Thursday, April 25, 2013

Upgraded My Ham License!

From Tech to General. Just passed the test a couple of hours ago. With no background whatsoever in electricity, circuits, electronics, circuits, etc. I didn't think I had a snowball's chance. I haven't studied that long and that hard since  ... well, I don't think I EVER studied that long and hard. No snowball's chance I'll even attempt the Extra!

Cowtown Marathon in late February was interesting. My job this year was to enter significant events into the City's computer system. Saturday was typical and over by noon. Sunday I arrived by 0430. All the entrances to where I needed to be had been blocked off so drove around several blocks to several entrances just trying to get in. Finally one of the guys managed to move a barricade. Then we couldn't get the generator on the Van to start. It was 36 degrees and I was dressed for the warmth INSIDE it. We finally had to bring the small van over and plug into that generator, but there wasn't enough power to run the heater. As a result I shivered for 3 or 4 hours until the sun was high enough to at least take the worst of the chill off. Eventually it got up to 70 and I finally got warm.

March 9th I helped with the newest Arlington CERT trainees' disaster drill. My roll was to distract, get in the way of, impede, anything I could do to keep them from their appointed tasks - which I did very, very well indeed.  I'll never live it down.

The April 3rd siren test was cancelled due to clouds. It was also the 1st anniversary of last year's F2 tornado, so I think the desire not to upset the public may have been the primary factor behind that decision.

April 18-21 I volunteered at the Fort Worth JEOC with regard to the Main Street Arts Festival.  On Saturday morning I was scheduled to be Net Control for the March for Babies, held in Trinity Park, but that didn't work out as anticipated and I ended up as back-up with very little to do.  I wasn't scheduled but I had intended to drop by the JEOC on my way home, but I was too buzzed and irritable from all the coffee I'd been drinking.

Mayfest is May 2-5th.. RACES members will again be weather liaisons for the event organizers. They've been doing this since the horrendous 1995 Mayfest hailstorm. 4" hail stones injured dozens or hundreds and  caused millions in damage across the DFW Metroplex. .My neighbor had 2 broken hands from trying to shield his head and his car looked like a sledge hammer had been taken to it. I wasn't there but watched that Supercell moving in from the West and will never forget the putrid yellow-green-brown color, which was enough to really frighten me. Mayfest is held in Trinity Park along the Trinity River. Police and Event Coordinators now can safely evacuate everyone from the area in under 30 minutes, which is why weather liaisons onsite to monitor incoming storms so they can do so well in advance. I think it was last year they shut down early because of an incoming storm. I signed up for the first time to assist on site, but was late in doing so and doubt I'll be scheduled. UPDATE 4/29/13: The County RACES liaison wants me at the JEOC. I was hoping to be posted in the park.

Abbreviation Key

AARC - Arlington Amateur Radio Club
- Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- Community Emergency Response Team
EMST - Emergency Management Support Team
- Emergency Operations Center - part of the OEM
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
- National Weather Service
NWS FWD - National Weather Service - Fort Worth/Dallas
OEM - Office of Emergency Management
- Public Service Event - ARES Net
RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
- TExas Severe Storm Associaton