Central Idaho Amateur
Radio Club
     
CIARC Meeting Minutes - August 2016
Meeting Minutes - August 2016
Attendance

Attending Members
AD7IW, Bailey, Tim W7BWG, Gestrin, Brian KB7BVR, Peterson, Kermit KE7FST, Sorensen, David
W7CBS, Beckham, Bill N7BMH, Hamilton, Brian KG7MGZ, Platt, Richard KA6QOR, Steele, Cliff
KG7OGQ, Beckham, Christian KG7GKN, Huston, Mike KG7WWG, Putman, David N7IBC, Stokes, Larry
KC7JHX, Bracht, David KI6TD, Jacob, Buddy K6JMQ, Quinzio, John KG7WWL, Tuning, Taylor
KG7WVX, Copperi, Brett KG7GKP, Kerby, Jeff KF7JPJ, Renn, Bob W7ELE, Wagner, Richard
KG7GKL, Crogh, Anna KE7TQV, Lakomski, Peter NG7O, Roberts, Darin W7AXN, Wagner, Robert
W7HXU, Crogh, Lenard KG7YUV, Lappin, Jeff KG7UAD, Roff, Jeffrey W6HTW, Welch, Hank
KG7MFC, Didisse, Karin KG7GKQ, Mangum, Larry KG7WWI, Scarborough, Larry KJ6NIM, Welch, Judy
KG7CDD, Donley, Chuck K7HCS, Mayfield, Bill KD7TSN, Schrage, Brian  
K7KLE, Eimers, Kirk W7LCC, McQuade, David KF7DGW, Schrage, Patti  
KC7JLU, Forker, Brad W7CIA, Montagne, Ray N7HQT, Shinn, Jeff  

Agenda Items
  1. BUSINESS MEETING

    1. Welcome [Richard Wagner - W7ELE]

      New Members: Taylor Tuning, KG7WWL

      Guests:

    2. Membership Report. [Bob Renn - KF7JPJ]

      CIARC Members that have not forwarded their dues for the 2016 calendar year were automatically removed from the roster at midnight on March 31st. Dues can be forwarded to the Treasurer, Bob Renn, by mailing a check to:

      CIARC
      C/O BOB RENN
      PO BOX 543
      DONNELLY, ID 83615-0543

      New member applicants, who have registered on the CIARC web-site, will not appear in the CIARC roster, and will not be granted member log-in access privileges to the CIARC web-site, until their dues payment has been received and recorded by the Treasurer.



      Family 4 Families, 8 members
      Individual 31
      Life 2
      Associate 0
      Total 41

    3. Treasurer's Report. [Bob Renn - KF7JPJ]


      General Fund Balance $1922.15
      Outstanding Debits $
      Outstanding Deposits $
      W5YI-VEC Testing Reimbursement Fund $213.46
      Combined Balance $2135.61

    4. CIARC NET [Richard Wagner - W7ELE]

      The next CIARC NET session will be held on August 31st. Christian Beckham (KG7OGQ) has been graciously volunteered by his father, W7CBS, to provide Net Control Station services. Thank you Christian.

    5. 4-Summit Challenge [Larry Scarborough - KG7WWVI & John Quinzio - K6JMQ]

      The following after-action report was provided by John Quinzio, K6JMQ

      4 SUMMIT CHALLENGE - AFTER ACTION REPORT

      ABSTRACT

      On Saturday, July 30, 2016 commencing at 0730 hrs, the Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club (CIARC) provided emergency and non-emergency radio communication services to the 4 Summit Challenge. Approximately 340 cyclists participated in the event. CIARC staffed six positions along the upper half of the 85 mile long road course. The portion of the course staffed by CIARC was in remote forest lands within the Boise and Payette National Forests. The starting point was in the City Of Cascade, Idaho then proceeded along Warm Lake Road and on to South Fork Road (FS 474). At Reed Ranch in the Payette National Forest, the highest elevation on the course, the riders turned back to Cascade. Valley County Search and Rescue (VCSAR) was the principle liaison to CIARC. CIARC operated at the direction of the VCSAR under the command of the Valley County Sheriff's Office Incident Commander, Sergeant Kevin Copperi. CIARC staff had on-site contact with 4 Summit Challenge staff, National Forest Service Law Enforcement, National Forest Service fire personnel, Cascade Emergency Medical Service, Donnelly Fire District and Valley County Sheriffs Office personnel. The event concluded at-- and all CIARC locations were secured-- at 1345 hrs.

