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Mar 10, 2016
Category: General
Posted by: cmsadmin
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Sunday April 14th

Our 2019 Communications Academy theme is:

"COMMUNICATIONS RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS."

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08:30 Registration Begins

09:00 Welcome and Introductory Remarks

09:30 Keynote -

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Session 17 - Keynote Speaker: Ross Merlin, WA2WDT - SHARES Program Manager at DHS

Topic:  “HF Interoperability – SHARES and Amateur Radio Emergency Communications”.

HF communications assets of the U.S. Federal Government and non-government critical infrastructure industries achieve interoperability the Department of Homeland Security’s Shared Resources HF Radio Program – SHARES. Many of the participants in SHARES are also Amateur Radio operators. This presentation will discuss how SHARES and Amateur Radio work together to provide resilient emergency communications.

Bio: Ross Merlin, WA2WDT is the program manager of the Department of Homeland Security’s SHARES (SHAred RESources) HF radio program. SHARES makes it possible for HF radio stations of all levels of government and those of critical infrastructure / key resources providers to have interoperable emergency communications over long distances without dependence on vulnerable infrastructure.

Before joining the NCC Ross was with DHS’s Office of Emergency Communications, where he wrote the “National Interoperability Field Operations Guide” (NIFOG) and established the public safety VHF interoperability repeater channels.

Other emergency communications experience includes DHS Spectrum Manager, FNARS (FEMA National Radio System) team leader and FEMA Spectrum Manager, and Telecommunications and Information Resources Manager for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System. Ross provided front-line communications support during major disaster deployments including Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Marilyn etc., and managed the National Disaster Medical System’s emergency operations center for the 9/11 disaster response.

Ross earned a B.S. degree magna cum laude in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland. He holds an Amateur Extra Class operator license, station license WA2WDT, and a General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL).

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10:30 Break

10:30 -11:00 Drone Demonstration for SAR and Field Operations - Outside in field next to Olympic Hall
Instructional Track -

11:00 Morning Sessions

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Session 18 - Serena Segura - WA State EMD Catastrophic Planner

Topic - “Catastrophic Incident Planning: Critical Infrastructure – Information Communications Technologies” :

The presentation will discuss catastrophic incident planning in Washington State that focuses on life-saving and life-sustaining strategies. Critical infrastructure utilities restoration focusing on information communications technologies is one of the strategies. Washington Emergency Management and the Washington State Military Department IT Division, along with other state and federal partners, are working diligently to prepare our state for a catastrophe that impacts our information communications technologies.

Instructional Track:


Bio: Serena Segura - WA State EMD Catastrophic Planner

Serena Segura is the Catastrophic Planner at the Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department. As the Catastrophic Planner, she works to build coordinated and nested plans for the state that encompasses federal, state, and local planning that prepares government to respond to catastrophes.

Serena has been an emergency management professional for 14 years. She started at the State Department of Health where she worked on medical countermeasures, medical material management and distribution, volunteer management of health professionals, fatality management, and alert and notification system implementation. Over the last two years she has worked as the Emergency Management Division’s Catastrophic Planner.

Serena enjoys spending time with her husband and two dachshunds – working around the house, gardening, and hiking. She also loves photography and playing recreational volleyball.

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Session 19 - Bob Calkins, WA7NUU and K-9 Ruger, W0OF
(Yes, WHISKEY ZERO OSCAR FOXTROT is his REAL HAM radio Vanity call!)

Topic - “Communicating for SAR Dog Handlers ” :

RACES/ARES/ACS operators may be called on to provide communications for search and rescue teams, including K9 teams. SAR members have their own lingo, and ham radio operators will benefit from understanding how the humans talk, and how the dogs work. This class will be divided between a lecture portion and a demonstration by a nationally-certified cadaver dog.

Instructional Track: ,

Bio: Bob Calkins, WA7NUU and K-9 Ruger, W0OF

Bob Calkins, WA7NUU and K-9 Ruger, W0OF
Ham radio is why Bob Calkins is a dog handler.

