Saturday, November 14, 2015

Amateur Radio Provided Communications #ARRL #hamradio

The Midwest City 4th annual Veterans Day Parade for 2015 was a great success and the Mid-Del Amateur Radio Club provided volunteers to helped to ensure the success utilizing amateur radio to meet the need for communications over the wide area of the staging grounds as well as the parade route.  

Working side by side with the City of Midwest City Communications Coordinator Scott Walsh, N5NYS, and with the police and fire department, Donald Ohse, W5DRO assembled the team of 17 radio amateurs to meet the communication needs of Staging, Incident Command Post, and the Reviewing Stand for this annual event.

The parade began at the intersection of Century Blvd. and S.E. 15th ST, traveled East to Douglas Blvd, North to Reno Ave., then West to Morris McGee Ave. where it ended.

The Parade Marshall was Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, Commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Tinker Air Force Base Oklahoma.  Also in attendance was Midwest City Mayor Jay Dee Collins, and Oklahoma District 42 State Senator Jack Fry.

The event featured a flyover by the War Birds, a vintage World War II aircraft group from Tulsa, OK. The fly-over took place over Douglas Boulevard, the one mile main stretch of the parade and the John Conrad Golf Course.

The War Birds were flying the T-6 Texans, which are single-engine advanced trainer aircraft.  These airplanes were used to train pilots from both the United States Army, Air Force, US Navy, the Royal Air Force and other airborne forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and even into the 1950s.  It remains a popular Warbird aircraft for airshow demonstrations and static displays.  It has also been used many times to simulate the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero in movies depicting WW II in the Pacific.

By using amateur radio, parade organizers received free communications and resources that could commit to many areas that normally would not have been covered due to manpower restraints. 

"For the past three years we have been providing a radio amateur at the reviewing stand, where the Emcee for the event is located, and we also place a spotter about 200 yards from the reviewing stand to communicate back to the reviewing stand if a parade participant was out of order," said Ohse.  This was shown to be very helpful so the Emcee would not announce the wrong entry (or out of order entry) to the public.

Another hurdle to overcome is the use of multiple, large Staging Areas.  By use of several simplex frequencies to be used within and between staging areas radio traffic was reduced on the main public safety net frequency leaving it available for more important information to be passed. However, doing so does require that many of the radio amateurs working the Staging Areas to have a dual band radio that have the ability of dual watch. In this manner, the radio amateur can continue to monitor the public safety net while they are communicating within their assigned staging area.

There are plans for next year to include the use of Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) within the parade route so that Incident Command Post can have a near real time status of the parade route to better coordinate the closing of intersections, deployment of busses and reopening of the intersections.

Here’s the bottom line:
  1. Improved Communications
  2. Better Coordination of Resources
  3. Enhanced Public Safety

The Mid-Del Amateur Radio Club has successfully demonstrated the capabilities of amateur radio and the many benefits the community may receive by including our Club in these types of public events.

Midwest City Police Honor Guard
Photo By Kimmie Jackson
The War Birds
Photo By Kimmie Jackson
Midwest City High School Bommer Band
Photo By Kimmie Jackson

Deputy Brisco, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office
Photo by Kimmie Jackson
Leah Ohse W3LEO(right) and Debbie Hayes (left (who is studying to get her Technician Class license)) Rocking their day glow yellow ARRL traffic safety vest.
Photo By Leah Ohse W3LEO

Thanks to Donald, W5DRO for this report.

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