Sunday, December 28, 2014


2015 NWS SKYWARN Training by FWD NWS - Saturday all day sessions:

    January 24 - Frisco - Collin College
    January 31 - Fort Worth - Eastern Hills High School (location changed since original posting)
    February 7 - Waco - Emergency Services Center
    February 14 - Belton  - Belton ISD Adminstration (cafeteria)
    February 21 - Garland - Granville Arts Center
    February 28 - Denton - TWU Multipurpose Classroom Building

See NWS schedule for other locations and dates    


Volunteer Activities in 2014:
  • SKYWARN training in January
  • TESSA in February with an emphasis on the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes presented by chasers who were friends with the Samaras' and Carl Young. At the end of that moving segment a siren sounded - which everyone assumed was part of the presentation.  The speaker just stood there. We all just sat there waiting expecting him to reach over and turn it off, then a buzz of conversation wondering what was the deal. Someone who had had the wisdom to ask building personnel what was going on found out it was the fire alarm. It must have been 10 minutes before the room emptied - mostly. Vendors and other stayed inside - already close to the exit door.  This happened 2 more times. Made the day run a little long but extremely interesting, and moving, presentations.
  • Continued Monthly Outdoor Siren Testing assistance for City of Arlington taking observer reports via amateur radio at the OEM
  • Participated with Simplex drills being tested for possible use by the EOC if the repeaters were to fill with emergency traffic and/or down.
  • Continued participation with CERT and CERT Continuing Education.
  • Continued to serve as Net Control for Arlington OEM/EOC during certain weather events
  • Continued to participate n as a Net Control for Tarrant County RACES and participate on the 1st Monday check-in Nets
  • Continued participation with the Tarrant County RACES Leadership Group 
  • Assisted with several Tarrant County RACES training/renewal sessions
  • Back Up Net Control and/or logger for the Cowtown Marathon and several other public service events in Fort Worth. I'm trying to encourage those in Arlington to utilize CERT radio operators in public service events here as well. I'll keep encouraging. Some of the newer OEM hires are interested in radio and doing so as well.
  • Secured permission for radio operators to assist with The Lone Star Half Marathon beginning and ending at The Ballpark/Rangers Stadium. (Most people I know don't bother with the changing corporate names.) Prepared proposal, prepared organizational paperwork and position maps for volunteer operators, recruited radio operators, discussed matters with Race Organizer rep and OEM, and served as Net Control. Well, actually, I mostly sat by and gave some guidance and suggestions to a radio friend so she could gain some experience as Net Control while I hunted down parade organizers to make some necessary suggestions to help them with their jobs. They actually appreciated them.
  • Net Control for Arlington's large 4th of July Parade
  • In September I also became an Arlington Police Department volunteer. I had anticipated a specific assignment in one of the Police headquarters on a regular basis, but so far I've only helped out with a small project just prior to National Night Out in early November.
  • Continued participation with the Arlington Amateur Radio Club. I will be the Vice President in 2015-2016. My primary duty is to arrange for programming. Any and all suggestions MOST WELCOME!
 Other events of note:
  • Received a Kenwood TH-D7 from a fellow RACES member who had upgraded and was not using it. THANK YOU GARY G!  Since I'd eviscerated the one I already had when I shut the car door on the wire thereby pulling it from the base, I had already bought a new MagMount, then had to buy an adapter to use with the new radio. The PTT button wasn't working right. Gerry brought me a speaker mike from the Plano HamFest to go with it. THANK YOU GERRY! After which I cancelled the one I'd just ordered. :D 
  • In mid-June, I think it was, Arlington was hit by a small storm cell that dumped several inches of rain in under an hour flooding a limited number intersections, some of which I've NEVER known to be under water.  I was at the EOC about 1/2 mile from the flooded intersection next to the hospital. We received maybe 1/2 inch.
  • The end of June helped my Dad move into an Independent Living Community. In August he had a heart attack then angioplasty and a stint, followed 2 weeks later by his 90th birthday. He's doing well.
  • On Thursday, October  2nd,  wide-spread straight line winds of 60 to 70 to 80+ mph hit parts of Fort Worth and Arlington, including my neighborhood. The women's dorm of the small Bible college that lost its roof, as seen on national news, is less than a mile due north of me. I was serving as backup Net Control when, with a few seconds notice given by the radio operator from the NWS winds of 70 to 80 mph slammed through my neighborhood lasting for 4 or 5 minutes, long enough for me to shut and look out the windows on 2 sides of the house then step out on my wind protected porch to see the tops of the trees gyrating wildly. I had a couple of 4" or 5" limbs twist off and fall partially into the street and some other very minor tree damage. Amazing, having seen the violent motion of their tops. I wasn't completely sure it was only straight line winds at the time. Part of the top of a neighbor's tree landed partially on the corner of my shed and partially on some bushes and the corner of my roof and snapped my phone and telecable wires. The other part entangled in the electric lines next door. The next afternoon Encor, the utility repair company, royally screwed up by failing to note large limb in the electric lines BEFORE they turned on the electricity. I was walking next door to high 5 my neighbor, noticed limb smoking, then glowing then burst into flames, after which I ran and pounded on neighbor's door. He rushed out just in time to witness limb burn through electric line and for it to fall into his back yard landing about 18" away from his wooden patio, and causing VERY LOUD and spectacular arching up and down the other wires 150 feet in each direction - right over my very wooded and very dry back yard. It went on long enough for me to rush inside and grab purse and cat to put in car just in case. Instead, because of the surges my other neighbor's a/c and utility room caught on fire. I had the foresight to turn the A/C power OFF and unplug most everything I could get to BEFORE they'd turned the power back on a couple of hours later about 27 hours after the storm knocked it out. Partial power for 3 days. Telecable came back on Sunday evening.  AT&T missed their first appointment but finally got my phone line reattached and working late Friday afternoon, 8 days after I lost it. 
  • On November 1st a joint meeting of the primary Tarrant County Amateur Radio Clubs was held at the JEOC in Fort Worth. Members of attending clubs spoke briefly about the individual club's activities, programs and upcoming licensing classes. Very interesting and informative. A list of the radio clubs, their officers, meeting dates and upcoming activities will be supplied to each radio club. (I thought those would have been distributed long before now.) Hopefully we'll be able to have some joint activities with other clubs. Northern Tarrant County has a joint meeting with clubs in that area every quarter. The new President of the AARC is interested in attending those as well. Very nice to meet other operators, some of which I know through RACES and other experienced hams as well.

  • Will be teaching a CERT continuing Ed class in late January about Radio Communications
  • SKYWARN: January 31st 
  • Cowtown Marathon - February 28 and March 1st 
  • TESSA 2016 - March 5, 9-5, Colleyville, Texas - make plans to attend!
I'll try to be much better about keeping up the blog in 2015.

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