Topics

Help for Hams in the Camp Fire

carl.wf6j@gmail.com <carl.wf6j@...>
 

Hello all,

Was talking with a reporter that is doing some 'Heart warming" stories to help raise awareness and contributions for Fire Victims.

Started to think about this and am reaching out to the ECs and others asking for names & Calls of Hams that have lost their homes or were misplaced due to the fire. Think we could do a gofundme site to raise some money and help out our own "family".

I've contacted most of the folks that were providing communications there, and am now hoping that you will share information and Hams that fit this niche.

Thank you,
73,
Carl, WF6J
PIO Sacramento, CA
(916) 862-6802

W6WN
 

Hello All,

I've been working at ground zero in Paradise and Megalia since Saturday assisting with disaster recovery efforts to restore cell-phone services.

It is truly grim here. These two towns are completely rubbed out. Block after block, burnt to the ground - apartments, homes, trailer parks, retirement homes, schools, parks, churches, businesses. There is no electricity or lights, and complete darkness falls by 6 PM.

I can't imagine how any town could recover from a disaster of this size. There are 50,000 people who fled the day the fire started, most with not much more than the clothes they were wearing, and another 1,000 are still missing. The air is thick with smoke and toxins. The ground is buried under destroyed buildings and cars, fallen trees, burnt power poles, and everything covered with ash.

The entire area is cordoned off, and only emergency personnel will be allowed to enter for at least the next several weeks. Most residents won't be able to move back here for several months, if not years. Many will never return again. Without customers, many businesses will not rebuild and will simply close forever.

If there's any way you can be encouraged to help, please find a way to do so. Paradise and Megalia are not unique - they're just like every other small town scattered throughout the Sierras. This could happen to any of us and it cries out to us to do whatever we can to help our neighbors, Hams or not, however humble our contribution might be.

Alan - W6LAN

W6WN
 

Hello Carl,

I sincerely appreciate the thought but it's best if people try to help out from where they are now. No need for anyone to try and come here to help. No one can get anywhere near there without a government registration and permit. There are already thousands of contractors, and local, state and Federal workers with boots on the ground in the area. There has already been some looting and security is super tight with checkpoints and patrols. Being there at night in the wrong place could very well get someone shot, and all of the authorized Contractors have been ordered to get out of there by nightfall. Only the police and military and some of the Utility company employees remain.

The cell phone companies were particularly hard-hit because their sites are on hill tops where fire likes to go, and the fiber that serviced them and the towns was completely severed in several places. The bigger carriers like AT&T and Verizon have set up emergency mobile "COWs" (Cell On Wheel systems with satellite Internet back-hauls) on a number of sites. The only reason I'm able to get in during daylight hours is because I'm working on behalf of a Disaster Recovery company that contracted to set up satellite-Internet back-hauls for T-Mobile. T-Mobile also has a couple of COWs here, but there were eight more sites that were down, and they didn't have enough COWs to cover the rest, at least not at the moment. We're down to three sites left to bring back online, one more in Magalia tomorrow, and two more in Chester and Quincy.

On a Ham note, at least one of the local Repeaters, W6SCR in Chico, has been given over for exclusive use by local animal rescue workers during daylight hours. I monitor it throughout the day, and one of our group reported a lost cat near the graveyard here, one of the few places that did not burn up.

Thanks again for caring about this.

Alan

---------------------

W6LAN

On 11/19/2018 11:03 PM, carl.wf6j@... wrote:
SFARCers,

Wondering if the club might be able to brings lights and generators to the area up there?  Or maybe this should be driven by ARES Groups?

In the old days we just packed stuff, including a repeater, and headed out to help folks out.  I'm not able to do that anymore, but am welcome to ideas and volunteers.  SOunds like Alan is helping out a lot . Wonder why the Cell companies have not brought out their truck mounted units to provide cell and internet up there. 

I have to talk with a lawyer friend and should be ready to create a fund site. There are many sites  already setup for help. I was hoping to keep it Ham Radio related.  ANyone who wants to help, please let me know. I have been trying to get to the hams on the list, but that task is taking a lot longer.  

Any information would be helpful. 

Alan, that you for your efforts and keep us informed. 

