Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Are you going? #OKwx #Skywarn

Each year, this annual event offers emergency managers and Skywarn participants an opportunity to learn about Weather Ready Nation, StormReady, and a host of other topics.

It's worth your time, even if for only a short period.

Will you be joining us this year?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Is your car #OKready for Winter?

So you’ve prepared your home for winter weather but what about your car? You can avoid many dangerous winter travel problems by planning ahead. Before you hit the road, have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle:
  • Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing;
  • Battery and ignition system – terminal should be clean;
  • Brakes – check for wear and fluid level; and
  • Tires – make sure they have adequate tread.
Changes in weather call for changes in your emergency supply kit. For winter weather, update the emergency kits in your vehicle with:
  • Matches;
  • Booster cables;
  • Tow chain or rope; and
  • A fluorescent distress flag.
Need a quick and easy way to remember what items to check on your car each winter? Download the car maintenance checklist from the Centers for Disease Control today!
Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the Federal government does not endorse any non-Federal entities, organizations, services, or products.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sidewalk Prophets- Help Me Find It (Official Lyric Video) #teamJesus

Did you enjoy this as much as I?  It's a reminder that Jesus is all I need.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Does your giving support #OKready?

Still looking for holiday gift ideas? What better way to say happy holidays than to give the gift of preparedness to your family and friends? The onset of winter is a critical time for safety preparation. Several items that are critical in emergencies also make good gifts to store in a disaster supply kit. Download FEMA’s “Preparedness on a Shoestring” activity module for cost-effective ways to create disaster kits on a budget.  Many of the items may be found around your home including:
  • Adhesive bandages of various sizes;
  • Two pairs of sterile gloves; and
  • Antibiotic ointment.
The gift of preparedness can mean more than the basic supply kit! If it becomes necessary to boil water during an emergency, consider giving a tea kettle as a gift.  Tea kettles are better at boiling water than pots and pans because they are enclosed and the metal interiors allow for more even heating.  A solar charging unit for charging and powering electronic devices would also make a good stocking stuffer.  They range in size from pocket-size to fold-out panel and are powered by the sun, making them useful on clear days when electricity is unavailable.
For more preparedness gift-giving ideas this holiday, visit
Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the Federal government does not endorse any non-Federal entities, organizations, services, or products.

Are you giving for preparation?  What's in YOUR kit?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Road Rules

Hitting the road this holiday? In some areas winter weather means snow, sleet and ice that can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions and unseen dangers. Are you prepared? According to a recent FEMA survey, 52 percent of people reported having supplies set aside for use in a disaster.
If your travel needs call for driving in wintry weather, prepare your car for the trip by updating your vehicle emergency kit with:
  • Booster cables;
  • Blankets, hats, socks, and mittens;
  • Road salt or sand; and
  • A fluorescent distress flag.
While on the road, follow these driving techniques to ensure you reach your destination safely:
  • Decrease your speed and leave plenty of room to stop;
  • Break gently to avoid skidding;
  • Do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads; and
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to others.
Road conditions can change quickly! Should disaster strike when traveling, use the Disaster Reporter feature on the FEMA app to send photos of your location for first responders and response teams to view. You can also keep up with weather forecasts using your NOAA weather radio to plan ahead! Remember safety first. If weather conditions are too severe, it’s best not to drive.

Also, have a fully charged Cell phone in hand before leaving.  Tell people on both ends of the trip when you leave and your route.

As always, Ham Radio can be a lifesaver in an emergency when the Cell Phone is dead.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Santa Net Scheduled

According to Pete, KE5GGY, the 3.916 Nets will be giving good boys and girls a chance to talk to Santa Claus via the magic of ham radio.   The '3916 Santa Nets' will be held on 15 different evenings starting Friday, November 29 through Christmas Eve, December 24th.    The Santa Nets are open to all licensed amateur radio operators who wish to invite kids to their shack to talk to Santa.  Third party rules will apply.  Pete Thomson (KE5GGY), commented on The 3916 Santa Nets.  He said, "Christmas is our favorite time of year on The 3916 Nets.  Each year on the Santa Nets we are blown away by the response.  It's incredible to hear the excitement in kids' voices as they talk to Santa Claus on Ham Radio.   Once again this year we'll be having 15 different Santa Nets on 3.916 MHz.  This should give everyone a chance to get involved."    Thomson added that The Santa Nets are a great way to let kids experience both the magic of Christmas and amateur radio.  He said, "We encourage hams to get their kids, grand kids and even neighbor kids into their shacks to participate in the Santa Net.  The kids love talking to Santa and we get an opportunity to show a young person how amateur radio works."  

