Monday, November 30, 2015

Altus Update Governor's Declaration

Oklahoma governor declares state of emergency after storms #AltusOK #OKice

What does the Governor's declaration mean to Altus?  It means we need to document our winter weather response dollars to the State in an expeditious manner.  Those dollars would be the emergency protective measures done by the Police, Fire, and Street departments.  However, over 50% of the cost of a disaster is in public works.  Therefore, debris removal efforts will be included as well as the cost of damage to the Altus Power infrastructure.

Those figures will be used to determine the State and Federal disaster proclamation effort.  If there is a Federal disaster declared by the President, then FEMA dollars will reimburse the cost.

Speaking of Altus Power, good job to them, Police, Fire, and Street departments.  Social media was abuzz with good comments from the public regarding their hard work this Thanksgiving this weekend.

Did you feel the 4.5 Magnitude Earthquake in Oklahoma this morning?  If so report it.

Thanks to Erik Mowbray for serving as Duty Officer this weekend.  He did a lot.  Also, thanks to Michael Cheney, N5AFR, for monitoring NWSchat.  It was an action packed weekend in #AltusOK and beyond.   Those are just two of the EM volunteers who serve this weekend and at other times in the Calendar. 

"Areas of freezing fog after 11 pm" That's the forecast for tonight.   Please remember that freezing fog can cause poor driving conditions.

Please enjoy the warmer temperatures today and observe "Perpetual Youth Day"

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Update for #AltusOK on #ShopSmall Saturday

Would you LOOK at that graphic?

Inline image 1

That's over half the State with frozen MesoNet Wind sensors!  That's a serious case of "measles".

From the Co-ops this morning:

Ice, ice, and, unfortunately, more ice accumulated during the overnight hours. Reports from several co-ops indicate total icing amounts in some areas are now in the 0.75” to 1” range. Average is 0.5” or slightly more across a wide swath of central, southwestern, western, northwestern and northern Oklahoma. Winds have slowly but gradually decreased, from 15 – 25 mph down to the 5 – 15 mph range, which should help line crews as they work to restore power.

Here are the outage numbers for electric co-ops in Oklahoma as of 6:30 am this morning, Saturday, November 28th:

Alfalfa Electric – 1,257
Caddo Electric – 7,653
Central Rural Electric – 645
Cimarron Electric – 2,577
Cotton Electric – 225
Indian Electric – 305
Kay Electric – 20
Lake Region Electric – 1
Northeast OK Electric – 32
Northwestern Electric – 255
Oklahoma Electric – 4,044
Tri-County Electric – 1

So far, no MAJOR structural damage has been reported – several co-ops have reported a few poles down and some cross arms broken, but I have received no reports of major infrastructure damage as of this time.

Good news:  The winds dying down are mentioned above and the graphic below shows for the forecast for temperatures rising above freezing.  The winds, as you can see, decrease after sunset today.

Inline image 2

Our friends at the Regional Operations Center wrote:

Today through Sunday Morning

• Freezing rain will continue across the western 2/3 of OK into the eastern TX Panhandle southward into west-central TX 
    • Accumulating ice on trees and power lines will lead to power outages along and west of I-35 in OK westward into the eastern TX Panhandle and west-central TX southward to near I-20
    • Significant impacts to travel from I-40 in OKC into the TX Panhandle
• Heavy rain over SE OK, much of AR, N/NE TX expected through Sunday morning with flooding possible over these areas 

Your forecast from your friends at the National Weather Service reads:

“Today  Rain or freezing rain, becoming all rain after noon. High near 34. North wind 10 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible.

Tonight Rain likely, mainly before midnight. Cloudy, with a low around 33. North wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.”

Altus Power and Altus Police dispatchers were working well last night.  According to EM Volunteer Ron Roman, the calls for power outages were coming to Central Dispatch and the message to the power crews went out over the radio.

One comment on Facebook praised the City Street Department.

In the mean time, please be safe.  Check on your neighbor.  Give Mr. Mowbray your full assistance.

Travel wisely as you participate in “Small Business Saturday”

Friday, November 27, 2015

Something new in APRS land #ARRL #hamradio

The next Ham DTMF satellite is on the air for testing in Annapolis.

