Blount Emergency Amateur Radio Service

Our mission is to provide communications assistance by trained volunteer operators to public safety and other community agencies and organizations in the Blount County area during emergencies and other times of need.

Partnerships

BEARS Logo
ARES Logo

ARES

Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

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Team App Logo

Blount County ARES

The Blount County ARES group is the primary group supported by BEARS.

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Blount County Logo

Blount County EMA

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Blount Memorial Hospital Logo

Blount Memorial Hospital

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Latest News

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Volunteers Needed - 2024 Strawberry Plains Half Marathon

It is time again to step up and help with the Strawberry Plains Half Marathon and 10K.

The event is schedule for Saturday February 17, 2024. Race starts at 8:00 AM; volunteers should be in place by 7:30 AM.

If you are interesting in volunteering, send Lloyd Pitney an email with your:

Name:
Phone Number:
Call Sign:
Location you may want:

If you plan on working with someone, please let Lloyd know their information also.

Lloyd Pitney: pitney9429@aol.com

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Happy New Year!

As we welcome in 2024, we want to look ahead to our upcoming events. These events offer a chance for us to come together, share experiences, and, most importantly, play radio!

Mark your calendars for these fantastic opportunities to make a positive difference while having a great time:

- 01/27 Winter Field Day 2024
- 02/17 Strawberry Plains Half Marathon 2024
- 03/16 Sevierville Hamfest 2024
- 04/07 Knoxville Marathon 2024
- 06/01 Cherohala Challenge 2024
- 06/15 Knoxville Hamfest 2024

If you are aware of other events that should be added to the calendar, please share that information with me at ki4hdu@gmail.com.

May this New Year bring you abundant happiness, good health, and the fulfillment that comes from making a positive impact on the lives of others. Here’s to another year of making a difference together!

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Annual Christmas Dinner This Wednesday

We will be gathering this Wednesday at the Windy City Grill for our annual Christmas dinner. Spouses/significant others are welcome – this is a Dutch treat (each person pays their own expenses) event.

NOTE we will not be having a regular monthly meeting in December.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

https://bcares.teamapp.com/events/23215514-annual-christmas-dinner?detail=v1&_expiresat=1706745599

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60-meter rulemaking

The ARRL is asking that all radio amateurs urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue the existing use of the 60-meter band. A public comment period is open until October 30, 2023. ARRL encourages expressions of support to the FCC for the current 100 W ERP power limit (instead of reducing the power limit to 15 W EIRP) and continuing secondary access to the current channels.

The 60 meter band is important for interoperability between the US government and US amateur radio.

Read more at https://www.arrl.org/60-meter-band

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Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills

In an earthquake, you may only have seconds to protect yourself before strong shaking knocks you down, or something falls on you. Practice earthquake-safe actions on October 19. Why? Because when the adrenaline kicks in, you may not act safely if you haven’t practiced the Drop, Cover, Hold On drill before that moment. Don’t wait until the shaking – register at ShakeOut.org/register to practice earthquake safety with your community.

Invite everyone who matters to you to register and ShakeOut this year– on 10/19 or whatever day works.. Everyone is welcome to participate – individuals, families, businesses, schools, government agencies and organizations!

Are You Ready to ShakeOut?

Millions of people live and work in earthquake-prone regions of the United States. A major earthquake could cause unprecedented devastation for one of these regions but also affect the economy of the entire country. What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine how well we survive and recover.

Each year, Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills involve millions of participants worldwide through broad-based outreach programs, media partnerships, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. The drill is held annually on the third Thursday of October. This year, International ShakeOut Day will be on October 19. However people and organizations can hold their drills on any other day of the year.

A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of comprehensive science-based earthquake research and the lessons learned from decades of social science research about why people get prepared. The result is a “teachable moment” on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes). ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.

Not just any drill will accomplish this; it needs to be big. It must inspire communities to come together. It must involve children at school and parents at work, prompting conversations at home. It must allow every organization, city, etc., to make it their own event. We are all in this together.