Each evening, The 3916 Santa Net will start at 8:30 PM (Central) on 3.916 MHz.  Pre-net check-ins will be taken on the air starting at 8:15 PM.   You can also do a pre-net check in by emailing

Below is a schedule of the 2013 Santa Nets on 3.916 Mhz.  Net Starts at 8:30 PM (Central)

Friday, November 29
Saturday, November 30

Tuesday, December 3
Thursday, December 5
Saturday, December 7

Monday, December 9
Wednesday, December 11
Friday, December 13

Tuesday, December 17
Thursday, December 19
Friday, December 20
Saturday, December 21

Sunday, December 22
Monday, December 23
Tuesday, December 24

For more information on The 3916 Nets or The Santa Net, contact Pete ThomsonKE5GGY at 

Does your club offer on the air Santa contacts?  Please add those to comments below.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#AltusOK on Tagboard

Here's a Social Media cool tool for those using multiple social media platforms.

It allows one to follow a hashtag across Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Vine, and Instagram.

It produces a nice collection of posts and pictures along the line of what is available at Twubs.

What cool tools do you use to make your social media life easy?

#AltusOK on Tagboard:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Comparison of microblogging services #SMEM #VOST

So you have heard about Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIN but have you heard of any of these?

Bebo?  CafeMom?  Care2 or CaringBridge?  How about Spaces?

There's a reason.  For example, if you are user of Rosetta Stone, a venture capitalist, or an early user, you would never have heard of Livemocha.

For the social media practitioner, there's two choices:

1.  Go where your customers are likely to be.  Are they really on Twitter or, if they are Russian Expatriates, are they on LinkExpats, LiveJournal, or Spaces?

2.  Build a community and let them come to you.

Either way, pray that you don't build on what may become one of this list.

You are welcome to choose wisely from the "Comparison of microblogging services"

Once again, focus on the plan and not the tools.

Have you joined a social media group and had the group close?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who is going to Enid? #ARRL #hamradio

EARC Always There - Always Ready

2013 ENID HAMFEST Saturday, November 2nd 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hoover Building Garfield Co Fairgrounds
TALK-IN: 145.290 (-) No PL (W5HTK) 
•PRIZES: • Yaesu FT-8800R Amateur VHF/UHF transceiver • Three dual band VHF/UHF handheld transceivers • Vendor certificates, merchandise • ARRL items. 

TICKETS $2.00 TABLES $3.00
LOCATION: Hoover Building, County Fairgrounds, 305 E Oxford Ave. One block west of U.S. 64 (N 4th St). Coordinates: (36.42796, -97.87545)
TALK-IN: 145.290 (-) No PL (W5HTK)
GRAND PRIZE: Yaesu FT-8800R Amateur VHF/UHF transceiver. (Drawing at 2:00 p.m. from names of all attendees. No need to be present to win this grand prize.)
• PLUS THREE! Three dual band VHF/UHF handheld transceivers. (Each given in an hourly drawing at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. Must be present to win. One prize per attendee.)
• AND MORE: Numerous vendor certificates ($40, $20, and $10), merchandise and ARRL books and certificates.
PROGRAMS • ARRL Forum, Kevin O'Dell N0IRW, OK Section Mgr • ARESOK Forum • Oklahoma Repeater Society (ORSI) Fall meeting • (Tentative):•Broadband-HamnetTM HSMM-MeshTM overview • MERC Region 1 Support discussion •
LICENSING EXAMS • W5YI VE testing at 1:00 p.m. All license grades. $14 fee for each exam. Bring two forms of identification and, if testing for upgrade, bring a copy of your current license.
RAG-CHEW SESSIONS • On- and off-site
FREE FOOD • Donuts and hot beverages, 8 to 10:00 a.m. (Diabetic alternatives available) • Hot dogs and beans, condiments, beverages, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
TICKETS • Admission $2.00 per person. (Age 12 and under free if accompanied by adult.) Admission includes one drawing ticket. Extra tickets $1 each, or $5 for pack of seven.
TABLES • $3.00 each. Request tables via (or by mail before Oct.27th to EARC, PO BOX 261, ENID OK 73702). Pre- reserved tables not claimed by 9 a.m. will go to others in order of request.
FOR VENDORS: Building will be open for set-up 6:30 - 8 p.m. Fri., and 6:30 - 8 a.m. Sat.
An ARRL-approved event, hosted by The Enid Amateur Radio Club.
For more information: or 580-233-2496

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coming Soon: FEMA Think Tank

Please join Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Administrator Richard Serino and the International Association for Emergency Managers (IAEM) for a FEMA Think Tank conference call onOctober 30, 2013 from Reno, Nevada. The event will provide the opportunity to listen, ask questions, and gain perspective as panelists share their stories on how they use innovative response technology to revolutionize disaster operations, with a particular focus on rescue robots that range from bomb detection to heart beat detection.