Carl, WF6J
PIO Sacramento, CA


On Nov 19, 2018, at 10:06 PM, "W6LAN" <W6LAN@...> wrote:

Hello All,

I've been working at ground zero in Paradise and Megalia since Saturday assisting with disaster recovery efforts to restore cell-phone services.

It is truly grim here. These two towns are completely rubbed out. Block after block, burnt to the ground - apartments, homes, trailer parks, retirement homes, schools, parks, churches, businesses. There is no electricity or lights, and complete darkness falls by 6 PM.

I can't imagine how any town could recover from a disaster of this size. There are 50,000 people who fled the day the fire started, most with not much more than the clothes they were wearing, and another 1,000 are still missing. The air is thick with smoke and toxins. The ground is buried under destroyed buildings and cars, fallen trees, burnt power poles, and everything covered with ash.

The entire area is cordoned off, and only emergency personnel will be allowed to enter for at least the next several weeks. Most residents won't be able to move back here for several months, if not years. Many will never return again. Without customers, many businesses will not rebuild and will simply close forever.

If there's any way you can be encouraged to help, please find a way to do so. Paradise and Megalia are not unique - they're just like every other small town scattered throughout the Sierras. This could happen to any of us and it cries out to us to do whatever we can to help our neighbors, Hams or not, however humble our contribution might be.

Alan - W6LAN

Dennis - WU6X
 

Thanks so much for the updates and overview, Alan. We all hope you can wrap things up as quickly as possible and be home soon.
Dennis, WU6X

carl.wf6j@gmail.com <carl.wf6j@...>
 

SFARCers,

Wondering if the club might be able to brings lights and generators to the area up there?  Or maybe this should be driven by ARES Groups?

In the old days we just packed stuff, including a repeater, and headed out to help folks out.  I'm not able to do that anymore, but am welcome to ideas and volunteers.  SOunds like Alan is helping out a lot . Wonder why the Cell companies have not brought out their truck mounted units to provide cell and internet up there. 

I have to talk with a lawyer friend and should be ready to create a fund site. There are many sites  already setup for help. I was hoping to keep it Ham Radio related.  ANyone who wants to help, please let me know. I have been trying to get to the hams on the list, but that task is taking a lot longer.  

Any information would be helpful. 

Alan, that you for your efforts and keep us informed. 

Carl, WF6J
PIO Sacramento, CA


On Nov 19, 2018, at 10:06 PM, "W6LAN" <W6LAN@...> wrote:

Hello All,

I've been working at ground zero in Paradise and Megalia since Saturday assisting with disaster recovery efforts to restore cell-phone services.

It is truly grim here. These two towns are completely rubbed out. Block after block, burnt to the ground - apartments, homes, trailer parks, retirement homes, schools, parks, churches, businesses. There is no electricity or lights, and complete darkness falls by 6 PM.

I can't imagine how any town could recover from a disaster of this size. There are 50,000 people who fled the day the fire started, most with not much more than the clothes they were wearing, and another 1,000 are still missing. The air is thick with smoke and toxins. The ground is buried under destroyed buildings and cars, fallen trees, burnt power poles, and everything covered with ash.

The entire area is cordoned off, and only emergency personnel will be allowed to enter for at least the next several weeks. Most residents won't be able to move back here for several months, if not years. Many will never return again. Without customers, many businesses will not rebuild and will simply close forever.

If there's any way you can be encouraged to help, please find a way to do so. Paradise and Megalia are not unique - they're just like every other small town scattered throughout the Sierras. This could happen to any of us and it cries out to us to do whatever we can to help our neighbors, Hams or not, however humble our contribution might be.

Alan - W6LAN

Greg D
 

Hi Alan,

Interesting... I'm not hearing any ham callsigns being used, just
tactical. Sounds like a regular PD Dispatch.

145.290, if anyone wants to listen in. Easy copy with my beam aimed north.

Greg KO6TH


W6LAN wrote:

On a Ham note, at least one of the local Repeaters, W6SCR in Chico,
has been given over for exclusive use by local animal rescue workers
during daylight hours. I monitor it throughout the day, and one of our
group reported a lost cat near the graveyard here, one of the few
places that did not burn up.

