Friday, October 13, 2017

Post Irma Debrief

Irma affected me more than I know just yet.
First there was the lead up to the storm
Then it CAME.
Finally, was the aftermath.
I know now I'm not done processing it. There was a lot of stress.
It seemed almost immediately after Irma came Maria.
So  much destruction in Dominica and Puerto Rico.
Ham radio has been called upon to help.
I've been deeply moved by it, I admit. I got into ham radio, in part, to help others. I've worked special events where ham radio has played a role in helping others. Mostly I've used ham radio as an escape.
Today I am convicted.
I thought I was through with ham radio for a while, but I don't think I can be. They needed operators, and this time it couldn't be me. That's not right, it's not who I am.
So I'm coming back to the radio table, better this time. I'm going to focus on operating as efficiently as possible too. My plan is to initiate the following station improvements:
Operating Location:
1. Improve my station with the addition of a narrow filter for CW to cut out QRM/QRN
2. Provide for backup power with the addition of a high amp hour deep cycle battery.
I'm looking at several options Including Deep cycle marine batteries, Gel Cells, and LiFePO batteries.
3. Initiate a protocol for quickly deploying post disaster antennas that can operate independently of tree supports at frequencies that can support sustained in state communication.
4. Long Term: Rebuild the shack. Make it a place that's easy to operate. Right now, it has no AC, no Heat, and can be a pain to be in sometimes. Time to change that, eventually.
Ham Education:
1. Continue to plant the radio bug in my kids, see if they pick it up. I've got four, surely one of them wants to get "radio active"
2. Over the next six month learn more about simple to make gain antennas out of wire and ladderline.
I'm starting with a variation of the G5RV cut for 15 m, and a 20m loop.
3. Teach a local class of some sort in the next year, prepare others for their ham radio license.

I'm putting a reminder on my calendar to revisit this post in January.
We'll see how it goes.