      OBJECTIVES

      The CIARC was tasked with providing both emergency and non-emergency communications services for this event at the request of VCSAR.

      PRE-DEPLOYMENT PLANNING

      The CIARC staffed positions and staffing levels were coordinated with VCSAR and the 4 Summit Challenge organizers. The staffing levels were developed over a period of approximately three weeks. Numerous position and staffing changes were made during that time period. The process was completed using email, telephone and at in-person meetings.

      The most challenging element of the planning process was fitting the CIARC position locations to meet the needs of the 4 Summit Challenge and at the same time provide optimum radio communications. No cellular phone service was available in the upper reaches of the course. VCSO and NF Law Enforcement personnel had radio service via the Thunderbolt Mountain repeater. However. use of that facility was reserved for law enforcement and other emergency services.

      On July 26, the CIARC sent a team to evaluate communications conditions along the course from Big Creek Summit to Reed Ranch. The team of three spent about 5 hours on-site testing various modes of radio communication between six locations and determined VHF simplex mode (direct radio-to-radio) network was well suited for the conditions and terrain. The team also determined a back-up HF radio communications network system was warranted due to the potential for path fade or multipath interference--not uncommon to mountainous terrain. Distances between the CIARC positions were also a determining factor.

      CIARC determined a VHF station manned by two CIARC operators was needed at six locations as shown in Fig 1. Three HF Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) stations were designated as indicated in Fig 1. CIARC members constructed specialized antennas for this mode. The CIARC members who tested the site spent approximately 50 hrs of combined time while conducting the test.

      FCC issued license call signs were used in conjunction with location name by all operators and standard amateur radio network protocols were followed. The CIARC stationed a network controller at the Poverty Overlook EOC trailer. The network controller was tasked with receiving, documenting and relaying information to and from each of the six CIARC staffed positions. The network controller also served as the official contact point with VCSAR.

      STAFFED POSITIONS

      CIARC positions were staffed by two members who are licensed amateur radio operators. Some participating CIARC members are also VCSAR members and performed a dual role.

      Each position was equipped with VHF (Very High Frequency) radios capable of point-to-point communications up to approximately 20 miles in and across the mountainous terrain of the course. Three of the staffed positions were also equipped with HF (High Frequency) radio equipment capable of communications up to 600 miles. A CIARC operated mountain top VHF repeater on Brundage Mountain was available if needed. CIARC members provided their own equipment used during this event. This included radios, specialized radio antennas and personal vehicles. CIARC members provided their services at their own expense in accordance with FCC Part 97 rules.

      DEPLOYMENT

      CIARC members were on-site at 0630 hrs on the morning of the event. Four CIARC members chose to spend the night at Reed Ranch to avoid having to drive the narrow and steep roads into their positions in the dark. No difficulties were reported in reaching positions or deploying equipment. At each CIARC staffed location there were Aid Station personnel and others from various agencies.


      Fig. 1
      OPERATOR CALL SIGN ASSIGNED POSITION POSITION COORDINATES
      Ray Montagne (SAR, 50W, HF NVIS)
      Taylor Tuning (50W)
      W7CIA
      KG7WWL
      Big Creek Summit N44.62519/W115.79842
      John Quinzio (50W, HF NVIS)
      Larry Scarborough (50W,5W)
      K6JMQ
      KG7WWI
      Knox Ranch N44.66577/W115.68376
      Brett Copperi (50W)
      Jeff Kerby (SAR, 50W)
      KG7WVX
      KG7GKP
      Penny Springs N44.71159/W115.69547
      Bob Renn (SAR, 50W) KF7JPJ Poverty Overlook EOC N44.78064/W115.68375
      Karin Didisse (SAR, 50W)
      Dave Sorensen (50W)
      KG7MFC
      KE7FST
      4 Mile Campground N44.86268/W115.69172
      Richard Wagner
      Larry Stokes
      W7ELE
      N7IBC
      Reed Ranch N44.89091/W115.71153