Jim Piper
 

Kudos Alan for the huge contribution you are making to the recovery effort. What follows might be already well know to many and, perhaps not so well know by others.
In my humble experience working with the Red Cross during both Response and Recovery phases of disasters, the 2nd best (or perhaps the first?) thing folks can do is contribute $. Numerous ngo's jump into the fray, all with donated $. Whatever paid staff there might be is minimal at most. At shelters one will find 100% of the staffing done by volunteers, ARC handling housing, health services, mental health services, outreach, etc. Salvation Army, all volunteers preparing meals and feeding, faith-based ngo's providing shelter facilities, portable shower facilities, etc. SPCA and others taking care of disaster victim pets.Hams augmenting disaster comms, service groups like Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, and many, many more. SAR groups (presuming that's your contribution, Alan) are self-supporting.
Bottom line: $ to your ngo of choice. The groups know where money will be best used in their response and recovery efforts.
Jim / n6med

W6WN
 

Hello All,

We all just returned home this afternoon to take a break. I'll try to check into the 'Net tonight.

Jim is right. Money is what the NGOs need most since they can use it to buy to provide the help needed most. It's a pretty stunning mobilization on the ground there - well over two thousand workers involved.

Alan - W6LAN

W6WN
 

I wondered about that, too, and thought at first I'd mis-programmed my radio for a gov frequency instead of a Repeater in the Ham bands. More about that Repeater, and the people behind it:

W6SCR
Butte County Sheriff's Communication Reserve
1670 Albion Ct
Chico, CA 95973
USA
The Butte County Sheriff's Communications Reserve is an all-volunteer auxiliary of the Sheriffs Office. The team serves as Butte County's Auxiliary Communications unit and is available for deployment 24/7 to any agency who makes the request. The team maintains a repeater system on 145.290- tone 110.9 along with several APRS digipeaters and Igate.

More information, including pictures of its communications truck and HF station at the Sheriff's dispatch center can be seen at the website http://www.buttescr.org

The Butte County Sheriff’s Communication Reserve (BCSCR) is a 15 member, all-volunteer auxiliary unit of the Butte County Sheriff Department. Comm Reserve serves the Sheriff’s Office, allied agencies, select NGOs and the greater North Sacramento Valley region.

Comm Reserve is an on-demand team of communications professionals. BCSCR members set up tactical repeaters and IP infrastructure, program / keyload subscribers, maintain repeater sites and draft incident communications plans. The unit also performs select C2 functions.

BCSCR is a self-financing, not-for-profit and registered 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. More about donations here.




Alan - W6LAN

Greg D
 

Interesting organization, but I don't think it makes them exempt from needing to identify with valid amateur radio call signs if they are using amateur radio frequencies...

Greg  KO6TH


W6LAN wrote:

I wondered about that, too, and thought at first I'd mis-programmed my radio for a gov frequency instead of a Repeater in the Ham bands. More about that Repeater, and the people behind it:

W6SCR
Butte County Sheriff's Communication Reserve
1670 Albion Ct
Chico, CA 95973
USA
The Butte County Sheriff's Communications Reserve is an all-volunteer auxiliary of the Sheriffs Office. The team serves as Butte County's Auxiliary Communications unit and is available for deployment 24/7 to any agency who makes the request. The team maintains a repeater system on 145.290- tone 110.9 along with several APRS digipeaters and Igate.

More information, including pictures of its communications truck and HF station at the Sheriff's dispatch center can be seen at the website http://www.buttescr.org

The Butte County Sheriff’s Communication Reserve (BCSCR) is a 15 member, all-volunteer auxiliary unit of the Butte County Sheriff Department. Comm Reserve serves the Sheriff’s Office, allied agencies, select NGOs and the greater North Sacramento Valley region.

Comm Reserve is an on-demand team of communications professionals. BCSCR members set up tactical repeaters and IP infrastructure, program / keyload subscribers, maintain repeater sites and draft incident communications plans. The unit also performs select C2 functions.

BCSCR is a self-financing, not-for-profit and registered 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. More about donations here.




Alan - W6LAN

W6WN
 

If it's Disaster Recovery, and Government Agencies are involved, maybe they can supersede customary FCC Comm ID rules due local emergency conditions. Seems like I remember a question in one of the license exams on this.