To participate, go to ShakeOut.org/register and pledge your family, school, business, or organization’s participation in the drill. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and involve others. At the minimum practice one of the recommended protective actions listed at ShakeOut.org/dropcoverholdon. It is only a one-minute commitment for something that can save your life.

For more information, visit ShakeOut.org.

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Exploring APRS Client Options: From Mobile Apps to Desktop Favorites

Introduction Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) is a real-time tactical communications protocol that supports
- tracking the location of other stations and objects,
- sending and receiving short messages, and
- monitoring weather data.

In this post, we will explore APRS client options, focusing on popular mobile apps like aprs.fi for iOS and aprsdroid for Android phones, before delving into desktop favorites such as APRSISCE/32, YAAC, PinpointAPRS, and XASTIR.

Mobile aprs.fi for iOS
URL: [aprs.fi on the App Store](https://apps.apple.com/us/app/aprs-fi/id922155038?at=1000la28&ct=aprsfi&uo=4&mt=8&pt=2223203) aprs.fi is one of the most widely used APRS clients for iOS devices, offering an intuitive interface for tracking stations, objects, and weather data on a map. Users can view the positions of nearby APRS stations as well as send and receive messages. Additionally, aprs.fi has a built-in Software modem (requires cables) and it can connect to BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices such as the [Mobilinkd TNC4](https://store.mobilinkd.com/products/mobilinkd-tnc4) which will allow you to connect to a radio for complete off-line functionality.

aprsdroid for Android
URL: [APRSdroid – APRS for Android](https://aprsdroid.org/) Similarly, aprsdroid caters to Android users with similar functionality. It allows users to visualize APRS information on a map and send and receive messages. It too can connect to external TNCs.

Desktop APRSISCE/32 – The Desktop Powerhouse
URL: [APRSISCE/32](http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/) For desktop users, APRSISCE/32 stands out as a robust and feature-rich client for Windows operating systems. It offers an extensive array of features, including real-time mapping, messaging, telemetry monitoring, and more.

APRSISCE/32 stores map tiles and station data locally, allowing you to operate in remote areas or during emergencies where internet access may be unavailable. This feature-packed application might require a bit of a learning curve, but its offline capabilities and versatility make it a top choice for advanced APRS users.

YAAC – Yet Another APRS Client
URL: [YAAC – Yet Another APRS Client](https://www.ka2ddo.org/ka2ddo/YAAC.html YAAC, as its name suggests, is another noteworthy APRS client that offers cross-platform support for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It boasts an easy-to-use interface with mapping, messaging, and weather monitoring capabilities. Additionally, YAAC can operate offline by caching map data, making it a reliable option when exploring areas with limited network coverage.

Some of my favorite features for YAAC come in the [Optional Plugins](https://www.ka2ddo.org/ka2ddo/YAAC.html#plugins) that are available.

YAAC’s user-friendly design and offline functionality make it a great choice for beginners and seasoned APRS enthusiasts alike.

PinpointAPRS – Simplicity with Offline Efficiency
URL: [PinPoint APRS](https://www.pinpointaprs.com/) PinpointAPRS is a lightweight APRS client designed for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Despite its simplicity, it packs essential features such as mapping, station tracking, and messaging.

PinpointAPRS’ lightweight nature make it a valuable tool for users who prefer a no-nonsense APRS experience with offline functionality.

XASTIR – Complexity Meets Comprehensive Offline Functionality
URL: [XastirWiki](https://xastir.org/) For experienced APRS users who crave extensive customization and powerful offline capabilities, XASTIR is a top pick. Available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, XASTIR provides an impressive array of features, including digital mapping, weather data, messaging, and custom scripting.

XASTIR’s offline functionality allows users to cache map data and operate in remote or emergency scenarios with no internet access. While its learning curve might be steeper than other options, the rewards are plentiful for those willing to invest time in mastering this powerful APRS client.