Bob started his career in volunteer emergency services in the early 1990s as a RACES radio officer in the King/Snohomish county areas. When a job took him south, he joined the King County EOC support team, where he got to watch K9 teams deploy into the field. He was immediately bitten by that bug, and 15 years later Bob is on his third search dog and is the training coordinator for Kitsap County Search Dogs out of Bremerton. Bob and his dogs have worked everything from routine missing person cases, to homicides, to the SR 530 mud slide. His current partner K9 Ruger is nationally certified to find missing persons both live and deceased.

In 2015 Bob gave up his day job at the Washington State Patrol to try his hand at writing books and is now an award-winning author of novels about the world of K9 search and rescue. (Available in the Exhibitor area).

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Session 20 - John Boal, K9JEB

Topic - “May the Electromotive Force Be With You! - The Power to Communicate” :

We all use electronic equipment every day - but what do we really know about how we get power for all these electronics? Learn about Electrical Power - how we create it, how we store it, and how we get it to our devices in a way they can use it. Covering Generators, Solar cells, Batteries, Connectors, Wire types, etc. Learn what Power is really all about and understand what goes into powering up all our devices today. AGM, LiPo, VA, mAh, DC, AWG - Get help in deciphering all this alphabet soup! 

Instructional Track:

Bio: John Boal, K9JEB

John Boal has been a HAM radio operator for over 25 years and have background and experience in electronics engineering and power supply design. In a past life, I designed circuits from audio amplifiers to embedded micro-controllers, power supplies, and test equipment. Today, mostly I write cloud-based software for a local health care company. I also designed and sell low-cost power distribution circuit DIY kits based around Anderson PowerPole connectors. I also built for other hams all over the world, more than 650 hand-made dual-band aluminum J-Pole antennas in the last few years earning the local nickname "J-Pole John." Although I don't have time for antennas anymore, I do like to help other HAMs with powering their gear and dabbling in digital modes like DMR and others. .

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Session 21 - Scott Currie, NS7C

Topic - “Digital Sound Card operations for Winlink Express, using Packet, Winmor, ARDOP and VARA modes ” :

This presentation will cover installation, configuration, and operation of sound card modes when using the Winlink Express client software and other utilities. Sound card operations using AX.25 Packet, HF Winmor, ARDOP, VARA and VARA-FM will be covered.

Instructional Track:


Bio: Scott Currie, NS7C

Scott Currie works for the City of Auburn in the Emergency Management office as an assistant to the Emergency Manager. At the city, Scott works in the Emergency Operations Center during activation's, drills, and exercises, and also provides public education on disaster preparedness, ICS, CERT and First Aid/CPR/AED. He also maintains and upgrades the communications equipment at the EOC. Scott has been an amateur operator since 1981 and holds Amateur Extra class license NS7C. He teaches amateur radio license classes and enjoys mentoring new hams. Scott also serves as the ARES Emergency Coordinator for the Auburn and Maple Valley emergency communications teams.

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Session 22 - Beginners' Track #4 - Alan Jones, KD7KUS

Topic - “Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone”:

A Series of six classes designed to take the new radio operator from buying your first radio, how to program it, how to use it, and how to join the Amateur Radio community and Emergency Communications:

  1. 1) Session #5 Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio – Carl Leon, N7KUW 
  2. 2) Session #11 Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? – Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN 
  3. 3) Session #15 Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners – Jon Newstrom, KL7GT 
  4. 4) Session #22 Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone – Alan Jones, KD7KUS
  5. 5) Session #27 Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next? - Don Marshall, KE7ARH 
  6. 6) Session #31 Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here? – Carl Leon, N7KUW

The Beginners' Track is both a series of six individual classes, each containing a lot of information, but it is also designed to be a cohesive collective experience offering more than just six classes. There will be a special simplex radio net for members of the beginner’s series to monitor and participate in to help get experience with, and become comfortable with, using their radios, and there will also be a separate workshop area where people can drop by at their convenience for help programming their radios either from the front panel/keypad, or by using a computer and software. While these topics are covered to some extent in the classes, there is rarely sufficient time to meet all student’s needs, which is why the additional resources are being made available. The workshop area will have experienced instructors from the beginners’ series to help students with whatever unique or individual questions they may have as a supplement to actual classroom time.