Richard Serino, FEMA deputy administrator
John Price, DHS Science and Technology program manager
Dr. Ken Goldberg, professor at University of California at Berkley
Dr. Robin R. Murphy, professor at Texas A&M University
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Pacific)
International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Conference
Silver Legacy Hotel & Reno Events Center Reno, NV
Special Note: Only IAEM registrants may attend in person; the call in line is open to the public.
CALL IN:           

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Texoma Hamarama #ARRL #hamradio

Yes, I am planning to be one of a number of folks from the Altus Skywarn Association and the Altus Amateur Radio Club to attend Texoma Hamarama, Ardmore OK.

Hamfests are fun ways to meet new people, catch up on old friendships, and maybe catch a bargain or two.

Are you attending this event?   Hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Drop, Cover, HOLD on.

This advice holds true for any disaster.  Read the instructions now.

The American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Salvation Army all offer tips for before, during, and after Earthquakes.

Please take the time to read the material, make a plan, build a kit and practice the plan through out the year.

When you Drop, Cover, Hold on, it may be too late to read the instructions.

Do you have a plan?  

Monday, October 14, 2013

#ARRL has an App for That #hamradio

ARRL - Google Play:

The link is a search for Android applications and the American Radio Relay League has an application for reading QST and a Repeater Directory.

The QST app, of course, requires a membership and allows the user to read online or download for later reading.

Here's two fine examples of how your ARRL is moving into the next decade.

What else has the ARRL done to excite you toward amateur radio?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Are you Ready? #AltusOK #OKready

As part of our continued commitment to increase community preparedness and resilliency, are you participating in the Great Central US Shakeaout, which will take place on October 17 at 1017 hours?

In order to prepare to participate in the drill, please review the following steps and take actions that will help to protect you during an earthquake. 
Step 1:
Secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items.
Step 2:
Plan to be safe by creating a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate in an emergency. 
Step 3:
Organize disaster supplies in convenient locations.
Step 4:
Minimize financial hardship by organizing important documents, strengthening your property, and considering insurance.
We will remind you the day before the ShakeOut and will ask for your participation on the 17th. 
Remember, in an earthquake, we:

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

National Preparedness Month #OKready #AltusOK #NPM13

Well, it's over.  It's another 11 months before the focus on Preparedness appears on your radar.

At the beginning of the month, you learned about #30days30ways.  You heard from +Craig Fugate talk about the Federal Emergency Management Agency talk about Ready Month.

During the month, the world experienced wildfire, earthquakes, floods, mall shootings, drought, measles, drills, exercises, and Local Emergency Planning Committee conferences.

National Preparedness Month is not a flash in the pan.  It's more than a month.  Preparedness is a lifestyle.

Efforts like First 24 Hours and Do One Thing continue the focus throughout the rest of the year.

The question is "Are you better off AFTER National Preparedness Month?".  If not, then why not?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Remembering Lake Lugert near #AltusOK

According to Wikipedia, Lugert was once a thriving community with a bank, hotels, and a lumberyard.

Now, it normally sits at the bottom of Lake Lugert ... normally ... except there's a drought.

A foundation is one of the few memories remaining from Lugert.

A slab is normally well seen from both the road and the lake.  The overgrowth has it well hidden.

Proof that the lake owns the land normally.

A view from the railway looking to the switch at what is now named Lugert.

Here's Lugert with a pile of rail ties nearby.

One can easily see the lake level is low.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gander and Stranded Americans

If you ever wonder what the @RedCross does, read this and remember.

Red Cross, Salvation Army, your local CERT, Skywarn, and "Civil Defense" works because of volunteers.

If we ALL do something, you don't have to do it all.  Volunteer today, please. Gander and Stranded Americans:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Getting the MOST from 60 meters #ARRL #hamradio

Thanks to Mick, LA5SAA for this information provided to the 60-meter reflector.

In an e-mail I was asked today to give some hints about how to work DX on 60 meters.
Note that I have only a moderate set-up, and that my signal is not very strong in DX.

A computer in the shack is a "must" for me.

To identify who is available in CW I open the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) for 60 meters and watch it almost continuously:

To find out which SSB stations I can receive, I scan 5403.5, 5371.5, 5366.5, 5346.5 and 5330.5 with my transceiver (USB). 5330.5 is not allowed in the UK.

