The Suquamish Tribe hosted the 14th annual Regional Joint Tribal Emergency Preparedness Conference May 1-3 at the Port Madison Indian Reservation at Agate Pass on Puget Sound, Washington. Radio amateurs from Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona contributed to the success of this conference. The event was sponsored by the Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council (NWTEMC).
Kitsap County ARES/RACES/ACS set up a demonstration station and display tables outside the conference rooms, and many tribal emergency management leaders stopped by for information, to chat about creating a stronger Amateur Radio presence within their tribes, and to see the station in operation. Kitsap County Emergency Coordinator Mike Montfort, KB0SVF, called his group’s participation “a fantastic opportunity” to build relationships with neighbors. At the request of Quileute Nation Fire Chief Chris Morganroth, KI7EGI, Montfort and Dan Ransom, K7MM, will soon conduct a Technician license class for Quileute tribal members.
Two radio amateurs gave talks at the Monday general session. Suzanne Everson, KI7EGE, Regional Emergency Management Specialist at Region 10 Administration for Children and Families, co-presented “Administration for Children and Families, How We Can Work With You.” Lou Schmitz, KE7RYR, American Indian Health Commission, presented “Emergency Preparedness Toolkit.”
On Tuesday morning, three hams gave talks at the conference general session. Jim Sande, KG7NRF, National Tribal Emergency Management Education Sub-Committee Chair, co-presented “Pursuing Ongoing Education in Emergency Management.” Nathan Nixon, N7NAN, President of the National Tribal Amateur Radio Association and Training Coordinator for the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, spoke about the “Indian Country Intelligence Network.” Tracy Depew, KI7EGC, Director of Emergency Management, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, presented “FEMA HMA External Stakeholder Working Group and PDM in Indian Country.”
On Tuesday afternoon, three radio amateurs gave talks during breakout sessions. Bart Kus, AE7SJ, founder and lead developer of HamWAN, spoke about the operational high-speed digital network designed for maximum resiliency and survivability, which operates on amateur service microwave frequencies and allows for continuous exchange of data between key emergency management facilities throughout the Puget Sound region. Assistant State RACES Officer Steve Aberle, WA7PTM, gave a talk titled “ESF #2 (Communications) Support for ESF #6 (Mass Care) and ESF #8 (Public Health),” which included a practicum in message receiving for the participants. FirstNet Regional Tribal Government Liaison Adam Geisler, KJ6YHN, co-hosted “FirstNet Presentation, Listening Session, and FirstNet Surveys.”
On Wednesday morning, Suzanne Everson, KI7EGE, gave a breakout session talk titled “Children and Youth Task Forces,” and NWTEMC Executive Director Lynda Zambrano, KE7RWG, facilitated an open panel discussion between attendees and the NWTEMC Board of Directors. She reported hearing many “best tribal emergency preparedness conference ever” comments afterward.
“Wedding Ring” Morse Key
A bit of clever improvisation made it possible to demonstrate what it’s like to work DX. The demonstration had been making domestic contacts, but Ransom heard some European DX on 20-meter CW. coming in fairly strong. Unfortunately, no one had a Morse key. ARRL Western Washington Section Manager Monte Simpson, AF7PQ, related that he’d once seen a Coast Guard radio operator use a pie tin with a short piece of metal as a makeshift key.
K7MM tried a variation on that theme. He plugged an unterminated cable into the radio’s key jack and connected one lead to his knife and one to his wedding ring. He then used his free hand to tap his wedding ring against the knife, and the “wedding ring CW key” was born, a contact with Russia completed, and tribal leaders impressed. — Thanks to Steve Aberle, WA7PTM, Assistant State RACES Officer (Tribal Liaison), Washington State