Conclusion APRS offers a fascinating world of real-time tactical communication for amateur radio enthusiasts and emergency responders. The choice of APRS client depends on your platform and level of expertise. For mobile users, aprs.fi for iOS and aprsdroid for Android provide reliable offline capabilities. On the desktop, APRSISCE/32, YAAC, PinpointAPRS, and XASTIR offer a range of options, with XASTIR standing out as a complex yet comprehensive favorite.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced APRS user, the ability to function without the internet is essential in emergencies or when exploring remote areas. So choose the APRS client that best suits your needs and venture forth confidently into the world of APRS tracking and communication!

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Upcoming Events

26 FEB

6:00pm - 7:00pm, 26 Feb

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SKYWARN Spotter Training Classes - Blount County *UPDATED LOCATION*

Find more information and register at https://www.weather.gov/mrx/skywarn_classes

Feb 26, 2024 6 pm EST BLOUNT COUNTY TN

Due to our normal meeting place not being available due to maintenance, it is being held at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 429 Sandy Springs Road. Turn east off Hwy 411 on to Sandy Springs Rd. Cross the first intersection (Niles Ferry Rd), two more streets and just past the Camden Courts sign. It’s the next right to the St. Paul Lutheran Church (sign) on your right, turn into the parking lot. If you miss the sign and get to the fire station, just do a quick U-turn.

Josh Marler
joshmarler911@gmail.com

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27 FEB

7:00pm - 9:00pm, 27 Feb

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Blount County ECS Monthly Meeting

The February BCARES meeting has been changed to Feb 27 due to sickness.

Blount County ECS Monthly Meeting
held at:
Blount County E-911 Center
1431 William Blount Dr.
Maryville, TN 37801

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29 FEB

9:00pm - 9:15pm, 29 Feb

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Blount ECS Weekly Net

This is our weekly, Thursday night net. Please check-in if you are available. Surrounding counties are welcome to check-in so we can confirm our cross-county communications.

If the net is not called by 9:05 PM, assume that net control is not available and call the net.

The Blount County ARES net normally meets on Thursday at 9:00 PM using 146.625 Mhz, tone 118.8 Hz, offset -0.600 Mhz as the primary frequency. Alternate frequencies include 146.655, offset -600, tone 100 Hz and 445.900 Mhz (simplex).

Anytime there is severe weather or an area emergency you should monitor our primary frequencies and the Blount Memorial Hospital simplex frequency 147.420 for help requests.

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7 MAR

9:00pm - 9:15pm, 7 Mar

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Blount ECS Weekly Net

This is our weekly, Thursday night net. Please check-in if you are available. Surrounding counties are welcome to check-in so we can confirm our cross-county communications.

If the net is not called by 9:05 PM, assume that net control is not available and call the net.

The Blount County ARES net normally meets on Thursday at 9:00 PM using 146.625 Mhz, tone 118.8 Hz, offset -0.600 Mhz as the primary frequency. Alternate frequencies include 146.655, offset -600, tone 100 Hz and 445.900 Mhz (simplex).

Anytime there is severe weather or an area emergency you should monitor our primary frequencies and the Blount Memorial Hospital simplex frequency 147.420 for help requests.

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14 MAR

9:00pm - 9:15pm, 14 Mar

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Blount ECS Weekly Net

This is our weekly, Thursday night net. Please check-in if you are available. Surrounding counties are welcome to check-in so we can confirm our cross-county communications.

If the net is not called by 9:05 PM, assume that net control is not available and call the net.

The Blount County ARES net normally meets on Thursday at 9:00 PM using 146.625 Mhz, tone 118.8 Hz, offset -0.600 Mhz as the primary frequency. Alternate frequencies include 146.655, offset -600, tone 100 Hz and 445.900 Mhz (simplex).

Anytime there is severe weather or an area emergency you should monitor our primary frequencies and the Blount Memorial Hospital simplex frequency 147.420 for help requests.

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16 MAR

8:00am - 2:00pm, 16 Mar

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