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Author Topic: Tips and tricks...for newbies?  (Read 29675 times)
KA4NMA
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Posts: 336




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« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2013, 09:04:50 PM »

Another tip is to make sure you use the radios and know how to operate them.  Putting them in a go box and not using them, would cause problems when you are deployed.

Do not deploy, until you are told to. 

Forget the flashing lights, "metal" police looking badge other such things. 

An ID ARES badge is good to have and if possible, include a photo. Do not forget your drivers license.  One good idea, I heard at a training conference for the North Carolina Baptist Emergency Radio Service (part of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief program) is to place all credentials (ID badge, etc), copies of driver license, handbooks, hats, manuals, and such in a separate bag. That way, you will not be scrabbling to find them at the last minute.

Include snack foods and bottled water with your go box. Also include pencils, pens, markers and a notepad. Remember to bring medicines, including prescription meds.

Look professional, that is take a shower, comb your hair, take care of your body dress nice and do not look like a slob.

Be sure to keep batteries charged, and rotate non rechargeable batteries.  Not only food but batteries have a shelf life.

For inside work, a nice ARES hat or shirt would be nice. For outside work, a reflective vest is good. Do not wear worn, torn clothes.  Do not overload hats and shirts with pins, patches, etc.  Remember to look good as you are not only represent the local ARES, but also all of Amateur Radio.

Check the attitude at the door. We are here to serve. We are not to be the boss, or have the arrogant and prideful attitude that I am superman here to save the day.  Servant and humility is needed.

Attach bright red ribbons on antenna's and guy wires.  Use traffic cones if needed.  You do not want to have a trip hazard or safety issue.

Take the NIMS (ICS) free classes. At a minimum, take the 100, 200, 700 and 800 courses.  Never stop learning, and ignore the haters.

Listen to the ARES leaders, and the government leaders.

Every so often, take your go box and antennas and go to a local park and set up and operate. Practice, Practice and be ready.

Check out the ARRl E-Letter, and hints and kinks in QST (and the book).

Be careful with what you find on the internet.  Some of it is crazy.

Be sure to know about other groups such as Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Hurricane Watch Net and others.  Know their frequencies and operating procedures.  The are open  to non members to check in.

Remember family first then EMCOMM.

I hope this helps you out.

Randy Ka4nma.
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W9FIB
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Posts: 709




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« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2013, 04:39:30 AM »

Very nice post Randy. For someone new to EMCOMM, that makes a good checklist to follow and learn.

I would also suggest learning proper message handling. We are lucky in our group to have the Section Traffic Manager as a member and teacher. Also learn what local and regional traffic nets are in your area. That way when deployed, you know how and where to get vital information moved when direct contact is not available.
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KD8KCH
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2013, 07:56:37 PM »

Learn your radio and how to program it without using the computer, print out a pocket guide and put it in your go bag. We had an event that we had one station 100' from net control at which we placed a new ham, he did not even have a radio yet so one of our club members gave him a spare HT but from that location he could not bring up the repeater, I suggested putting the radio on simplex but he could not do it because he only programed his radio's with the computer.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2013, 06:52:49 AM »

Not to stir up the pot, but if the sun is that bright, a black sheet will block it--and roast you.  You would be better off with a light colored or white sheet.  It would block the direct sunlight just the same.  THAT is common sense, but as I alluded to, it's all but dead.
Yes, taking a white sheet to a public event, and then wearing it over your head seems like eminently good sense to me...  Glad you thought of that one, not me...  Smiley
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
NK7Z
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Posts: 785


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« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2013, 06:54:12 AM »

Hung out with an elmer for a couple hours yesterday. He showed me his ARES setup and everything. He mentioned keeping an old piece of water hose to put over coax if you have to route through a doorway, which was a great tip. I wouldn't of thought of that until my coax got messed up once. It made me wonder what other nuggets of wisdom are out there that you could share with us newer operators.
When I purchase a radio, I also purchase one of the "Nifty" operation cards for it at the same time...  They are cheap, and have saved me several times on rigs I never reprogram by hand...  I have a review of them at:
http://nk7z.net/review-of-n6fns-nifty-mini-manuals/
What happens is I get a rig, it goes to the car, I use a computer to program it, and then I need to make a change, only after a few years...  Out comes the Nifty Card...  Smiley
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
W0ALE
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2013, 10:58:23 AM »

Oh yeah, I got the Niftys for all my rigs.  I can program them without them, but they are good to have.

I got to work some Red Cross shelters during our Black Forest fire last week.  EC was saying ICOM is looking to donate some equipment to us since we've done good work during the fires 2 years in a row.

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NK7Z
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« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2013, 11:03:49 AM »

Oh yeah, I got the Niftys for all my rigs.  I can program them without them, but they are good to have.

I got to work some Red Cross shelters during our Black Forest fire last week.  EC was saying ICOM is looking to donate some equipment to us since we've done good work during the fires 2 years in a row.

You must not own an Icom 2720H then...  I swear, I can have the Nifty card in my hand, and the manual in the other hand, and still not be able to program it quickly...  All other rigs are easy, and don't really even need the Nifty cards, but the 2720 for some reason just defies programming...  At least for me...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2013, 03:35:54 AM »

Not to stir up the pot, but if the sun is that bright, a black sheet will block it--and roast you.  You would be better off with a light colored or white sheet.  It would block the direct sunlight just the same.  THAT is common sense, but as I alluded to, it's all but dead.
Yes, taking a white sheet to a public event, and then wearing it over your head seems like eminently good sense to me...  Glad you thought of that one, not me...  Smiley

Said sheet, not hood.   Smiley  In any event, if its draped in such a way to block the sun it isn't going to look anything like what you allude to.  But I grant you the point--that I didn't think of.
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2013, 03:24:46 PM »

Sheet as in sheet of paper or sheet of cardboard. Not sheet as in bedsheets - obviously you shouldn't go dressed as Casper the Friendly Ghost or a KKK member.