Anyone can use this transponder from their DTMF radio. (don’t need an APRS radio).  Just enter your DTMF callsign and GRID into a DTMF memory (formatted per the web page below) and send it on the 144.33 uplink and listen for the voice response on 144.39 (amongst all the packet clutter too).

Not only does it convert the DTMF to a voice CQ, but it also sends back an APRS packet copy of the CQ on 144.39  into the global APRS system.  If successful, you should see it in the ten minute Bulletin update:

So just program your DTMF memory once, and try it any time you drive by Annapolis (its on my building roof at USNA). 

And not only can you send your grid, you can send any of the ARL radiograms both emergency and general, but any of a few dozen more typical messages just by entering the 2 digit message number in DTMF followed by your DTMF callsign….

We just delivered the flight unit to the launch integrator 18 Nov, and so now we can sit back and actually TEST the prototype on the air and see how it works under user load.  It is only 4 Watts, so you probably have to be within a few miles or so.  Something to entertaiin you while sitting in traffic.    I have worked it from a high spot in Glen Burnie (bridge over Rt 10) about 12 miles away, but you have to have a good shot to Annapolis.

You only have to enter your grid and call into your DTMF memory once.  Then, anytime you are mobile near the Severn bridges or near the Academy, just send out the DTMF memory and listen for the response.

If there are thunderstorms in the area, I should disconnect it… but will try to leave it on.

 -----------Now the new idea! --------------
But here is the NEW idea of how to use its 2 digit message capability locally...

1) Have it listen from a very high central metro area location for DTMF on 146.58

2) The two-digit messages (01 to 99) can be used to trigger the APRS and voice response of "CALLSIGN, LISTENING ON XXX.XXX MHz"

3) then ALL APRS mobiles in the area will see the message on their radios
4) AND he messages goes worldwide in the APRS-IS system
5) You could be called back via Echolink for example
6) AND if anyone is monitoring 146.58, they will hear EVERYONE on the air and where they are listening.

In our area with over 50 repeaters, we are so spread out, hardly any repeater is being used.  But this way, everyone's "presence" on the air is announced on APRS and the single 146.58 just like APRS was always intended to be... a single clearing house channel for everything happening in ham radio.

But now you only need a DTMF radio.  Not a full APRS rig.

Oh, we just make a local list 01 to 99 of the different frequencies.  Every local list is different, but so are the repeaters in every local area...  Though I am starting to think it can be quite universal!  Wow, Il start now... for example 76 is 146.76 and 94 is 146.94, etc!

You just program  your DTMF memory with the few repeaters you use, and then sending out your message is just one button.  Send the DTMF memory with your chosen "monitoring frequency!

for more info on APRStt see

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR
USNA Satellite Lab

Winter Storm Warning update for #AltusOK

As promised, is showing wind sensors on the State's Mesonet failing.  

Pretty much where the NWS is showing the most ice,

Inline image 1

one can see zero wind speed.  Yet, if you dare venture outside, the winds are obvious.

As I mentioned in yesterday's update, there may be "measles" on the map.  Today there they are.

From Sid Sperry:

Freezing rain and ice accumulation has caused outages for a few electric cooperatives in Oklahoma overnight. The two electric cooperatives that appear to have the most outages due to ice accumulation at this time are Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC, Hooker, OK) in the Oklahoma panhandle, reporting 3,867 outages as of 7:00 a.m., mostly in Texas County north and northwest of Guymon; and Cimarron Electric Cooperative, Kingfisher, OK, reporting 366 outages, mostly in the Hennessy, Kingfisher and Longdale areas. Northwestern Electric Cooperative in Woodward, OK, is reporting 15 outages, all in Woodward County, near the Sharon and Vici areas.

Total electric co-op outages as of 7:00 a.m. Friday morning: 4,251

Our friends at the Southern Region office wrote:

Today through Sunday

• A mix of wintry precipitation is expected to continue today across N NM, the TX/OK Panhandles and into W OK; will likely continue through  Sunday morning
• Freezing rain expected to develop further southward tonight/Saturday morning and possibly again Saturday night/Sunday morning into west/SW TX
     • Significant travel impacts from west of I-35 in OK into NM and spreading southward into the Permian Basin of TX by Saturday morning
     • Widespread power outages likely from western OK into the TX Rolling Plains and southern TX Panhandle
• Heavy rain over eastern OK, much of AR, N/NE-SW TX expected through Sunday morning with flash flooding
 possible over these areas  

The State Emergency Operations Center is at Level Three (Monitoring).  Those with WebEOC accounts may wish to participate.  

