Emergency Operations Center
American Radio Relay League
Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Loudoun County, Virginia
ARES - Operations
American Red Cross Relocation Center Support
Loudoun County ARES Emergency Coordinator Tom Dawson - WB3AKD of Round Hill, VA
Supported By The Loudoun Amateur Radio Group
And Other ARES Members From Adjacent Northern Virginia Counties
Another Count On Us Operation
Photographed By Bill McCourt - WF1L and Norm Styer - AI2C
And Reported By Norm Styer - AI2C
Dominion HS Red Cross Relocation Center
HS Red Cross Relocation Center
Valley High School Red Cross Relocation Center ARES Station W4AU By
ARES Roster Of Volunteers
Boehler - KF4TJJ
Brewer - K4CJB
Boehler - KF4TJI
Valley High School
Bock - K4MSG
HQ Loudoun County Chapter
Denny Boehler - KF4TJI and Dave Putman - KG4KZZ
Evan Alford - KQ4CI Maintained K4LRG/R Throughout The Operation - Thanks
Maintained By The Dulles ARG - Thanks
Larry McCaig - KC1YC, Mary Oliphant - KF4UUY and Ray Houff - K4AJA
That day, the initial calls went out to our Loudoun County Amateur Radio Emergency Service's Emergency Coordinator - Tom Dawson - WB3AKD of Round Hill, VA. Bottom line: The Loudoun Chapter of the American Red Cross needs our help. Electrical power, phone lines, cell phones were all at risk and folks mostly will need shelter.
We got word to report into an 8 PM, Wednesday, Loudoun ARES Net and start to get organized. The following 9 PM LARG Reflector message by John Unger - W4AU for Tom Dawson summed up what we had to do:
Currently, WB3AKD, NC4S, and NA4MA are setting up a communications command center at the Loudoun County Emergency Center, near the National Guard Armory east of Leesburg.
Loudoun County is planning on setting up three emergency relocation centers
in the county:
Currently, W4AU and AI2C have volunteered to set up the Loudoun Valley High School center.
Tom, WB3AKD, the Loudoun EC for ARES is requesting help for setting up the other two centers and staffing for all of these three centers.
You can contact Tom on 147.480 or via email at: [email protected]
Please monitor 147.480 simplex and the 145.310 repeater for further information.
Also, check your email frequently for bulletins.
On Thursday afternoon, Tom Dawson - WB3AKD, the Loudoun County ARES EC distributed the following message:
"DATE: Thursday, September 18, 2003 12:58 PM
SUBJECT: Loudoun ARES Hurricane Isabel Operational Summary
AS OF THURSDAY 12:00 EDT, THE AMATEUR RADIO STATION K4LRG, LOCATED AT THE LOUDOUN COUNTY EOC IS MAINTAINING A VHF NET ON 147.48 MHZ SIMPLEX. STATIONS AT DOMINION HIGH SCHOOL, LOUDOUN VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL AND HERITAGE HIGH SCHOOL (RELOCATION CENTERS) ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. EACH STATION WILL HAVE VHF VOICE AS PRIMARY COMMS WITH HF BACKUP AND LONG HAUL. UHF CHOICE AND VHF PACKET WILL BE ASSEMBLED LATER AS TIME AND RESOURCES ALLOW.
PLEASE CONTACT K4LRG WITH YOUR AVAILABILITY ON 147.48. PLEASE GIVE PRIOIRTY TO EMERGENCY TRAFFIC.
DEPENDING ON THE SEVERITY OF THE STORM, ADDITIONAL STATIONS MAY BE REQUIRED. PLEASE PREPARE ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT FOR DEPLOYMENT IN THE EVENT IT IS NEEDED.
PRESENTLY THE 12 FOOT SHELTER WITH THE PNEUMATIC MAST HAS BEEN PRE-POSITIONED
IN PURCELLVILLE. A TRAILER MOUNTED TOWER WILL BE PRE-POSITIONED AT THE
EOC ION LEESBURG.
pretty well ran their course throughout Thursday night and Friday morning.
There was some message traffic as the Red Cross folks passed information
about on hand supplies and staffing levels. And a few folks took up the
Red Cross offer at the Heritage High School. About midnight, the winds
picked up and shifted into the south as Isabel moved north and well west
of us over western Maryland into southwest Pennsylvania. Some bands of
rain and wind were heavy but most antennas held. Evan Alford - KQ4CI reported
that the big antenna at 300 feet had been pushed into some other stuff,
so he had switched to a lower backup antenna on the K4LRG Repeater. It
still seemed to hold it own. By mid-morning Friday, it was clear that
things were over and only a water supply issue remained for some parts
of Loudoun County. Late Friday afternoon, all had received 'Close Station
- March Order' direction. This was a real one and you never knew if something
bad would happen at home or to your family or to your friends. This was
a lot of work and was potentially dangerous; I'm proud to have been out
there with you gals and guys. It was good to 'ride' with you all. Count
me in next time.
Bill - W3EMH and Randy - K4SLY Deliver Gear For Dominion HS
Several folks did take up the Red Cross offer.
Tom Garasic - NA4MA couldn't reach the outside to mount his VHF antenna but he only had to close a 2-mile link to the EOC.
We had a good crew of operators but we seem to always repeat the shift-manning mistake. What we would like is 3 or 4 operators to move into the site and set up and operate for 2-hours then a fresh operator or if busy a second one takes over and we get into 8 or 12 hour shifts. Everyone else goes home or takes time off for at least 8 or 12 hours and then gets into the shift rotation. At close down and march order several others may assist in knockdown.
Several, after this operation, have suggested that we set up a team arrangement now that we know how big the Red Cross support can be.
And by the way, our practice in support to the Red Cross during the last four Reston Bike Rides have made this all possible plus they know us and we know them. And they can:
Count On US !!!!
It was important to make initial and continuing contact with Red Cross and local officials. Loudoun County and Purcellville PD and Government officials visited regularly and had folks stationed here throughout the event. The Purcellville Town Government signed out a 'business' handy-talky radio to us and we could monitor their activities and if necessary reach them.
The press was also quite visible with Leesburg Today, Loudoun Times-Mirror and the Washington Post all taking pictures and asking questions.
Late on Thursday evening, I set up a packet station with an ICOM 2-AT handheld radio, an MFJ Multimode TNC and a Compaq laptop computer and was somewhat successful in joining the PVRC DXCluster Node N4OHE west of Bluemont. But the indoor and small antenna proved we need better stuff. Steve - KB2CEV tried to get us to come up on the 145.73 MHz ARES system but he was too weak. Later, Allon - KE4FYL came up on 145.71 MHz frequency from his home in Purcellville and had a good QSO with John - W4AU. This stuff will work but we need more training, practice and stations.