July 10, 2017
Oregon City Amateur Radio Emergency Services (OCARES), a subgroup of the county-wide Clackamas Amateur Radio Emergency Services (CARES), volunteer personnel gathered in Beavercreek Community Park on July 8 to simulate establishing emergency communications capabilities. When disaster strikes, one of the key infrastructures highly likely to be affected is communications. Actual events, such as the 2007 storm on the Oregon coast, have taken out ALL communications facilities and the only means of summoning aid fell to ham radio operators.
In the field test, eleven OCARES members, using their own radio and support equipment set up 3 separate ham radio stations at the park, using battery power and solar charging systems. With these stations, they established voice communications between themselves and with three other remote stations. They sent and received emails including images, using ham radio. A self-configuring WiFi network, called MESH nodes, was set up using conventional WiFi routers and ham radio frequencies. The exercise also premiered Raspberry PI based WiFi accessible web services. This included a clone of websites which provided valuable information, along with maps. It also supported file sharing between the local stations, simulating information transfer between served agencies such as Clackamas County Fire, Health Dept, and the emergency communication center.
The exercise lasted 4 hours and was provided valuable training and experience to all the participants. CARES members, contribute more than 500 hours monthly in practice, training, and coordination. All for events each of us hopes will never happen.
Clackamas Amateur Radio Emergency Services