I switch my computer periodically to the DX Cluster (DX Summit) where people report stations heard/worked:

In addition I watch the DX-Atlas (you can use it for free for 30 days). Here I can see which parts in the world have darkness, greyzone or daylight.
You download the program here:

To my experience, DX conditions are often best when USA has darkness and the country in EU has greyzone. However, very long distance contacts (West Coast to EU)
are mainly only possible when both stations are in the greyzone.

You should also check the Solar-Terrestrial Data before you start up. To my opinion the data from Paul L Herrman are most useful.
You find them for free here:

You may expect the best condx when the K-index ist low (K=1) and the geomagnetic field is very quiet. However, K=2 is still a good value.

Call cq in cw for about 15 minutes from time to time, and watch if you are being received by any of the skimmers on RBN. If so, stay on that
frequency and continue calling (with pauses) for at least another 15 minutes, because others will look for you. Do NOT be afraid to use low speed.
On 60 most people are polite and adjust their speed according to yours.

Unless you have a booming signal, you must take your time and be patient. Conditions often change very much within minutes.

However, there is often time enough to do some paperwork in the shack, while the procedure is going on.

I hope this was of interest for some of you. Any comments or other suggestions are very much appreciated.

73 es hope to meet you soon!
Mick, LA5SAA

Saturday, August 31, 2013

National Preparedness Month #OKready #AltusOK

September is National Preparedness Month and FEMA invites you to join the National Preparedness Community and download the 2013 National Preparedness Month Toolkit.

The National Preparedness Community is where more than 32,000 people connect and collaborate on emergency preparedness. You can use the community and the Toolkit to empower yourself to prepare and coordinate preparedness activities with your family, neighbors, and those with whom you worship during National Preparedness Month.

Here are the top 5 reasons to join:
  • Download the 2013 National Preparedness Month Toolkit
  • Get access to preparedness resources
  • Promote your national preparedness event on the calendar
  • Connect and build relationships with emergency management personnel
  • Share and compare preparedness plans

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

After the PLAN comes the tools #SMEM #VOST

Back in the early days of social media in emergency management (SMEM), early adopters adapted based on their favorite tools. Then the tool ended, e.g., Timely.IS and Splitweet. Then the scramblers, especially those who lacked a plan for social media engagement, raced to find a new tool to replace the old tool.  Even others developed multiple “favorite” tools to do multiple jobs.
Is it over? No. People still are looking for tools and new tools are being developed to help with new platforms of social media.
Looking at tools today may be necessary, but only after one develops the need for using social media. This article focuses on tools that can foster and forge team building and communication.

Tweet scheduling (including Facebook and Google+)

Should there be a need to schedule tweets, a number of services exist to facilitate that effort.  Leading the pack has always been Hootsuite, though Buffer and SocialOomph are finding followers among the adapters.
Each has different features.  For example, @NavyMARS uses SocialOomph to schedule Bravo Zulu posts, saving the post as a template and changing the verbiage as necessary.
Buffer and Hootsuite allow scheduling to Facebook pages.  Also, using If This Then, one is able to update Twitter with Facebook posts and vice versa.  One can see why tools should not be the focus in social media when one considers that ManageFlitter can allow Google+ updates to Twitter. Hootsuite also supports Google+ as does If This Then.
A competitor to Hootsuite is Gremln, a platform that supports Twitter, LinkedIN, and Facebook.
Twitterfeed takes your Really Simple Syndication feed and pushes it out to Twitter. So does DLVR.IT, Hootsuite, and Google’s Feedburner along with If This Then.
Are you seeing the pattern?  Focus on the why and the how becomes easy.
Do you have your social media plan in place?  Which tools do you use to support it?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Have three ways #AltusOK

Recently, the National Weather Service radio near Altus suffered a communications problem at an inopportune time.  A communications failure to the site made the transmitter go off the air.

As a result, weather radio receivers were unable to decode the Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued at the time.

This is an example of why area residents need to have at least THREE ways of getting information.

The City of Altus Blackboard Connect system is one way.  

The Weather Service does not recommend Twitter and Social Media for warnings but the AltusReady tweets warnings using Blackboard Connect and the National Weather Service feeds.

Other Twitter accounts tweeting warnings include @WX5EM@Oklahomaalert and the Weather Services own @IEMBot_OUN.

While there may be delays in getting the warnings and the warnings may not appear on your phone at all, ex. your cellphone battery is dead, social media may be one of your three ways to get weather information.

Have at LEAST three ways to get weather information in Oklahoma.  What are your three?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Who has time for #SMEM?

