barnett for attending this month’s meeting!

The first thing that happened was a fantastic presentation and demonstration by ARES member Kelly Stanfield W0YQG about her equipment and how she runs nets. Since Kelly has been blind from birth, her radio setup is different from how sighted people set up their radios. With the help of her uncle Joe Krout KR0UT and her fellow blind ham friend Craig Martin KY0O, Kelly’s radios have been modified to talk to her and make it easier for her to operate on the air.

One of the primary machines that Kelly uses is a HUMA brand BrailleNote, which is used for storing files and turning TXT files into Braille. Kelly uses this BrailleNote to not only read scripts for nets, but also to keep track of callsigns! Kelly uses an abacus to keep track of the total number of check-ins on the net so she doesn’t have to manually count all of them in her BrailleNote.

Former ARES EC and still member Samantha Henley KE0LMY recorded Kelly’s presentation and several questions posed to Kelly by ARES EC Stephen Swerline KF6DRH, ARES AEC Renee Cason KE0LMZ, and the other present members of ARES. Everyone was fascinated to see how Kelly ran nets while also using the BrailleNote and abacus at the same time!

Keep an eye out for a future blog post showing the full video of Kelly’s presentation!

After that, the ARES members all sat down to discuss things like future training and meeting dates. Ideas were shared for the training and a rough draft of the calendar up to June was created, so look out for those updates on the site. The members agreed that their January and February meetings would be over Webex instead of in-person. As for December, Samantha volunteered her farm as the location for the ARES Christmas party on December 11th. Further information about the Christmas party and potluck will be emailed out to existing ARES members!

Finally, plans were set in motion to do some maintenance and updates to Echolink starting on January 1st of 2022. Echolink will be put back up as soon as possible!

Overall, it was a great meeting and a lot of things were discussed and got done! We hope to see everyone at our 2022 meetings!

73 everybody!

KE0LMZ, clear.

October 2021 Region A Healthcare Net

Hey everyone, KE0LMZ here!

As you may know, I’m in charge of handling the Region A Healthcare Net every month. This net happens on the third Wednesday of every month on the Warrensburg repeater at 9:30 am. As the Region A Healthcare Net coordinator, I keep track of who runs the nets, who checks in, and whether they’re with a healthcare facility or not; I then give this information to people on healthcare-related calls that are from all around Region A.

This month decided to throw a curveball at me to make sure that I could improvise, adapt, and overcome.

I initially planned to run the Region A Healthcare Net myself this month. When I went to my mom’s Yaesu FT-991A radio, I found that I couldn’t switch over to the Warrensburg repeater. I turned the dial that was supposed to change the memorized channels, but all it did was adjust the squelch. Since I’ve never had this problem before, I freaked out.

The first thing I did was to send a message to my backup/relay station, Robert Fleming KE0AVT, and let him know that I was having radio troubles and needed him to take the net. With that resolved, I went back to pressing buttons on the radio and calling Roger Henley KD0WXT (my stepdad who is better at radio hardware and programming than I am) to help me find the problem and fix it.

Before Roger got home to help me fix the radio, I managed to knock the frequency close enough to the Warrensburg repeater that I could hear the net. I heard Robert working with Kristl Thompson KR1STL to run it smoothly and keep track of the check-ins from healthcare facilities and normal stations.

When Roger got home, we came to the conclusion that the squelch button was accidentally pressed at some point between the antenna getting hooked up and me getting my hands on the radio that morning. He showed me how to switch back to the memory channels, and I was able to properly get to the Warrensburg repeater and formally check in myself and the rest of my family.

I wanted to tell this story to let people know that there’s always something you can learn (in my case, how to get back to the memory channels), that radios aren’t infallible (but can usually be fixed), and that it’s always good to have a backup station.

Thank you so much to Robert Fleming KE0AVT for being able to take the net and make sure that the show would go on, to Kristl Thompson KR1STL for jumping in as a relay station and sending the log to me afterwards, and to Roger Henley KD0WXT for helping me get back on the air and showing me a new thing about the radio that I didn’t know.

