Membership News

by Deb KK7DEB on 2020-11-14

Welcome to our newest member, Franklin K7FSW, who will be joining the Charlie team. We now have 113 active members, and we logged 199 volunteer hours in October!

The November 19 meeting will be online using WebEx. Note that this meeting is one week earlier than usual because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Adam KF7LJH will go over basic use of MMSSTV (sending pictures via ham radio) in preparation of the December 3 Drill from home.

The newest MCARES mobile trailer, dubbed “The Beast”, has been outfitted with most of its gear. Nate still has work to do on the electrical and solar panels but otherwise it is now usable. The Beast has space for two operators and equipment to work all bands and all modes. It also has several go kits that can be used for satellite stations, cross-band repeating, or digipeating as needed. The trailer is a great asset and really expands our field capabilities.

There will not be a monthly meeting in December, however a MMSSTV drill is on tap for Thursday, December 3, so watch your email for details.

It has been an unprecedented year and we hope you can safely enjoy the upcoming holidays with optimism for the future. Thanks to all of our members for all their support, enthusiasm, and flexibility during this year.

New SOP posted

by Web Manager on 2020-11-05

A new revision of the Multnomah County ARES Standard Operating Procedure document has been posted on the Docs page. MCARES members should review the new SOP (rev. 05-NOV-2020) and print a copy to include in their go-kits.

Membership News

by Deb KK7DEB on 2020-10-16

Welcome to our new Charlie Team members, Jeff WX7OR and Jim KJ7OEW. We now have 112 active members and logged 179 volunteer hours in September.

The October 22nd meeting will on the air at MC1 (146.840). We will be practicing written voice traffic, so have your blank ICS213 and NTS radiogram forms close by to copy along.

Our sincere thanks again to our loyal and supportive members for a very successful “Donation Extravaganza”. All the prizes have been delivered to the winners and we raised about $1200. We are definitely planning a hotdog and burger get together as soon as this damnable COVID-19 gets out of here.

The next exercise is the Red, White, and Blue Mobile Chip Trip on Saturday, October 17, and the weather is looking good for that day. We look forward to seeing our masked members in person one more time this year. The ARES trailer will be at the Echo team location and Adam will give a tour of its newest upgrades. The prize for the most points has changed will be a $25 Visa gift card. Good luck to everyone!

Membership News

by Deb KK7DEB on 2020-09-18

We logged 158 volunteer hours in August, and currently have 111 active members.

The September 24 meeting will be online using Webex. We will be drawing for the prizes for the “Donation Extravaganza” and Carrie K7CAC will be presenting “Keeping cool during an emergency.” A link to the Webex meeting will be sent the week of the meeting.

The annual MCARES Donation Extravaganza has launched and so far many of you have donated for a chance to win some really great prizes. The ticket sales have been beyond our expectations and we cannot thank our members enough for their faithful support.

As if COVID-19 were not enough to worry about, now we are buried in a thick layer of smoke from the wildfires. Our hearts go out to the many fellow Oregonians who have lost their homes or have been evacuated out of harm’s way.

The next exercise is the Red, White, and Blue Chip Trip on Saturday September 19. We are watching the weather and smoke situation carefully to make sure this can be a safe outdoor exercise. We will let everyone know if there is a need to postpone until a later date.

Saturday October 3 is the Fall statewide ARES SET (Simulated Emergency Test). The drill writing team is busy working on details. Please save the date!

The August 27th meeting will be online using Webex. Adam will be hosting a Field Station Video Webinar showing and talking about various field station setups. A link to Webex will be sent the week of the meeting.

The annual MCARES Raffle Donation extravaganza has launched and so far many of you have donated for a chance to win some really great prizes. This fundraising will help us outfit the newest trailer addition. The “Spartan” will be a much more modest build than the other MCARES mobile communications trailer – as fancy but just as capable! Your donations are very much appreciated by the leadership team.

