THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club January 2001
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your club President. I'm looking forward to an enjoyable and productive year. With your help we can make this our most active year ever. We need your ideas to help plan our events. Let us know what you would like to accomplish this year.
Our February meeting has been changed to January 27th due to the Jackson Hamfest February 2nd & 3rd. Also the Dixiefest (Hamfest) in Memphis is scheduled February 9th & 10th. We look forward to hearing from you!!
Phillip - KD5CBK
Vice President's Comments
I would like to thank everyone (I think) for voting me into this office. I will do my best for the good of MARC this year.
Jim Stevenson (WB5OCD) and I went to the two organizational meetings of Mississippi Search and Rescue Association recently. Gary (K5XC), and Brenda (KC5JYK) attended the first one, but were unable to attend on Jan. 13. I am on the Board of Directors as a representative for District 6. (MHP districts were used) Jim was chosen as an At Large Director. MSARA will be the entity to look to for the future of search and rescue in our state, and ham radio will be represented there. The local ARES group has a group membership in addition to the individual memberships listed above. We may be called on to provide training or other assistance in the future. The next meeting of MSARA is May 12, 2001.
The local ham radio community is to be applauded for efforts following the tornado damage in communities surrounding Meridian. There was a large turnout of local amateur radio operators who assisted in the days following whenever and wherever they were needed. Several stations were manned around the clock for several days. Everyone should be proud of the MARC members and others who worked to make sure everyone was safe. Thank you all!
Donna Harrison (KD5GWM) MARC Vice President 2001
The MARC officers are working closely together to make this a productive year for our community. To do this it will take a lot of work for all of us. I have the responsibility of keeping track of where our money is spent and also accounting for the money that is collected.
As of January 18 we have a total of 24 paid members. Thank all of you that have paid your dues to date. I want to congratulate the 3 newest HAMS in our community, Lawrence Swistek, Roger Todd, Tyler Todd. Tyler is also the youngest at age 10. All 3 have joined the ranks of MARC. Please extend a special welcome to our newest members.
I will do my best to be at every Saturday morning business meeting. In the event you would rather mail your dues, my address is:
Debbie Hover, KD5JYJ
11785 Nancy Drive
Collinsville, MS 39325
If you would prefer to send your dues via the Internet, please send them via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, the FUN STUFF. I want to start a monthly calendar where we can recognize your Birthdays, Anniversaries, and any special events you have. If you receive your newsletter via e-mail, please go to the MARC web page and click on Calendar of Events. This will take you to a very simple form that you can submit online. No paperwork required. Many thanks!
About twelve months have passed without very much activity. No storms, few searches, and very little emergency training. Then at about 1140 hours local on 16 December a category 2 tornado touched down in the Marion and Lauderdale areas in Northeast Lauderdale County. Four businesses, many homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed. There were hundreds of trees broken or uprooted. Over 17 persons were injured; with one of them diagnosed as critical. This person was air evacuated to Jackson for medical care.
When the tornado touched down many of the key ARES personnel were not aware that there was even a problem. The weather that had spawned the tornado had passed. It was making its way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where at least 10 people would die with many more being injured.
After confirming that amateur assistance was not immediately required a net was called for the purposes of determining who was available to assist. We had 20 check-ins immediately and more showed up and stood by. We attempted to establish a link via UHF to Jackson but there was a break in the system. The HF link was established and worked fine throughout the early hours of the emergency. After the initial check-in the repeater was returned to use by the amateur community. There was nothing we could do until tasked.
Amateur operators were individually tasked to support the needs of the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency Director. Much of this was done by phone and county radio. We had hams at the Command Post in Lauderdale and at the LEMA office manning radios and phones.
Ben Duke, KD5EOE, was actively involved in the cleanup and only stopped when he had to get some rest for his final exams on Monday.
Amateur radio equipment was not a great player in this emergency. The repeaters were used but not as much as some would have liked. Amateur radio operators put in more than 230 hours supporting this emergency tasking. Thanks to each and every one of you that assisted. This also goes out to those of you who checked into the net and stood by waiting to be tasked.
Your EC was rusty due to the lack of things like this happening. This emergency brought to light the fact that we need more trained net control operators. It also showed that we need more training on how to use the linking system. Some amateurs felt slighted by the way the net was conducted and that they were not tasked to assist at the scene. Effort will be made to insure that if you wish to work at the scene and there is a need, you will be called.
If you wish to play a greater part in the ARES program please get with Donna, Gary or me and we will get you deeper into the program. We need the help.
Recovery from the tornado continues at this time. See pictures posted here.
The five week Technician Class Course ended. Of the nine people starting the class seven finished. One dropped due to lack of transportation. The seven tested and five of them successfully passed and are new Technician Class Hams. One also passed his General theory and is now looking forward to working on his code. If you wish to help by loaning him your old code tapes please get with me. One of the new Techs is ten years old. PLEASE TREAT THESE NEW HAMS WITH DIGNITY AND ASSIST THEM WITH GETTING ON THE AIR AND WORK WITH THEM TO BECOME GOOD HAMS. We lose over 50% of the new hams in the first year. Lets keep these folks radio active.
Do not know when there will be another class. Find some folks that want to be hams and we will do what we can.
Click on the link to see photos of the exam session. WB5OCD
Origin of "Mayday"
Ships and aircraft in trouble use "mayday" as their call for help?
This comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning "help me" -
and is pronounced "mayday." (Note: not exactly....
it's pronounced "med-ay", but close enough).
Have a great month
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