73 everybody!

KE0LMZ, clear.

October 2021 ARES Meeting

Hey everyone, KE0LMZ here!

This month’s meeting attendees were EC Stephen Swerline KF6DRH, AEC Renee Cason KE0LMZ, Samantha Henley KE0LMY, Roger Henley KD0WXT, and Alex Cason KE0YGT.

This month’s meeting started inside of the Benton County 911 building with some discussion. A handful of the topics talked about were upcoming events (including ones scheduled all the way into July 2022!), encouraging participation from existing members, and finding ways to draw in new members!

After an hour of discussion, the members of the BC MO ARES headed outside to work in the Benton County Emergency Communications trailer and familiarize themselves with the equipment on the trailer. Plans were made to take the EmComm trailer out to get lettered by Tightwad Tees and to get the mobile repeater set up and programmed in the next few weeks!

As always, feel free to come to our monthly meetings, which are open to the public! Unless canceled ahead of time, they take place at 1231 Hirsch Parkway, Warsaw, MO 65355 at 10am to 12pm.

73 everybody! KE0LMZ, clear.

September 2021 ARES Meeting

Hey folks, KE0LMZ here! We covered quite a few things in our September meeting, which was led by new EC Stephen Swerline KF6DRH.

We started the meeting with a moment of silence for all of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

For our first order of business, we discussed our Simulated Emergency Test (SET). It was decided that we would help the Camden County, MO Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Camden County, MO ARES run theirs for the first year to help them learn how to operate their own SET.

Secondly, a new schedule for weekly net operators was established: EC Stephen Swerline will now be running the first net each month, and former EC Samantha Henley KE0LMY will now be running the fourth net each month.

When reviewing ARES activity for the month thus far, we were pleased to provide communications for the Benton County, MO CERT while they performed traffic control during Warsaw’s fireworks display on the evening of September 5th.

Next, the ARES members all headed outside to move some equipment (including the generator) into the Benton County Emergency Communications trailer so it would be fully-stocked for any and all upcoming events for which it is needed.

We discussed more public outreach because we are in dire need of more volunteers. Whether they already have their amateur radio licenses or are seeking to earn them, these volunteers would help support communication efforts in Benton County during large-scale emergencies and help take pressure off of the first responders.

Finally, we talked about reaching out to the Boy Scouts to support their efforts to earn their radio communications badges, as well as reaching out to the school systems to help get teachers trained to handle incidents on school grounds before first responders arrive. Reaching out to the school systems will be done with the aid of the Benton County, MO CERT to provide a full training course to any teachers who are available and interested in this training.

If you or anyone you know are interested in emergency communications, feel free to contact EC Stephen Swerline KF6DRH at sswerlineares@gmail.com

73 everybody! KE0LMZ, clear.

Benton County CERT/ARES Volunteer Honored with Prestigious Award

From the Benton County Emergency Management Agency:

With the National CERT Conference 202One in the rearview mirror, we were given a special task: Deliver the prestigious 2021 Missouri Silver Star Award to one of our own!

The Missouri Silver Star Award is bestowed upon one volunteer from the great state of Missouri each year. It is “presented to an individual in Missouri whose dedicated, unselfish, and enthusiastic service has contributed to the growth and development of the CERT and Emergency Management communities.

This year, Mr. Stephen Swerline was named the recipient of the award!

Because of a last-minute family emergency, Stephen was unable to make it to the conference, so Deputy Director Samantha Henley (who nominated him for the award) brought it home to present to him!

Below you will find her nomination letter and the images of the presentation:

HERE AT THE BC MO EM, WE WANT TO CONGRATULATE STEPHEN AS WELL AS EXTEND OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE FOR HIS SELFLESSNESS AND THE TIME AND EFFORT HE GIVES AS A VOLUNTEER FOR BENTON COUNTY!

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