First Night Leesburg Support Plan
December 19, 2006 de W3EMH - Bill Frisbie
Ham radio support for First Night Leesburg will see some changes from previous years, including another new Net Control location. This
annual event will take place again this year from 1800 hrs on 12/31/2006 until 0001 hrs. on 1/1/2007.
First, this year FNL operations will be handled out of the second floor of the Leesburg Today Building at the corner of King & Market St (1 E. Market St.). Details regarding antenna deployment at this location need to be worked out. The FNL Regional Volunteer Coordinator, Cristin White, told me that they looked for roof access
should that become necessary. However, Net Control should be able to get by with a mobile mag mount dual band vertical.
Ham Radio Support begins at 1630 on the top level of the Leesburg Parking Garage where we'll set up the UHF repeater. Denny & Carol, KF4TJI/KF4TJJ, will have their truck with the 20 ft mast and Tom, WB3AKD, will be bring the UHF Suitcase Repeater and various cables and batteries. Extra batteries are welcome.
Participants who are working the whole night and those working the earlier shift should meet on the second floor of the Leesburg Today Building NLT 1730. Look for signs near the outside doors to point you the correct entrance to get to the second floor. Net Control will be located there. At that time there will be an in-brief and
initial assignments will be made. Speak up if you have particular venue(s) you would like to attend.
As the night progresses, your assignments may/can/will change, be sure to get a program and your volunteer button.
If you want to work a later shift, just check in with us at Net Control to get a button and a program prior to going on to your assignment.
If you have to leave early, please notify Net Control so we don't send a search party out looking for you. (A Fox Hunt is not anticipated ...)
FREQUENCIES: The repeater operates on 443.225 MHz (+) with a PL 103.5. If for some reason the repeater goes down, all stations should switch to 443.225 Simplex. That way, you'll get the word when the repeater comes back up.
IMPORTANT: Tom recommends that you program the simplex setup in a channel right next to the repeater channel just for ease of operations.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please use a headset to keep the radios from interrupting the performances. A simple earphone from Radio Shack will suffice, or the headsets with boom mikes designed for the rigs are also quite good.
Don't forget extra batteries.
If you wish to participate but do not have a UHF HT, a limited number of "loaners" will be available. If you have an extra HT or two, bring them along.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: Be prepared for cold/bad weather.
Food and drink is expected to be available near Net Control on the second floor of the Leesburg Today Building.
The venues are generally in the Downtown Leesburg area. So far 16 Performance Sites have been identified. Complete details will be available when you check in. Also you can keep an eye on the FNL web site (www.bluemont.org ) to get more details, although as I write this message, there are no details available. Perhaps they will become available later this week.
SPECIAL ISSUES:: King Street and Market Street will be blocked off at about 1700 so if you want to park in the Parking Garage, go in from the Loudoun Street Side.
Duties during the performances:
You should check in with the FNL volunteers at the venues when you first arrive so that they know who you are. You can offer to handle any operational traffic they may have. These are usually requests for more programs or buttons, and often they want to know where their relief is.
Sometimes there are problems, like snow melt causing some slippery conditions or some other facility problem. You should relay that to Net Control.
About 15 minutes into the performance, get a rough head count and relay that to Net Control. FNL keeps track of how the performances work out and the audience size to help in planning for next year.
In the event of an emergency, if you have a cell-phone and a signal, call 911, otherwise call Net Control and we'll call 911. If you do make a 911 call, please let Net Control know about the emergency after you've made the 911 call.
Critical information to pass along if you have an emergency is "your location and the nature of the emergency". If you have an emergency, call Net Control and say that you have an emergency in your first transmission. When recognized by Net Control, give your location, then the nature of the emergency and whether you need medical or law-enforcement. Consequently, current knowledge of your location is essential, so pay attention to where you are. All that said, we've never had a serious emergency in my recollection.
Although our primary duty is communications, we usually provide a little courier service as well, usually toting programs or buttons to those venues that need them. It's a small thing and it helps out FNL quite a bit.
After the 2300 headcount, we will start demobilizing. We'll need a few folks to help take down the antenna and wrap up at the Net Control location. With the repeater, we don't need to run so much cable, and that has been a big improvement.
So that is the plan. To see what performances are scheduled and get an idea of the layout, visit: www.bluemont.org .
If you've read this far and have not yet signed up to help out, sign up now! Send me an email (w3emh @ arrl.net) so I can add your name to the roster.
I'll be posting the roster again in a few days, so act now and have your peers see your name and call in print.
Bill Frisbie, W3EMH of Sterling,
one of our Loudoun ARES Assistant
AFTER ACTION REPORT
On January 6, 2006, Bill Frisbie transmitted the following After Action Report to the Event Coordinator:
As in the past, the Amateur Radio Operators (Hams) did an approximate head count of attendees at each of the FNL performances. I understand that Bluemont uses this data to help plan for the next FNL as it gives you an idea of which performers are more popular and perhaps rate a larger venue the next time they perform. And of course, it also shows which performers are not too popular.
The tabulation below identifies the 15 locations, using the same numbers as in the Program, where performances took place, the performance times, and the approximate head count of the audience at the performance. I’ll leave it up to your to match up the ‘times & locations’ with the performers.
As you can see further down the page, the names and callsigns of the 20 on-site Hams who participated are listed. These individuals are members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and/or the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group (LARG). Actually I believe that all the Hams belong to both groups.
A secondary part of our “responsibilities” was to check in with your Volunteers at the Performance Sites and provide any communications support that they may need. We had several calls for “more buttons”. Also, one of Hams accompanied one of your volunteers who was delivering buttons to one or more of the locations where buttons were being sold and then back to Headquarters.
Assuming we are ask to support FNL again next year, I’ll make a couple suggestions that will help us to respond to some of the questions that came up last night.
1. The large laminated map showing the Performance Sites was very useful. My suggestion is to show the locations where buttons are to be sold. I believe there were calls for buttons from a couple locations that were not going to sell buttons.
2. You, or whoever is coordinating the event next year, may want one of the Hams to shadow you. This would help in getting the questions/requests from your volunteers to you and then for us to provide the answer(s) to question(s). On several occasions when you were not at the Headquarters building, the other Volunteers at Headquarters did not know the answer to the question. So we had to wait for your return before answering the question(s).
Cristin, if I think of anything else, or if I get feedback from the Hams, I will let you know. Separately I will send you another message with an Excel file attached. Although it contains the same data as shown below, you may want to use it to manipulate the data to give a different presentation.
Bill Frisbie - W3EMH
ARES Assistant EC Loudoun County, VA