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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Another Successful Winter Field Day

We had a good time at Winter Field Day this year and ended up with 4,248 points submitted.

We had contacts in 42 states, 5 Canadian sections, 3 Hawaiian stations, clearly heard a POTA station in New Zealand work a Hawaiian while we were in the pile up. Worked 2 SA and 1 European with ease.

We got 500 bonus each for non-commercial power, being away from home, and using antennas specifically set up for WFD.

We had a slight change in operating location from the last two years. We moved from the firing range parking lot to the pavilion, which gave us an outdoor work area sheltered from the rain that has visited us all three years. The shelter was nice for protecting the generator and let us wrap up coax/antennas in a nice dry location.

Entry Class: We were setup to operate two stations simultaneously, therefore our entry class was “2”

Entry Category: We used the trailer that has been under renovation for the last year or so and found the improvements to be very nice. Since this is a “potentially mobile” structure (i.e., cargo trailer), this put us in the “M” category.

We ran the radios on battery power for the entire event (we did not use the generator at all). We did have commercial power for the logging laptops, a heater and one overhead light, but for the most part the large batteries in the trailer and the 200 Watt solar panel on the roof carried the load. We did exercise the generator before and after the event (it’s always good to run them periodically).

The Yaesu FT-991A worked fabulously.

We used two antennas derived from the Chameleon antenna kit that we have – we did supplement it with a couple of components from my Chameleon antenna system. One antenna was setup as an inverted V – this was the antenna that we used for digital communications (exclusively JS8Call this year). Another was vertical attached to the corner of the trailer – this was used for most of the voice contacts. Both antennas worked well for us and let us cover bands from 80 to 10 meters.

We used the FTM-300 and the antenna on the roof of the trailer to chat with some of the SMARC/ARES members and found that radio worked well.

In addition to the BEARS equipment in the trailer, my Icom IC-7100 (https://bcares.teamapp.com/clubs/465784/articles/5250859-winter-field-day-digital-station-setup?detail=v1&_expiresat=1677628799) was used for digital contacts.

Contest: WFD
Call Sign: WB4ARS
Category: 2M
Location: TN
Power: LOW
Band: ALL
POTA: No
Non-Comm Pwr: Yes
Op Outdoors: No
Not at Home: Yes
Temp Ants: Yes
Sat QSO: No
Mobile Op: No
QSOs in Log: 201

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Winter Field Day - 2023

Winter Field Day 2023 is this weekend and we’re gearing up to participate.

Winter Field Day is an annual event which is held on the last full weekend in January (January 28-29 this year). It encourages operators to set up and operate portable amateur radio stations in outdoor, winter conditions. The goal is to promote emergency preparedness and demonstrate the capabilities of amateur radio in adverse conditions. Participants are encouraged to use alternative power sources, such as generators or batteries, and to make contacts with as many other stations as possible using various modes of communication.

Full details (including rules can be found on their website: https://www.winterfieldday.com/

We will be operating from our newly updated trailer at the Blount County 911 center, setting up in the same general area that we have for the past two years. Setup will begin Saturday morning and the event begins at 2pm.

We will be using the radio equipment that we acquired with funds from a grant from the Amateur Radio Digital Communications group (https://bcares.teamapp.com/clubs/465784/articles/5910070-grant-proposal-to-ardc-accepted?detail=v1&_expiresat=1677628799).

We will be using the BEARS club-call (WB4ARS) for this event.

Past stories about our involvement with WFD:
- WFD 2022: https://bcares.teamapp.com/clubs/465784/articles/6279518-winter-field-day-2022?detail=v1&expires_at=1677628799
- WFD 2021 digital station: https://bcares.teamapp.com/clubs/465784/articles/5250859-winter-field-day-digital-station-setup?detail=v1&_expiresat=1677628799
- WFD 2021 Photos: detail=v1">https://bcares.teamapp.com/photos/1459660?detail=v1

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BC ARES Holiday Gathering

We will be meeting at Windy City Grill on 411 on Tuesday Dec 20 for Dutch treat dinner. This will be in place of our monthly meeting.

