In October our team participated in a Halloween open house at the Santa Rosa County Emergency Operations Center. Several members of our team volunteered to speak with visitors that came in about what we do to support the Emergency Management team during times of emergencies as well as what amateur radio is all about. We thank the Emergency Management team for allowing us to join in on this special event!
Well, it can’t be our June article without a summary of ARRL Field Day in Santa Rosa County. One thing we did differently this year is setup all our antennas and radios on Friday evening. Every year we would setup on Saturday morning but, with the heat, we were always spent by the time the event started so this was a welcome change.
For Field Day this year, we once again partnered with other volunteer organizations that support Santa Rosa County to have them to join us in showcasing what we do for the community. We setup with numerous booths and our EOC’s Mobile Command Post and our ARES communications trailer. The purpose behind this is not only to interact with the community but to also allow the various organizations to interact with each other. National organizations included the Red Cross and United Way and local organizations including CERT, SAFER Santa Rosa, and Legal Services of North Florida.
We kicked off our official “public” event at 1:00P to coincide with the start of Field Day but the weather had other plans in mind. Unfortunately, our event was cut short when a massive severe thunderstorm moved through the area. Thankfully we had made the decision to “call the event” in time for most of the partner organizations to get their booths broken down ahead of the storm. We lost around 5 hours of on-air time due to the severe weather that moved in.
Before the storms moved in, we did have the opportunity to provide meals to all the first responders and dispatchers that were on duty and had the chance to stop by. We fully believe in ARES being an outreach opportunity and each team of first responders that stopped by took the time to visit all the booths and our communications trailers to see what we do for the community. Thanks to all those who put their lives on the line to serve our communities!
After serving the Northern Florida Section since 2018, Karl Martin – K4HBN has stepped down from the position of Section Emergency Coordinator due to personal reasons. Karl was instrumental in the creation of the Florida Tri-Section ARES Position Task Book and many other efforts to help unify ARES across the state. “It’s been a privilege working with you these past years. I hope to still be an active participant in the Section and ARES so I may help in any way I can,” said Karl in his message to the section’s Emergency Coordinators.
Stepping into the role is Arc Thames – W4CPD. Arc is no stranger to incident management having served in the Auxiliary Unit of the Crestview, FL Police Department for nine years, ending as the Lieutenant of their volunteer police force. In 2019 Arc’s focus shifted to amateur radio in Santa Rosa County where he became an ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator. In 2020, just prior to Hurricanes Sally and Zeta that impacted the county, Arc succeeded Ray Crepeau-K1HG as ARES Emergency Coordinator of Santa Rosa County. “I have worked with Arc for some time, and I think he will make a great SEC. I look forward to working with him during the transition,” said Karl-K4HBN.
“I’m extremely excited, energized, and thankful to be given this opportunity,” said Arc-W4CPD. Arc says he has many ideas he hopes will continue the work Karl-K4HBN had started. As to not lose his talent and wealth of knowledge in emergency communications and ARES, Arc has asked Karl to stay on as Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator. “Stay tuned for great things ahead,” said Arc-W4CPD.
For more information on the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program in the Northern Florida Section, visit their website arrl-nfl.org/ares.
We want to take a moment to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped setup, greeted visitors, operated or stopped by. We had close to 40-50 visitors come by during our main public event and 99% of them donated at least one item to the Food Raising Friends food drive! Our friends from FRF told us that many of the people that didn’t know about the food drive left and came back.
We also want to sincerely thank the Santa Rosa County Emergency Management team for allowing us to host our event at the EOC and to the Public Safety Director, Brad Baker, for stopping by to say hello as well!
Mobile Trailer Dedication
Food Drive Drawing
Thanks to the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners for designating June 20-27, 2021 as Amateur Radio Week in Santa Rosa County!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to the “Ham Hands On”, tailgater and license testing. We had a fantastic turnout despite the weather. Special thanks to Bob-W5CL for hosting us, Brian/Beth for the food, and the Milton Amateur Radio Club for testing. We had 10 successful license tests today! Stay tuned for our next event.
We want to send out a HUGE thank you to all those who either came out to help/participate or visit us at Winter Field Day! While we fought some band condition issues on Saturday evening, other than a little rain, the weather was perfect and we had a great time. We hope you’ll make plans to join us next year!