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Weather Ready Nation Ambassador

The Ashe County Amateur Radio Club has been accepted as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is an effort to formally recognize NOAA partners who are improving the nation’s readiness against extreme weather, water, and climate events. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, the Ashe County Amateur Radio Club is committing to work with NOAA and other Ambassadors to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather.

Field Day 1991 at W4YSB’s

KK4X, 2A

The Tyack estate is near milepost 258 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which follows the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains as it winds through North Carolina’s Ashe County. It had rained all day Friday and the weather for the Field Day weekend didn’t look good. Harry Mills, KK4X, our crack CW operator, was planning to bring his camper – a sure sign of stormy weather.

Saturday morning through Sunday turned out to be partly sunny and cool. The entire Field Day period was without rain and more importantly, lightning. Just before 1800Z Saturday, I contacted a ham in Wilmington, North Carolina, who gave the weather as 92 degrees, muggy and miserable – it was 75 degrees at our site. In talking to other clubs after the event, I found out we were lucky to be in Ashe County. Others reported having to shut down several times because of thunder and lightning.

The rigs were set up under a shelter and in Harry’s camper. Harry used a Ten-Tec Omni and a CCD antenna for 40 meters. The Novice station used a Kenwood TS-440S HF transceiver with a ten-meter dipole and a G5RV. The other HF station was an ICOM IC-751 HF transceiver with a Butternut HF6V vertical. The satellite station set up in the greenhouse used a Yaesu transceiver and home-brew 2-meter and 440-MHz antennas. The antennas were aimed by hand. All transceivers were operated from a 5-kVA generator provided by Ross Sigmon, W4DOU.

We operated nonstop until the potluck dinner at 2200Z. The rigs were shut down for one hour while we ate. After dinner, we fired up the generator again and operated until about 0530Z. At 1130Z. we started up again and operated until 1700Z Sunday. It was a successful Field Day – beautiful, cool weather; fellowship; food; and everything worked flawlessly!

Lunt, B., & Stankiewicz, W. C. (1991, November). Field Day 1991. QSTLXXV(11), 101–101.

Published soapbox submitted to ARRL by Mike Mahan, KB4WJA

*KD4AWV is now W4MLN. KM4ZG is now KB4W. KK4X became W4FD, SK.

Ashe County ARES Activated for Florence

Ashe County ARES was advised on Thursday, September 13th by Ashe County Emergency Management to be on standby to deploy and provide emergency communications as needed as Tropical Depression Florence moved into the area.  Emergency Management declared that 24/7 coverage would be needed at the Ashe EOC and at the shelter that was being put together at Ashe County High School by the Ashe County Department of Social Services beginning Sunday, September 16th. Steve Adams, NC4SA, Emergency Coordinator for Ashe County ARES organized the group of amateurs all from the Ashe County Amateur Radio Club and scheduled operators to be deployed to these two locations.

KK4OII at the Ashe County EOC

Emergency Management decided to deploy 24 hours early due the the changing forecast track of Tropical Depression Florence.  A briefing was held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at the EOC by Emergency Management Director Patty Gambill and operators from Ashe County ARES deployed to the EOC and the shelter at Ashe County High School.  The radio gear (HF/VHF/UHF) at the EOC and at the high school shelter was provided by a grant though Homeland Security in the early 2000s.  Amateurs used the local W4YSB,147.300, club repeater, W4MLN’s 444.300 and W4MLN’s 443.7375 DMR repeater.  None of these repeater systems lost power during the event.  HF was also deployed at the EOC and at the Ashe Medics EMS Base.

NC4SA’s Eagle One Antenna at Ashe Medics Base

The Creston and Todd Volunteer Fire Departments, in the outlying areas of Ashe County, deployed amateurs to operate the VHF/UHF rigs there.  Communications links were established across the county on all repeaters and on HF.  One piece of health and welfare traffic was passed during the event to the EOC via amateur radio to have a tree removed that had blocked a private drive.  Other amateurs were monitoring on frequency and went to the aid of the fellow amateur with chainsaws in hand..  ARES operators changed in and out at the EOC and at the shelter throughout Sunday and early Monday morning.  Emergency Management concluded the event on Monday, September 17th at 9:00 a.m. at which time Ashe County ARES was deactivated.  Emergency Management expressed a deep gratitude for the generous support of Ashe County ARES during the event.

Click here for the full story from the Ashe County Line.