ARRL East Bay Section

Can you hear those Red Cross vehicles?

Posted by ks6m on December 4th, 2011

Amateurs in and near the East Bay Section are invited to participate in a brief radio activity on Saturday morning, December 10, 2011 in support of the American Red Cross Bay Area, a served agency of ARRL East Bay Section ARES®.

Early on December 10, Red Cross emergency response vehicles (ERVs) will be driven from their bases in six counties to a central location for semiannual cleaning and restocking. As they drive, their crews are asked to make frequent two-way radio contact, on a Red Cross frequency, with the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center (DOC) in Oakland. However, the transmissions are simplex, and terrain often prevents contact. The Red Cross invites assistance from the Amateur Radio community in tracking its ERVs that morning.

Between 7:30 and 9:00 am PST on December 10, licensed amateurs are asked to listen for transmissions from these vehicles on a Red Cross frequency, 47.420 MHz (FM mode). They will be calling or replying to “Oakland DOC” and will identify themselves with 4-digit numbers as their tactical IDs. Any amateur who hears such a transmission, whether or not it is acknowledged by Oakland DOC, is invited to call “Oakland DOC” via Amateur Radio to report the vehicle’s ID, its location if that was heard, the time of the transmission, and his or her own Amateur Radio call sign.

Hams at Oakland DOC will be listening for reports on two repeater systems: the Mt. Vaca Radio Club repeater on Mt. Vaca in Solano County at 147.000 MHz, minus offset (you may need to override your rig’s default setting), PL 136.5, and the linked Bay-Net system. Bay-Net has a UHF repeater in the East Bay at 443.975 MHz PL 100.0, has several repeaters in the South Bay including 443.225 MHz PL 100.0, and is available via EchoLink and IRLP; see the Bay-Net Web site. The American Red Cross Bay Area thanks the Mt. Vaca Radio Club and Bay-Net for their cooperation.

On these repeater systems, Oakland DOC will be announcing its availability to accept reports but will not be operating a directed net. Other amateurs may occasionally use these repeater systems for other purposes that morning, so please stand by until the frequency clears or ask the users if they will stand by for a moment so you can make your report.

Though not all dual-band HT or mobile ham radio rigs receive frequencies as low as 47 MHz, many do. We hope that hams with that capability, including those participating in the ARRL 10 Meter Contest that morning, will enjoy this challenge.