ARES 16 Newsletter

Colorado District 16 Amateur Radio Emergency Services     |     home
ARES Colorado Dist. 16

As we look back at 2001, ARES Colorado Dist. 16 has made some very significant contributions to emergency preparidness in Pueblo and Huerfano Counties.  We now have two trailers that can be used as emergency communications centers during disasters or drills.  The original trailer has been remodeled inside to make it roomier inside with enough table surface for two or three radio operating positions to be manned.  It is the same trailer that was used on Field Day 2001, and can still be used in the future.

We have obtained a second trailer that is roomier and also has a propane heater to keep the interior warm on cold days or nights.  This trailer was used during the Kid's Day activity at the Temple-Buell Children's Museum - Sangre de Christo Arts Center on January 5, 2002.  Since the weather was cold that day, the heater proved to be able to keep the interior warm during the hours that we were operating.  Even while 25 kids and their parents were comming in to see the operations.

We are expecting a third vehicle (ambulance) to be donated to District 16 ARES shortly.  This donation is being made by American Medical Response ambulance company and will have radios for monitoring or communicating with many of our served agencies.  We hope to have 2 meter and 70 centimeter capability as well as a HF transceiver permanently mounted in the vehicle.

These three vehicles will be fitted with deep cycle batteries that will supply power for all our radios for at least 24 hours as well as solar panels to recharge the batteries if it becomes necessary.  The ambulance has a diesel engine and a 200 amp alternater that could also be used to recharge the batteries if needed.  As a test of these batteries, before Field Day last year, the batteries were charged and then test discharged for 24 hours with a 60 watt 12 volt light bulb being run for the entire period off the batteries only.  Since that time, these batteries proved themselves operating Field Day for 24 hours and Kid's Day for nearly 8 hours without a failure.

Starting in January, ARES 16 is conducting a seminar on Emergency Communications as offered by the American Radio Relay League.  We had the first class 0n January 9 and it will continue each wednesday night until the material has been completely covered.  We may also have several emergency training sessions during some of the nets that are held during the week on the Thunderbolt Amateur Radio Association repeaters.  I think all ARES members will remember one of these training nets where a chemical spill occured on the north side of Pueblo near the Eden exit (milepost 104).  During this exercise, traffic was stopped (Imaginary) on Interstate 25 from highway 50 north to Beacon Hill.  Amateur radio operators were dispatched to both roadblocks (Northbound and Southbound) as well as to the National Weather Service.  During this test emergency, a woman went into labor (Imaginary) and a baby boy was born during the simulated emergency.  Since this was a chemical spill, this boy was named "HazMat Harry" and he now occupies a cherished place in the hearts of District 16 Amateur Radio Emergency Service members.  Some pictures of HazMat Harry's 1st birthday party can be seen on the Thunderbolt ARA web site.

During the fall of 2001, we had an exercise with the Bureau of Reclamation (and other agencies) where a simulated overfilling of the Pueblo Reservoir caused the dam to give way and a wall of water to come crashing down on Pueblo.  Amateur radio operators were stationed at various points along the upper Arkansas River and its tributaries to report rainfall and river flow rates to the National Weather Service that then calculated the rate of filling of Lake Pueblo.  When water started to flow over the top of the dam, erosion of the earth fill dam was determined to have caused the collapse of the dam and the release of all the water stored in Lake Pueblo.  This water was about 80 to 100 feet deep where it left the reservoir and when it entered Pueblo, was unable to be contained behind the levee thus flooding Midtown Shopping Center, The HARP (Historic Arkansas River Project) area and the Grove and Runyon Field areas before reentering the river near the confluence of the Arkansas and Fountain Rivers.  The area covered by water through downtown Pueblo was in some areas as much as a mile wide reaching from the current bluffs by the Union Depot northward as far as the Pueblo County Courthouse.

During 2002 District 16 ARES is looking forward to participating again in the CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparidness Plan) which will be sometime in March (I believe the date will be the 21st or 22nd) and will participate in Field Day with a completely emergency powered station (multiple transmitters) at the Mineral Palace Park as well as conducting several Fox Hunts during the year.  Thunderbolt Amateur Radio Association will sponsor classes in Amateur Radio for new-commers as well as upgraders during 2002, and the Thunderbolt Volunteer Examiner Team will conduct testing sessions every second Saturday of each month at the Barkman Branch Library at 10:00 AM.  There will be at least 2 evening testing sessions as well as a session at the Field Day activities.

During the year, I will be adding to this newsletter or having Jerry Tucker, EC make some comments of his own.  Also, I will be adding some other training materials to this web site as Jerry feels is necessary.  This web site will be a dynamic, growing entity and like "HazMat Harry," will grow with each and every one of the members of District 16 ARES.

73 and God bless,
Bill Ryan, W0WFR
(January 12, 2002)