Weather improves in time for 2019’s first fox hunt

February 2019 FWRC fox hunt (hidden transmitter hunt)

The last week of January was a real struggle! Temperatures hit near record lows, pipes burst, water mains broke, and the Interstates were littered with semis that had their diesel fuel gel up. Schools missed up to four days. All this bad weather had us all wondering if having our first Fox Hunt of the year on February 3rd was going to be a bad idea! As it turns out, the weather was just great! Temps heading up into the low 50’s, and the sun was shining with a gentle breeze blowing.

The ‘Fox’ team of Linda and Steve, W9LAN & W9SAN, had chosen to hide out on the eastern side of Allen County at Woodlan K-12 school, just to the west of Woodburn.

At 1:30pm the foxes started transmitting. During the first transmission the fox was accidently set to low power. So although the fox signal was weak at the Cobin Memorial Park start point, the assembled hunters (the team of KC9MUT & KC9EZP, the team of K9OMA, KA9YYI, WB9SSE and ride along hunter Brian Mockenhaupt, and the team of K9LI and his wife Julie plus ride along hunter KD9ITZ) heard it and started heading to the east. Progress was halted for some (more than a half hour for the K9OMA team) by a Norfolk and Southern freight train that came to a halt across several of the grade crossings on roads heading east. (Accusations that the fox team had conspired with N&S engineer Phil Hooper, AB9IZ, to use his company’s trains to impede the hunters was later proved to be fake news!)

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The February 2019 issue of the Allen County HamNews is now available

HamNewsIcon 2019 02The February 2019 Issue of the Allen County HamNews newsletter is now available for download using the link below.  This and previous issues are also available for download by clicking the “Files” link in the main menu and then clicking “Newsletters.”

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achn_2019-02.pdf 1.71 MB 15 downloads

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Storm Spotter Education Feb. 21

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ACARES Spotter meeting

The Allen County chapter of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) invites all interested persons to attend its Feb. 21 meeting, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the main, downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library, The meeting will be devoted to severe weather and storm spotting. You don’t have to be a ham radio operator and you don’t need any prior knowledge of meteorology or communications.

Scheduled speakers include ABC21 Weekend Morning Meteorologist Caleb Chevalier, WANE 15 Chief Meteorologist Nicholas Ferreri, FOX 55 weekend Meteorologist Caleb Saylor, Fort Wayne’s NBC Weekend Meteorologist Jon Wilson, Allen County Office of Homeland Security director Bernie Beier, Consolidated Communications Partnership (911/public safety dispatch) director David Bubb, Allen County ARES team leader Jim Moehring and Allen County SKYWARN ham radio net manager Jay Farlow.

Although representatives of the National Weather Service (NWS) are not available for this meeting, we will follow the NWS SKYWARN curriculum with enhancements specific to Allen County. NWS does not plan to teach a spotter class in Allen County until autumn of 2019.

This event is free and only about 100 seats are available. If you plan to come, please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/allen-county-storm-spotter-education-tickets-54685721465, so ARES will know if registrations approach the room’s capacity.

Anyone can help protect their community from weather threats like tornadoes. In just a couple of hours, you can learn how severe weather forms, how to distinguish truly threatening weather from scary-looking but harmless clouds, and how to report severe weather so the rest of your community can be adequately warned.

This meeting will be valuable to anyone who is interested in severe weather, including those who have previously received storm spotter training.

January 2019 issue of Allen County HamNews now available

HamNewsIcon 2019 01The January 2019 Issue of the Allen County HamNews newsletter is now available for download using the link below. This and previous issues are also available for download by clicking the “Files” link in the main menu and then clicking “Newsletters.”

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achn_2019-01.pdf 1.99 MB 14 downloads

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Winter Ultra Marathon Requires Large Ham Radio Corps

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HUFF ham 2017 2

Webmaster’s note: This article appeared in the December issue of the Indiana ARRL newsletter.

An unusual, winter public service event requires a large contingent of volunteer ham radio operators Dec. 29. The Hoosier Ultra Fast Fifty (HUFF) is a 50-kilometer (31-mile) ultra-marathon through the rolling, wooded trails of Chain O’ Lakes State Park near Albion. Hundreds of people participate — as many as 960, according to race director Mitch Harper — no matter how cold, snowy, or wet the course is. Mobile phone coverage in the park is spotty at best, so HUFF organizers rely on ham radio to help keep runners safe. At the time this article was written, dozens of ham radio shifts remained unfilled.

Covering the entire event requires ARES to fill 95 individual two-hour shifts. Although many operators volunteer for more than one two-hour shift, filling that schedule still requires a large staff of operators. ARES must rely on operators from outside the immediate area.

Why would a ham want to spend two or more hours outdoors in sometimes harsh winter weather? Communication emergencies can happen in the dead of winter. Earthquakes, for example, don’t care about seasons. The HUFF provides an excellent and unusual opportunity for operators to test their preparedness for cold-weather service. It’s also great for public relations, as the event exposes hundreds of people to ham radio and its capabilities. Plus, many hams actually enjoy the camaraderie with other race volunteers and with runners and a famous hot soup buffet offered for free to all.

“Runners competing in ultradistances during what often are extreme winter weather conditions have true friends in the skills and service of the ham radio operators at the HUFF 50K Trail Run,” said Harper. “They are the eyes and ears of safety for every participant and volunteer. No greater ambassadors exist for all ham operators than these great folks.”

If you can drive to Chain O’ Lakes State Park in less than a couple hours, please consider volunteering, to help assure that ham radio operations are fully staffed and that HUFF runners remain safe. Contact district emergency coordinator Jim Moehring, KB9WWM at kb9wwm@arrl.net.