I've used the cardboard box trick with my laptop outdoors. But tarps, duct tape, and cordage, can be used both to shield from the sun and rain. Some strong garbage bags (bin liners) are also useful for many things, so I have a roll in my backpack always.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 03:28:36 PM by LA9XSA » Logged
GREGWTH7MMMAG
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2013, 09:35:23 PM »

Oh yeah, I got the Niftys for all my rigs.  I can program them without them, but they are good to have.

I got to work some Red Cross shelters during our Black Forest fire last week.  EC was saying ICOM is looking to donate some equipment to us since we've done good work during the fires 2 years in a row.


It should be interesting to see what comes out of that, and what we may get.  Almost wish it was Kenwood offering.  I believe Icom and HRO did something similar for an ARES district around Denver some time ago.  They got a bunch of Dstar stuff IIRC.
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KD0PWN
KJ4RHB
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Posts: 5




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« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2013, 04:33:33 AM »

How about...

Don't wait until Field Day to test your equipment.

I get together with a few local hams every once in a while in a park on a weekend to have some radio fun. Mostly QRP stuff - but it's good practice and lets you try out your equipment / gear.

By doing this... you'll get better at setting up a radio in the field and often expand your list of items you will want to bring next time; to make your life easier.

Such as... a little brush to remove pollen / dust off of your radio display. That's something I learned last time around.

Hope this helps...
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W5LZ
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2013, 07:08:06 AM »

Just a few suggestions that most people 'forget' about for whatever reason.

A fairly large hammer.  Should be carry-able, but also not a 'tack-hammer', you know?
A lighter, even if you don't smoke.  Comes in handy for a bunch of things.
Misc. tools, including the ones you usually use for common things you 'do' around radios.  A pair of pliers at least, they are always handy to have (screw-drivers '+' and '-').
Cord/rope/string/zip-ties!  Nothing you want to trust your 'neck' to, just to tie stuff.  Make that a bunch of it, sort of.
You'll need something to hold all of that misc.stuff so make that box something you can sit on.  If it has wheels on it that's even better!
As a general rule, all the electrical cords for your equipment, patch cords, the ones for 'digital' stuff... and whatever it was you forgot the last time?
How about a cup.  And a pocket knife.  Neither has to be huge, just available.
Another idea is to look what others may have included in their 'go bag'.  Bet you'll see something you didn't think of and can't figure out how you ever lived without it.
Extra batteries!
 - Paul

Need a van to carry all of that 'important' stuff?  Weed out what you can and then get used to tote'n the rest around.  Do that a couple of times and you'll be amazed at what else you can 'weed out'...
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2013, 07:51:16 AM »

It seems that 'tips and tricks' mean different things to different people.  I took it to mean little ideas and methods to help in setting up a ham radio 'station' for communicating purposes.  It seems to have been twisted a bit to list things that would be useful in a go kit.  Oh, well, different things to different folk.
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KG6YSF
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Posts: 91




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« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2013, 08:09:42 PM »

550 cord or what a lot of places call para-cord. So named because it is what is used to connect the edges of a parachute to the harness, it actually has a test strength rating of 550lbs. There does exist cheap knock offs. Very thin and strong!

A slinky can replace a broken HF antenna in a pinch.

Chem-lights, the plastic stick that you bend to break and shake, are great for marking things in the dark and light if you need it. Completely harmless too if broken open; personnel experience don't ask. Wink

Hikers personal first aid kit.

A chair, folding camp style.

"Engineers tape" is a plastic strip on a roll. OSHA Safety colors, very easy to mark about anything and highly visible. Home Depot or similar have it. I mark the electric fence wire around the ranch if it is in a new place.

Instead of a plastic tub use a cooler it is a great desk and some have quick access hatch you can easily clear and not have to move every thing. Double tasker!

Use 2 115ah deep cycle batteries and a solar boat battery maintainer and you can run for days! No A/C issues. You can even connect then together with a better set of jumper cables. I run my Drake TR7 that way for a week in elk camp.   
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"Rangers Lead The Way!"  "Sua Sponte"   "Litalis Velox Silens"
When all else fails ham radio is there!
FT2900, FT8900, VX6, Ft60, TS940SAT, Drake TR7, MFJ 969
KD8GTP
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #44 on: October 20, 2013, 08:29:14 AM »

I agree with the comments regarding rotating items in your Go Box. I keep mine in the trunk of my car all year round and between the hot summers and freezing winters the contents take a beating. So my suggestion is also check the contents of the first aid kit. We had the grandchildren at the zoo last summer and one scraped his knee. I took a bandage from my first aid kit and it was dried out, the antibiotic creams were hard and the other supplies had dried out. Lesson learned is don't over look the first aid kit. One more point, check your vehicle when you check your Go Box. The Go Box does you no good if you can't get to where you are going. A buddy of mine was deploying for ARES, got half way to the scene and the strobe lightbar came flying off the roof. The guy behind him said it hung on for a while by just the power cable but eventually went air borne. Lesson learned is don't neglect your vehicle and emergency lights, this guy was out a $900 lightbar!
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