Please arrive by 6:15 if possible. Also RSVP if you plan to attend. I will be there at 6 pm. They won’t seat us until all have arrived. I asked for 12 spaces.

Lou
WB3JKQ
865-621-0715

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EM Assistant

EM Assistant is an Android app that is designed to help you maintain an Activity Log in the standard ICS 214 format. The app lets you setup the details such as the incident name, operational period, etc and then it makes it easy to record activity as it happens. Once the event is concluded, it is then easy to export the information as a PDF in the ICS 214 format that you can then easily email to your incident commander.

I used this app on an 8" Lenovo tablet during the Color Me Mutt event. I found the interface to be very easy to use and everything functioned without issue. The exported PDF of the resulting 214 is attached to this story.

The App has not been updated since April 2021, so I reached out to the developer to see if it was an abandoned project or something he intends to maintain. He responded that while development is dormant right now, he has a lot of ideas for things he want to do, including creating an iOS version and server side hosting for team management (server is already in the works). He is hoping to resume development at the start of the new year.

Available in the Google Play store at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.randomvoids.emassistant

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Volunteers Needed - 2022 Dancing Bear Bike Bash

The 2022 Dancing Bear Bike Bash is just a couple of weeks away on September 17. https://bcares.teamapp.com/events/17787110?_detail=v1

We still have a need for more SAG vehicles. If you can help please contact Lou, WB3JKQ.

See attached PDF for the current assignment list.

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Webinar on Wildfire Preparedness

Today, FEMA Region 10 hosted a Webinar on Wildfire Preparedness. With the increase of wildfires in our area, I thought it would be wise to learn from the guys out west that have been living with these fires for years. I found the recording interesting and informative.

A PDF of the presentation is attached to this notice. A recording of the webinar is available at https://fema.connectsolutions.com/pu4q5owny4i6/ In order to watch the recording, you need to log-in to the Adobe Connect platform. No password is required, and you can just list ‘guest’ if you don’t want to put your name. You can find previous webinar recordings and a variety of other preparedness resources on the Region 10 Individual & Community Preparedness Resource Dashboard.

One interesting resource mentioned in the webinar was “The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit”. This kit (also attached to this notice) is available for free from FEMA as a free download online at: www.ready.gov/financialpreparedness and at www.operationhope.org.

The nonprofit organization Operation HOPE, in partnership with FEMA, created the EFFAK in 2004 to help individuals and families collect and organize critical financial, medical, and household contact information. The kit is very comprehensive and would be a good place to start to get your paperwork together.

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Upcoming Events

9 FEB

9:00pm - 9:15pm, 9 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 146.655 Mhz, tone 100, offset -0.600 Mhz as the primary frequency. Alternate frequencies include 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 FEB

9:00pm - 9:15pm, 16 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 146.655 Mhz, tone 100, offset -0.600 Mhz as the primary frequency. Alternate frequencies include 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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21 FEB

6:00pm - 8:00pm, 21 Feb

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SKYWARN Spotter Training Classes - Blount County

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

Feb 21, 2023 6 pm EST
Blount County 911 Center

1431 William Blount Dr
Maryville, TN 37801

Hal Weeden
hweeden@bcso.com

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21 FEB

7:00pm - 9:00pm, 21 Feb

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Blount County ECS Monthly Meeting/Skywarn training

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

At this meeting, we will be hosting Skywarn training.

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23 FEB

6:00pm - 7:00pm, 23 Feb

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SKYWARN Spotter Training Class - Monroe County

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

Feb 23, 2023 6 pm EST

EMA Training Room
215 Englewood Rd
Madisonville, TN 37354

Mike Wagner
ec@mcares.net

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23 FEB

9:00pm - 9:15pm, 23 Feb

event clipart
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 146.655 Mhz, tone 100, offset -0.600 Mhz as the primary frequency. Alternate frequencies include 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.

Read more