Mr. Mowbray is duty officer in Altus.  He has already handled one resident's concern.  Please give him your full cooperation.

Use and OK 888-425-2385 AR 800-245-1672 CO 303-639-1111 KS 866-511-5368 MO 800-222-6400 NM 800-432-4269 TX 800-452-9292 to plan your travel.  Do NOT call 911 to ask about slick roads, please.

Check and your favorite broadcast source for updates through the weekend.


IF you must travel, travel wisely.  Plan what you will do with one or two days without power.  

Be safe and observe the “National Day of Listening”

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#Thanksgiving Update for #AltusOK

Good morning, troops and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

The good news is we are getting rain that will help us overcome the D1 Drought conditions.


Watch the Oklahoma Mesonet wind indicators stop as they ice over at  There will be "measles" on the screen too as the stations fail.

With the air temperature forecast to fall below freezing Friday evening and park there through Sunday morning, the brisk winds will drive the wind chills into the teens and low 20s.  Bundle up, if you are working outside.

“Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.”

The period when most of the freezing rain is expected is from noon Friday through Saturday morning.  Total freezing rain of .2 inches is forecast through Sunday.

One of the tools to come from my FIRST ice storm was the SPIA Index.  Yes, the “Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index” is known Nationwide and used by electric utilities to work to over come these sort of challenges.  Both Sid Sperry and Steve Piltz are professionals in their respective disciplines.

As you can see, from the graphic, the icing is forecast to be worse to our North and West.  

Your Oklahoma MesoNet soil temperature graphic also offers good news.

Inline image 2

With temperature at 59 degrees two inches down, this does not look to be a crop-freezing event and the ground temperature will remain around or above freezing.  In other words, elevated surfaces will freeze first.

TRAVEL will be over WET roads.  Bridges and overpasses will freeze first.  Travel wisely.

Use and OK 888-425-2385 AR 800-245-1672 CO 303-639-1111 KS 866-511-5368 MO 800-222-6400 NM 800-432-4269 TX 800-452-9292 to plan your travel.  Do NOT call 911 to ask about slick roads, please.

Check and your favorite broadcast source for updates through the weekend.

In summary, expect ice which MAY lead to some power outages in the area.  I have confidence in our City Electric Department.  Bundle up against the wind chill.  Plan your travel well and, if you don't HAVE to go to Braum's at 3 a.m., don't.  Expect this to be a short event compared to the 2010 ice storm.

Above all, enjoy Thanksgiving with your friends and neighbors as well as celebrate “Good Grief Day”.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Winter is right around the corner #OKwx #Skywarn

Get Prepared for Winter Weather

Brrr! Cooler temperatures are setting in, which means winter is on its way. Before winter weather hits your area, talk with your family about how to stay safe and take action to get prepared! Planning and preparing can help you manage the impact of severe winter weather.

The How to Prepare for a Winter Storm guide from America’s PrepareAthon! outlines steps you can take now, including:
  • Gather emergency supplies;
  • Make a family emergency communication plan;
  • Install battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors;
  • If you have access to an outside generator, have an electric cord long enough to keep the generator at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent;
  • NEVER use a generator inside your home or in any partially enclosed area; and
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions using local alerts, battery-operated radios, and other news sources for information and instructions.
To learn more about preparing for winter weather, take a look at this animated video, and see what to do “When the Sky Turns Gray.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Are local disaster preparedness efforts reaching everyone in your community? #OKready #AltusOK @OKem

