The Importance of Being Prepared

DATE: Tue Aug 26 7:42:19 EDT 2014

10 years ago this month, Hillsborough County ARES/RACES was activated by Emergency Management for Hurricane Charley.

We spent an anxious time, at the EOC and in the community, hunkered down, waiting for the “Perfect Storm” to hit, projected to land in north Pinellas County.

The projections put 22 feet of water in downtown Tampa, and the exodus of that water likely to form, at least temporarily, north and south Pinellas islands.

As you know, Charley did not strike where projected, but made landfall around 5 PM near Port Charlotte, and then slogged its wet and windy way over central Florida.

Around midnight, we were given the all-clear to start packing up to leave the EOC.  Hillsborough County was safe, and the amateur community could stand down.

Shortly after that, though, we were asked to provide communications support in Hardee County, which had been badly hit by the storm.  ARES/RACES had originally been asked gather a team to head there immediately, but after discussion, it was decided that we should arrive in Wauchula at dawn.

A number of us headed to Hardee County, hauling the MARC (Mutual Aid Radio Communications) Unit (then the MAC Unit), a 100′ tower on a trailer with a cache of radios, in order to provide assorted first responders a way to communicate.  Sure, their personal radios worked, but departments could not talk to each other, and out-county responders had no way to communicate with local management.

That was to be the important communication hub for all of Hardee County.  The Hardee County Sheriff’s tower had been destroyed, taking with it all intra-county communications.

Hardee County took a huge infrastructure hit due to Hurricane Charley.  Power was mostly out (many of the power poles heading into Hardee County were sheared off, and many had come down in-county) phones were hardly working (aside from the many downed poles, lack of power meant that the Telco batteries could not recharge), there were no working sewers (without power, the lift stations could not work) and there was no water (no power, no pumps).

Hillsborough County ARES/RACES members staffed the MARC unit around the clock, handing out radios, and swapping batteries, so that the “boots on the ground” people could communicate.

We later retrieved the Sheriff repeater from the jail, and connected it to an antenna on the water tower (the water department communications were pre-empted – and they had no way to power anything, and no real need of it just then…). That antenna looked pretty awful, bent at about 20 degrees, but it worked – the Sheriff could communicate with his troops.

After the Fire Department communications were restored (a process complicated by some interesting contracts), we started re-deploying MARC unit radios to Public Works, and the Property Appraiser’s office, helping them communicate.

Hillsborough County hams also deployed to Punta Gorda, where Charley wreaked havoc. We helped with communications for the Red Cross, for the Salvation Army, and some of us even unloaded trucks and provided meals to the elderly.  Picture being 80+ years old, in a multi-story building, with no power or plumbing and a husband who could not walk, coming down to get a tray of food.  Folks had a really tough time.

Neighbor helped neighbor, counties helped each other – it was quite an opportunity to help a community that really needed it.

As we look back on Hurricane Charley, remember to stay prepared – you never know when your really remarkable skills and talents may be needed.

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TARC Net Script For Net Control Stations

Join us Tuesday evenings at 8:00 PM for the TARC Net on the 147.105 MHZ repeater.  For net control stations, click here for the script.

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The ARRL Letter for August 28, 2014

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Southeastern Division Legislative Action Chair & HR 4969

Have you sent your Representative in Congress a letter asking for their
support by co-sponsoring H.R.4969? More information about H.R.4969,
including letter writing assistance can be found here:

About eight years or so ago the ARRL created a grassroots program for
lobbying Congress on issues affecting amateurs. While the outline for
the program exists, it hasn’t been operational in our Division. Given
H.R.4969 and other potential legislation on the horizon, Vice Director
Lee and I would like to get the program running. The first step is to
identify and appoint a member of the Division that is interested in
taking on the position of Division Legislative Action Chair (DLAC) and
has the time to be able to commit to it.

The DLAC appoints, trains and manages one or more Legislative Action
Coordinators (LAC) for each state in the Division. The two documents
available at describe the ARRL’s
grassroots program in detail and there is also a training video on that
web page.

The DLAC position can be done electronically via email, telephone, and
web meeting; the DLAC is not required to physically travel around the

If you are interested in the DLAC position, please email me at Please include the following in your email:

1) If you have prior experience that would help in the DLAC position
such as grassroots campaigning/organizing or management in a volunteer
organization (or whatever you believe would be beneficial)

2) Why are seeking the position

3) Why you are the best candidate for the position

Once we have a DLAC in place, we’ll begin to fill the other positions
in the structure.

The good news is that the DLAC is paid the same salary as the Division
Director! The bad news is that the salary is zero (the same as all of
the hard working Division and Section elected and appointed officials).

Thanks & 73 de Doug, K4AC, and Mike, AA6ML

ARRL Southeastern Division
Director: Doug Rehman, K4AC

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For Sale

From an estate (SK was deep into 2-way radios, test gear and computers). A box
of 35 lbs (16″L x 13″W x 11″D). Uncounted (but a lot of them). Untested and have
no idea of what they came out of. Also coming up will be a big mess of IC’s.
Located in northern Florida. Price: $10 plus shipping (PO or UPS). If prepaid,
can deliver for free to a mutually-attended hamfest.
Walt N4GL
(352) 637-1755
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Lost Wallet at TARCFest

From: Robert Stelmock
Callsign: WD8U
Subject: lost wallet

I think I lost my wallet at the Tarcfest today…….

Please contact me if found.

Robert Stelmock
Thank You

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Reminder – TARCFest is Tomorrow

At the clubhouse – 7801 N 22nd ST, Tampa, FL

Gates open at 7:00 AM, tailgating at 8:00 AM

Click on the link above for further details

P.S. – If you would like to share any photos of the event, please send them to

See you all there!

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ARRL ARES E-Letter – August 20, 2014

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Sept 20th EC/OES Meeting

DATE: Wed Aug 13 10:24:05 EDT 2014

This is a reminder for our Quarterly EC/OES Meeting:
Everyone is Cordially Invited!

The Next Quarterly EC/OES Meeting will be held on Saturday September 20th, 2014

Location: The “NEW” Pinellas County County EOC

Time: The Meeting is at 1:00- 3:00 PM,  Includes a Tour of facilities

The EOC located at:

Pinellas County EOC 10759 Ulmerton Road Building 1 Suite 267
Largo, FL 33778

Talk-in 145.170- MHz PL 156.7 Hz

Lunch is at 11:00 AM at the Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ just around
the corner from the EOC on at 2250 Seminole Blvd Largo, FL 33778

Bring your Flash Drive if you want a copy of the latest Files
I have for you.

Driving Directions will be sent out later before the Meeting


Neil H. Lauritsen, Sr. W4NHL / NNN0GAL / NNN0TFH
Home  727-242-5630

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Treasurer’s Report – August 2014

Treasurer’s Report – August 2014

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