Over at LinkedIN, there's a PIO group:  #SMEM

and one on LinkedIN

One of the concerns I have about Social Media is, if we have PIO
groups on all, when will we have time to be Public Information
Officers? is the
list of social media sites, excluding the dating sites.

If we say we are going to join only the "popular" ones, who decides
"popular" and when they become "unpopular" for one reason or another,
what then?
is a list of defunct sites, including three Yahoo attempts but it does
not list the announced exit of Google Buzz.

I am on the big ones ... Facebook (hate it but I'm here), Google+,
Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIN ... and still network on email groups both Yahoo and
Google. At some time, I am going to draw a line in the sand.

Have you drawn your line?

Where is it?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is your favorite band?

Ten Meters is one of my favorite bands. Even when it's not "open", it's frequently open. With the sunspots on the rise, so should the activity on the band increase.

Have you found yet? Nets listed there will help determine if the band is open. If you look at, one will see a search box that lets you know which nets are in operation. or will also give you DX Cluster spots, just for 10 meters.

At, one can get email alerts when six meters is open. If SIX is open, it's almost a given that TEN is open. also offers a map of openings AND the ability to post spots all in one place. a map and paths band openings over a 24-hour time period. The site lists the stations and who heard who over PSK.

Another propagation tool is one will find forecast for six- and ten-meters.

There's a number of 10 meter software defined radios that one can use to see where's the band is open. Two are dedicated to the "Beacon Band". is a list of beacons on Ten. Tune here to see where the band is open, even when it's not.

Ten Meters is one of my favorite bands. Thankfully, there's plenty of tools to take some of the Magic out of the Band.  What is your favorite band?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Humanity Road (@humanityroad) has training set #HMRD

New Volunteer Orientation - Saturday, July 20, 2:00pm-3:30pm Eastern time
Volunteers will need access to a phone or Skype and access to the Internet. 
Please see this link for more information and to register:
Media Monitoring & the Disaster Desk - Tuesday, July 23, 11:00am-12:30pm Eastern time.
Volunteers will need Skype and Internet access.
Please see this link for more information and to register:
All Hands Meeting - Saturday, July 27, 1:00pm-2:00pm Eastern time.
All volunteers are welcome!  Access to phone or Skype is required.
Leading Self-Directed Work Teams - Wednesday, July 31, 11:00am-12:30pm Eastern time.
Volunteers will need Skype and Internet access.


Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) send free informational text messages to WEA-enabled cell phones within range of an imminent and dangerous local situation, severe weather event, or AMBER emergency.
  • The WEA notification is designed to get your attention and notify you with a unique sound and vibration.
  • Public safety officials use WEA to send you essential information whenever you are near the location of a life-threatening event.
  • You do not need to register to receive WEA notifications. You will automatically receive alerts if you have WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program.
  • To find out if your mobile device is capable of receiving WEA alerts, contact your mobile device carrier or visit CTIA The Wireless Association
  • Download the WEA Fact Sheet or view Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information on WEA Alerts, go to go to (Spanish). 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Yarnell Fire donation information #OKfire

We received this information today and believe it to be of great importance and interest to many in Oklahoma's Fire Service and to our Friends.
"I'm sure you are all aware of the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in Yarnell, Arizona.  The Arizona Local Assistance State Team (LAST) was deployed last night.  John Proels, the national coordinator for LAST, left for Arizona this morning.  Chief Compton has been involved since he is in Arizona and Chief Siarnicki has been conducting television and radio interviews."
A donation page has been set up with the link The link can also be accessed from
We would appreciate if you share the attached press release with your membership and post it to your website.

Thank you,
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Barbara King, Assistant to the Executive Director
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
2130 Priest Bridge Dr., Suite 6, Crofton, MD  21114
410.721.1548; fax 410.721.621t

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Are you a National Park visitor?

If your vacation or weekend plans include visits to national parks and recreation areas, consider getting a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.
Benefits of the Pass
The pass provide entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the United States. Entrance covers:
  • Pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single private vehicle where per-vehicle fees are charged.
  • Pass owner and three accompanying individuals ages 16 and older where per-person entrance fees are charged (children under 16 are admitted for free).

    Types of Passes
      • Annual Pass - It's $80 (ages 16 years and older) and valid for one year.
      • Annual Pass for Military - Members of the U.S. military and their dependents are eligible for a free Annual Pass. 
      • Senior Pass - It's $10 and valid for the lifetime of the pass owner. You must be 62 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
      • Access Pass - It's free for the lifetime of the pass holder with documentation of a permanent disability. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
      • Volunteer Pass - You can earn this pass with 250 or more hours of volunteer service on public lands. The pass is valid for one year.

      Track this satellite (Thanks N2YO)

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