      Figure 2 details the distances between CIARC staffed positions


      Fig. 2
      LOCATIONS ROAD MILES AIR MILES
      Big Creek to Knox Ranch 7.5 Miles 6.12 Miles
      Knox Ranch to Penny Spring 3.58 Miles 3.17 Miles
      Penny Springs to Poverty Overlook 6 Miles 4.85 Miles
      Poverty Overlook to 4 Mile Camp 6.78 Miles 5.5 Miles
      4 mile to Reed Ranch 3.18 Miles 2.10 Miles
      Big Creek to Reed Ranch 27.1 Miles 21.74 Miles

      NETWORK ACTIVATION

      At 0700 hrs an VHF communications test was performed between all positions with satisfactory results. The EOC position at Poverty Overlook was unable to hear the Big Creek Summit position although Big Creek Summit could hear the EOC. Relay was accomplished via the Knox Ranch position. At approximately 0930 hrs an HF NVIS network test was conducted and it was determined atmospheric conditions were not yet conducive to NVIS communications. Approximately two hours later conditions were good for NVIS and the network was activated and remained viable throughout the event.

      At approximately 1300 hrs the Knox Ranch began to experience multi-path interference between Knox Ranch and Poverty Overlook (EOC). Communications between Knox Ranch and all other positions remained good. The CIARC team at Reed Ranch and 4 Mile Campground found it necessary to lower their power levels out of concern for vehicle battery life. At times it was difficult for the southern- most locations to hear Reed Ranch on the low power level. Big Creek position periodically shut down the HF NVIS radio to conserve the vehicle battery.

      UNUSUAL OCCURRANCES

      CIARC operators assisted in a number of unusual occurrences including:

      • Unauthorized vehicles operating on the closed roadway
      • A domestic dog chasing the bicyclists
      • A bear sighting along the route
      • A cow moose and calf in the roadway blocking the route
      • A rider unable to continue due to exhaustion
      • The need for additional supplies at aid stations
      • Relaying an urgent message for a camper confined to a NF Service campground due to road closer
      • A mother of a boy scout who was unable to exit the campground to pick up her son at camp

      CIARC OPERATOR COMMENTS

      • Karin Didisse KG7MFC

        We need to clarify who’s responsibility it is for traffic control on the South Fork Road and who has the ultimate authority to authorize vehicles to travel on it. We had people that felt they were authorized by the event directors to pass and we had to stop and hold them. Also on the event website they say that “Sag Support” is included in the participant’s entry fee. Sag support is a vehicle that comes along and picks up riders that drop out as a sweep behind the last rider. There wasn’t any official sag vehicle that I could see. The pick-up trucks coming out from the aid station at Reed Ranch were full of supplies and said they didn’t have room to pick up the tired rider and one of the SAR people ended up taking him out. I was prepared to carry a rider or two with bikes myself if necessary but this is something the event director should have supplied. We had 188 riders In at Four Mile and 185-186 Out. (there was one rider that I wasn’t sure if I had tallied or not) So this checks out with since 2 riders continued to McCall over Lick Creek.

      • Larry Scarborough KG7WWI

        Being the first time up the South Fork I felt that everything went very well. The radio communications worked great and people tried to keep track of riders and it worked very well.