The July mobile exercise, GPS Food drive-drive, was so much fun! We had 35 members participate and 314 items of food donated to the Snow Cap charities food pantry. Snow Cap was very appreciative and asked that we relay the message to all of our members. Look for pictures in this newsletter. Thanks to everyone who helped make this event such a success.

The next exercise will also be mobile; stay tuned for more details about the September 19 (tentative date) event.

Membership News

by Deb KK7DEB on 2020-08-10

Echo Team welcomes our newest members: David KI7TTS and Chris N7TTD. Our active membership count is now 111.

A great COVID-19 project might be the installation of a new mobile radio, or to inspect and do some maintenance on an existing installation!

Installation Items to Think About

  • Never use existing vehicle wiring to power any amateur radio gear. This includes fuse taps and accessory sockets!
  • Factory-supplied 120 volt inverters may cause RFI, and arcing can occur between the springloaded tip of the accessory socket plug and the positive contact inside the socket.
  • Solid wire should never be used in a mobile installation. This includes CAT5 cable often used as a less expensive alternative to factory-supplied, modularized cables.
  • Most mobile transceivers operate on 13.8 VDC. If the voltage drops much lower than 12.2, most transceivers will simply shut off or have lower power and transmission quality issues. Use of #12 gauge wire will work for most installations and prevent voltage drops.
  • Twist-on wire nuts should never be used as a splice.
  • One of the most important requirements for secure terminations, is using the right crimping tool.
  • Using the wrong size terminals such as #12 terminals for #18 wire is a common error. Use the correct size and try to use ring connectors.
  • All connectors should be both crimped and soldered to insure strength and low resistance connections. Try to avoid butt connectors.
  • Insulation temperature rating of vehicle wiring should be at least 90°C (195°F) in the passenger compartment, and 105°C (220°F) in the engine compartment.
  • All exposed wire should be covered with protective split loom.
  • Abrasion resistance is also important. XLP and PVC insulation materials are both acceptable, if they’re rated at the correct temperatures.
  • Correctly installed wiring should be out of sight, protected from abrasion and sharp edges, and positioned in such a way as to eliminate hazards and interference from or to vehicle wiring and controls.
  • Do not use vinyl electrical tape to secure the cables. Although the vinyl may not fail, the adhesive eventually becomes elastic which allows the tape to unwrap.
  • All wiring should be secured to prevent vibration damage to the insulation and/or connection points.

Power Connection Concerns

  • Some aluminum-bodied vehicles require special installation practices with respect to galvanic corrosion. Check the factory recommended installation procedures.
  • Preferably connect the positive power to the positive battery terminal and the negative lead to the same chassis grounding point as the battery’s chassis ground point and not to the battery negative terminal.
  • The negative lead fuse should not be removed. If the grounding point should lose its integrity, excessive current could flow through the transceiver’s negative lead.
  • It should be noted that, in some cases, the battery’s chassis grounding point is inaccessible. If this is the case, attach the transceiver’s ground connection as close as possible.

Maintenance Items to Consider

  • Time, dirt, and oxidation can cause connections to increase in resistance, which increases the voltage drop, so part of routine maintenance should include removing and reinserting fuses, power pole splices, and even transceiver-mounted power connectors.
  • There will always be some level of common mode current flow in any mobile installation. Poor antenna mounting techniques (mag and clip mounts) and locations (trailer hitch and bumper mounting) increase the level and proper choking of these currents must be applied.
  • Twisting the positive and negative power leads together to enhance noise immunity and/or cure alternator whine and/or cure ignition and RFI are myths.
  • Your transceiver fuses are normally ATC style, while most automotive fuses are ATO style.

Terminal Blocks

If possible, consider installation of a terminal block such as the RigRunner 4005. Connect the terminal block to the battery and battery chassis ground, and remember to fuse both leads. Now you have several power pole connection points in your vehicle to attach radios and other devices. Excess cabling should be shortened as required.

Unfortunately, some amateurs just can’t bring themselves to cut up a factory power cable. If you need to extend the cable later, take that cutoff piece (you did save it because you’re a typical ham, right?), apply power pole connectors to it, and you’re back to a full-length cable.