Wind and rain can not stop us from broadcasting. Even a “little” rain, like close to four inches on Saturday. Our annual weekend emergency ops practice, aka Field Day, went on as planned. Well, not quite as planned. There were quite a few adjustments being made just as we were ready to start.
This was Saturday before the second deluge arrived, and after the first. Everything battened down.
As usual the club members managed to think ahead and make things work.
A quick trip to Home Depot for 4’X8′ plywood and 2″X4″ boards to make platforms for under all the tables.
Not the most comfortable conditions to cut wood, but you do what you have to do.
They did keep the tables and chairs from sinking into the ground. Emergency preparedness is one goal of this weekend exercise. We certainly seemed to test that goal this weekend.
We had many people watching our operation. We had our contacts over at the County Emergency Operations Center prepared to let us know if high winds or thunderstorms were heading our direction. If they did, we would have to lower the antennas, disconnect the cables and hunker down in our cars and trucks. Thankfully, no thunder or lightning, and the winds weren’t severe. We had more wind on Sunday, but the towers did OK.
This year we used more of the heavier, more secure screw in anchors for the guy wires to the towers. Anyplace we thought the ground could saturate, and where we had the largest heaviest antennas mounted, we used those anchors.
Above is what I am talking about. This picture is from our tower in our yard. We use these stronger, longer anchors.
This anchor is what we usually put in for the 24 hour Field Day event. It can be installed in less time. The screw in anchors take more time and are definitely what you want in soft earth when you are putting up one of these.
The twenty meter beams, two of them, are the heaviest antennas out in the field. All the work done by the set up crews in advance lowers the probability of failures during bad weather.
We had visitors on Saturday during some of the bad weather. Some Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) MD Joint Operations Center (MJOC) crew. How’s that for acronyms? Many county Emergency Ops Center employees, who all know the club members who volunteer supporting them.
A few special ones, too. Like our county executive, Allan Kittleman.
He’s talking here to Dave Prestel, who leads our RACES efforts. They were talking about the ways our volunteers can get even more involved in supporting the emergency ops center and the fire department.
We even got him on our Get On The Air station.
Since this event is somewhat competitive, as well as a public service event, we get bonus points for things such as attendance by elected officials, and attendance by those MEMA MJOC employees.
This picture is a favorite of mine because it shows how Rich KE3Q is instructing the county executive in how to make contacts with other stations, while we have an OEM employee looking on.
Sometime soon I will get the email sent out with the final tally of how many stations we contacted. Even in some really awful weather conditions, the club hangs in there and searches for stations all across the country and north into the Canadian provinces.
We may be “amateur” in name but our volunteers are professional in their dedication to excellence in what they do. Plus, we have a good time doing that.