Join Our Webinar: Preparing Individuals Disproportionately Impacted by Disasters

Are local disaster preparedness efforts reaching everyone in your community? Join an upcoming discussion on disaster preparedness efforts to serve populations that are disproportionately impacted during an emergency due to risk factors related to language, cultural isolation, immigration status, and national identity.  
Title: Community Discussion: Preparing Individuals Disproportionately Impacted by Disasters
Date: Monday, November 23, 2015
Time:  2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (ET)
Featured Speakers:                                 
  • Iskra Gencheva, from Ready New York, New York City Citizen Corps, and New York City Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will share experiences preparing New York City’s immigrant and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) populations. 
  • Sarah Babcock, from New Orleans Medical Reserve Corps will share experiences preparing the Spanish-Speaking and Vietnamese communities of New Orleans.
  • Dana Perry, from Newport News CERT will share experiences preparing refugees from  nations including Afghanistan, Cuba, Burma, Nepal, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Tom Hipper, from the National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities will share helpful resources that support emergency preparedness efforts for culturally diverse communities.
How to Join the Webinar:
We hope that you will be able to join us on November 23!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Don't forget to Thank a Vet today #IThankedAVet #YourTurn #AltusOK

Thank a Veteran

Veterans Day is Wednesday, November 11. Show our veterans and other service members how much you appreciate their sacrifice by volunteering in your community and performing acts of kindness. 
Organizations like Points of LightCorporation for National and Community ServiceTeam Rubicon, and Civil Air Patrol support the military community.Find volunteer opportunities in your area or create your service projectusing themed toolkits. You can also join a CERT or Citizen Corps Program in your area. These organizations provide education, training, and volunteer services to help prepare communities for disasters.  
This year, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is launching Operation Appreciation in honor of Veterans Day. VFW invites you to demonstrate your appreciation and share a photo or video illustrating your acts of kindness on social media using hashtags #IThankedAVet, #YourTurn.

Monday, November 09, 2015

How @WaffleHouse and @CrackerBarrel handle issues #tweko

Waffle House?  How is the "no gun" policy working for you?

“Upon investigation we learned he had gotten into an argument with an employee over smoking and he pulled out a handgun and shot the employee in the head.”

For many years we have had a “no firearms” with the exception of Law Enforcement and Security Guards policy in place in our restaurants. We are well aware that different people and businesses have varying opinions regarding this issue, and we respect the right of all to have different opinions. However, we continue to believe this is the best policy for our customers and associates.

Thank you again for contacting us, we appreciate your opinion and your business.

Pat Warner
VP of Culture
Waffle House, Inc.

That is the sign that Waffle House has on their stores.  I was unaware of the policy until last week and the sign until the manager walked me outside the door and pointed it out to me.  Can you read the sign 15 feet away?  

After a random check at Waffle House and Cracker Barrel as well as visits with managers at the locations, I have told the managers at those locations I will not be returning to Waffle House and will continue to support Cracker Barrel, even though they have the same policy, as long as they don't put up their signs.

Two things:

1.  Waffle House needs to post signs AT THE DOOR that look like this:

According to a a law enforcement colleague, the sign must be visible within 15 feet.  Waffle House has caused me to violate their policy, without my even knowing their policy is in place.  

At any rate, Waffle House needs to improve their signs so they comply with State law so law-abiding citizens can make an informed decision about where they will dine.

2.  Have you seen some of the Waffle House locations?  At night, they don't seem to be warm and welcome, except to a criminal.  Read the headlines.  I love my wife too much to frequent a place where I can not protect myself or her.

In all fairness, Cracker Barrel is not without their share.  At least there, though, one who is armed has a "fighting chance".

Express yourself.  Write to Waffle House and Cracker Barrel.  Let them know what you think.  Blog comments are moderated.  Waffle House and Cracker Barrel official replies will get equal time.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Use the correct fire extinguisher #OKfire

What’s Your Extinguisher Type?

In an emergency, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property when used to put out a small fire. However, when it comes to extinguishers, one type does not fit all.
Did you know there are several types of fire extinguishers? Each one is designed to extinguish different kinds of fires:
  • A:  For use with materials like cloth, wood, and paper;
  • A-B-C or B-C: Multi-purpose fire extinguishers best suited for home use. Most home improvement stores carry fire extinguishers that cover class A through class C;
  • B:  For use with combustible and flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, oil and oil-based paints;
  • C:  For use with electrical equipment like appliances, tools, or other equipment that is plugged in;
  • D:  For use with flammable metals like aluminum, magnesium, and titanium; and
  • K:  For use with vegetable oils, animal oils, and fats in cooking appliances.
Before using an extinguisher, please keep in mind that the U. S. Fire Administration recommends that only people trained in the proper use and maintenance of fire extinguishers consider using them when appropriate! Contact your local fire department for training information.

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