      • John Quinzio K6JMQ

        The late--and apparently unavoidable--change in the event course required many additional man hours to be expended by all concerned. Pre-event coordination and information flow between 4 Summit Challenge staff, VCSAR, VCSO and CIARC was slow and often incomplete. There were many pre- and during event miscommunications that could have been avoided with better planning. Several times during the event it was necessary to contact the 4 Summit staff to resolve an issue and we found there was no way for us to do so. At times there was a noticeable lack of top-down decision making. An example was the lack of clarity regarding authorized vehicle movement on the course to assist other positions or riders. CIARC staffing in the EOC Trailer was not adequate as Net Control had a very heavy workload. The lack of toilet facilities at Knox Ranch left some 10+ personnel with no option other than the near-by trees and bushes. CIARC operators invested a great deal of time and incurred significant expense to provide this service. No effort was spared. CIARC turned in an exemplary performance—certainly another high watermark for our group.

      • Ray Montagne W7CIA

        After all the planning we did, it turns out the some 50 watt radios were not able to operate full power due to vehicle battery constraints. This made communications difficult at times. The answer may have been to periodically start the vehicle engines to recharge the batteries. Radio traffic was not efficiently handled at the EOC. We should consider two operators at that position and possibly a headset to help the EOC operator hear traffic clearly.

      • Larry Stokes N7IBC

        The station locations were adequate without the addition of the one requested by VCSAR. There was some VHF fading on 147.530 starting around 11:00AM, which may have been due to multi-path fading.

        Big Creek communications station was not in a direct path with the South Fork Canyon stations due to terrain issues, so it was difficult to copy on the VHF simplex frequency of 147.530. As a side note, I dropped power to 25 watts at Reed Ranch to conserve power, as I was operating 4 separate radios, and this may have caused the lack of reception at his location from mine.

        HF communications was good on 5 mhz, using NVIS antennas between the three primary stations following the sun coming up and as the cloud cover dropped. NVIS remained effective for the duration of the event. If the CIARC does support the event in 2017, I would recommend that an HF station be placed in the VCSAR EOC for back-up communications. I would also recommend a second operator in the EOC due to the level of radio traffic I was hearing back and forth regarding event participants and their numbers. I am also recommending that the communications team meet with the organizers and explain what our capabilities are. I spent some time explaining to the aid staff what we were operating and how it worked when I should have been paying attention to the numbers of participants who who moving in and out.

        Radio discipline did degrade during a couple of incidents which led to some traffic being delayed in getting to net control. Due to the number of participants and the fast pace, I would recommend keeping the "light banter" to a minimum. While the Moose traffic was funny, a simple notation of "Moose on the course" would have sufficed along with a location and direction of travel.

        There should be no less than 2 operators at each station due to the amount of event traffic. One person can't keep up with a count on the riders. Plus, a break now and then is not a bad idea.

      • Richard Wagner W7ELE

        1st I was not aware that CIARC was responsible for letting the aid personnel know when they could head back up the road. We were told by them that they would be told when they could travel. I was presuming that this was going to be handled by the officer that was on station.

        2nd I was told by net control to send the volunteer to pick up the rider that required assistance. This created an obvious issue. As the volunteer headed up the road.

        There were some issues with personnel not paying attention to what was being said and to whom on the radio. People need to pay attention to who is being called and by whom they are being called.



      Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club members should log-in to their account and then visit this page to view contact information for Larry Scarborough (KG7WWI) . If you are not a CIARC member, please use the contact form to make an inquiry by clicking here.



      Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club members should log-in to their account and then visit this page to view contact information for John Quinzio (K6JMQ) . If you are not a CIARC member, please use the contact form to make an inquiry by clicking here.


    6. Venue Change [Richard Wagner - W7ELE]

      Richard reports that no progress was made this month at Elk Creek, where there are concerns about the size of the room (more than 25 people would be standing room only).

    7. Highway Cleanup Report [Richard Wagner - W7ELE]

      Richard Wagner (W7ELE) and CIARC would like to extend their appreciation to the following individuals that participated in the Highway Cleanup Event: Larry Stokes, Jeff Roff, Chuck Donley, Larry Mangum, Jeff Kirby, and David Sorenson for coming out. We were able to collect 11 bags of trash and were able to complete the task in approximately 2 hours. The next Highway Cleanup event is scheduled for October 1st.


      Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club members should log-in to their account and then visit this page to view contact information for Richard Wagner (W7ELE) . If you are not a CIARC member, please use the contact form to make an inquiry by clicking here.


    8. McCall Trail Running Classic Report [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]

      Ray Montagne (W7CIA), the McCall Trail Running Classic staff and CIARC would like to extend their appreciation to the following individuals that participated in providing public service communications in support of the McCall Trail Running Classic:


      MCCALL TRAIL RUNNING CLASSIC
      FCC
      CALL SIGN
      NAME
      W7CIA Ray Montagne
      KF7JPJ Bob Renn
      KG7UAD Jeff Roff
      KG7GKQ Larry Mangum
      KG7GKP Jeff Kerby
      KG7WWI Larry Scarborough
      N7IBC Larry Stokes
      W7ELE Richard Wagner
      W7CBS Bill Beckham
      KG7WVX Brett Copperi
      KG7WWL Taylor Tuninig
      KG7CDD Chuck Donley
      KE7FST David Sorensen
      W7LCC David McQuade
      KG7MFC Karin Didisse

      This year's event went extremely smoothly. This year did not see any search or rescue activity on the course.

      Volunteers handled a large amount of traffic in a very professional manner, and with little bandwidth utilization.

      Again, thank you to all who participated.


      Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club members should log-in to their account and then visit this page to view contact information for Ray Montagne (W7CIA) . If you are not a CIARC member, please use the contact form to make an inquiry by clicking here.


    9. Repeater Report [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]

      Lightning arrestor tubes cannot be ordered until a site survey at both the No Business Mt. and Brundage Mt. repeaters takes place to record what brand and model of lightning arrestors are installed at these sites.

      • No Business Mt. VHF/2m Repeater

        The Micor Squelch gate for the Yaesu DR-1X repeater was ordered after the July meeting and has been received. The treasure has already issued a check for reimbursement of $125.00 [check 394] to Ray Montagne (W7CIA) for the cost of this item. The treasurer is in possession of the receipt for this item.

        Bob Renn has received the new Yaesu DR-1X repeater.

        Prior to installation of the Yaesu DR-1X repeater at No Business Mt., the Micor Squelch Gate will need to be installed. Then the DR-1X can be installed and the Kenwood removed for maintenance / repair.

      • Brundage Mt. VHF/2m Repeater

        A maintenance trip to Brundage Mt. needs to occur to:

        • Set 33cm link transmitter deviation to 2 kHz.
        • Install 33cm link yagi antenna / radome.
        • Install Micor Squelch gate.

        Agile volunteers are needed to move the repeater out of the attic for maintenance work.


      Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club members should log-in to their account and then visit this page to view contact information for Ray Montagne (W7CIA) . If you are not a CIARC member, please use the contact form to make an inquiry by clicking here.


    10. VE Study & Test Session [Ray Montagne - W7CIA]

      This Saturday will see our 8th amateur exam study and testing session. Printing of material is almost complete. Study material and hand-outs are completed. Printing of technician class tests will be completed on Friday.

      It should be noted that the combination of the CIARC web-site and these amateur study and exam sessions have been directly responsible for a four fold growth in CIARC membership.

      Ray reports that he is fatigued by having to handle session preparation on his own. Where an individual VE spends, on average, 1-day volunteering per session, Ray reports that he is spending between 4 and 10 days (depending on the number of registrants) to prepare material for the session. The lack of ability to properly support the exam sessions, due to a shortage of amateur extra class VE team members, has also made both the planning and execution of the VE sessions difficult. Unless VE team members show additional support for these sessions, Ray reports that he is very strongly leaning toward not renewing the VE Team certification, or is Contact VE certification next spring. If CIARC members are interested in seeing this program continue, team members are going to need to take a more active role in planning and preparation.


      Central Idaho Amateur Radio Club members should log-in to their account and then visit this page to view contact information for Ray Montagne (W7CIA) . If you are not a CIARC member, please use the contact form to make an inquiry by clicking here.