I wrote to two contacts I found on the sites to thank them, and to ask for more information on how this effort was supported, eg, who supplied the radios, etc..

Alan - W6LAN


On 11/22/2018 11:45 PM, Greg D wrote:
Interesting organization, but I don't think it makes them exempt from needing to identify with valid amateur radio call signs if they are using amateur radio frequencies...

Greg  KO6TH


W6LAN wrote:

I wondered about that, too, and thought at first I'd mis-programmed my radio for a gov frequency instead of a Repeater in the Ham bands. More about that Repeater, and the people behind it:

W6SCR
Butte County Sheriff's Communication Reserve
1670 Albion Ct
Chico, CA 95973
USA
The Butte County Sheriff's Communications Reserve is an all-volunteer auxiliary of the Sheriffs Office. The team serves as Butte County's Auxiliary Communications unit and is available for deployment 24/7 to any agency who makes the request. The team maintains a repeater system on 145.290- tone 110.9 along with several APRS digipeaters and Igate.

More information, including pictures of its communications truck and HF station at the Sheriff's dispatch center can be seen at the website http://www.buttescr.org

The Butte County Sheriff’s Communication Reserve (BCSCR) is a 15 member, all-volunteer auxiliary unit of the Butte County Sheriff Department. Comm Reserve serves the Sheriff’s Office, allied agencies, select NGOs and the greater North Sacramento Valley region.

Comm Reserve is an on-demand team of communications professionals. BCSCR members set up tactical repeaters and IP infrastructure, program / keyload subscribers, maintain repeater sites and draft incident communications plans. The unit also performs select C2 functions.

BCSCR is a self-financing, not-for-profit and registered 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. More about donations here.




Alan - W6LAN


Greg D
 

My recollection is that there have been a number of discussions over the years on the "use any means" clause in the regulations...  Arguably everything such agencies do is an emergency, but I don't believe that gives them cart-blanche to use ham on an on-going basis.  Note also that this is specifically not a governmental agency, as they describe it.  It's a 503C non-profit.  The site also lists a ham radio license as beneficial but not required.  Does not seem right.

Perhaps a good question for follow-up with folks who really deal with this sort of regulatory stuff...  I'm not an authority in any regard on this.

Greg  KO6TH


Alan Thompson - W6LAN wrote:

If it's Disaster Recovery, and Government Agencies are involved, maybe they can supersede customary FCC Comm ID rules due local emergency conditions. Seems like I remember a question in one of the license exams on this.

I wrote to two contacts I found on the sites to thank them, and to ask for more information on how this effort was supported, eg, who supplied the radios, etc..

Alan - W6LAN


On 11/22/2018 11:45 PM, Greg D wrote:
Interesting organization, but I don't think it makes them exempt from needing to identify with valid amateur radio call signs if they are using amateur radio frequencies...

Greg  KO6TH


W6LAN wrote:

I wondered about that, too, and thought at first I'd mis-programmed my radio for a gov frequency instead of a Repeater in the Ham bands. More about that Repeater, and the people behind it:

W6SCR
Butte County Sheriff's Communication Reserve
1670 Albion Ct
Chico, CA 95973
USA
The Butte County Sheriff's Communications Reserve is an all-volunteer auxiliary of the Sheriffs Office. The team serves as Butte County's Auxiliary Communications unit and is available for deployment 24/7 to any agency who makes the request. The team maintains a repeater system on 145.290- tone 110.9 along with several APRS digipeaters and Igate.

More information, including pictures of its communications truck and HF station at the Sheriff's dispatch center can be seen at the website http://www.buttescr.org

The Butte County Sheriff’s Communication Reserve (BCSCR) is a 15 member, all-volunteer auxiliary unit of the Butte County Sheriff Department. Comm Reserve serves the Sheriff’s Office, allied agencies, select NGOs and the greater North Sacramento Valley region.

Comm Reserve is an on-demand team of communications professionals. BCSCR members set up tactical repeaters and IP infrastructure, program / keyload subscribers, maintain repeater sites and draft incident communications plans. The unit also performs select C2 functions.

BCSCR is a self-financing, not-for-profit and registered 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. More about donations here.




Alan - W6LAN