Instructional Track:

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12:15 LUNCH - ARRL Section Manager Monte Simpson, AF7PQ - Door Prize Drawing - Networking and Announcments

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13:45 Early Afternoon Sessions

Session 23 - Mark Murphy, KE7UYF

Topic - “Integrating Amateur Radio Service into a Catastrophic Exercise” :

A look at the planning and lessons learned from Snohomish County's South Whidbey Island Fault (SWIF) Earthquake Exercise Series.

Instructional Track:


Bio:Mark Murphy, KE7UYF

Mark Murphy is an Emergency Manager with Snohomish County and specializes in exercise design and development. He has been with the County for over 12 years; prior to that he served 24 years in US Military (Air Force & Army)

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Session 24 - Jason Shirron, KE7EEL

Topic - “How to Be a Survivor, NOT a Victim in 9.0 MegaQuake” :

This presentation will provide general survival information and supplies that everyone should have to help survive a catastrophic incident. /span>

Instructional Track:

Bio: Jason Shirron, KE7EEL

Jason Shirron became involved in emergency response in high school, joining King County Search and Rescue at 16. During the Hanukkah Eve windstorm, SAR was called in to answer phones at the EOC, which ultimately resulted in him joining the EOC Support Team He worked five years as an EMT while also volunteering for the EOC Support Team, until getting hired full time in October of 2012. Since then, Jason has been responsible for both volunteer management and the technical side of the EOC operation, including phones, computer systems, radios, WebEOC, and just generally advising coworkers to turn it off and back on again.

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Session 25 - Scott Currie, NS7C

Topic - “Winlink Installation and Configuration Overview”:

This presentation will cover installation, configuration, and operation of the Winlink Express client software and other utilities, focusing on V/UHF packet radio operation. HF operation will also be briefly covered.

Instructional Track:


Bio: Scott Currie, NS7C

works for the City of Auburn in the Emergency Management office as an assistant to the Emergency Manager. At the city, Scott works in the Emergency Operations Center during activation's, drills, and exercises, and also provides public education on disaster preparedness, ICS, CERT and First Aid/CPR/AED. He also maintains and upgrades the communications equipment at the EOC. Scott has been an amateur operator since 1981 and holds Amateur Extra class license NS7C. He teaches amateur radio license classes and enjoys mentoring new hams. Scott also serves as the ARES Emergency Coordinator for the Auburn and Maple Valley emergency communications teams.

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Session 26 - Mark Sheppard, N7LYE

Topic - “Portable HF Operations - connecting from anywhere to support the mission and having fun”:

Objectives of the presentation:
To discuss Portable HF covering these topics:

  • • Operating Purpose or Mission for using HF – the whys
  • • Location – where you set-up matters
  • • Radios and Equipment – what’s available, options and best fit for your needs
  • • Power – operating off-the-grid batteries, solar, wind and fueled generators
  • • Antennas – short or long range, adapting to where you are – what will work for you
  • • Building a kit – go into the field ready to operate
  • • Activities – what to do when you are out there

Instructional Track:

Bio: Mark Sheppard, N7LYE

  1. • Long time ham - operating HF since 1962
  2. • Long time out-of-doors person; hiker, back-country skier and Forest Service Lookout
  3. • Career in Public Sector Technology Management and Emergency Management
  4. • Active Volunteer:
    1. o Director Seattle ACS
    2. o COML – NW Washington Incident Management Team
    3. o Forest Service Lookout
    4. o Public Service Events: RAMROD, Plain 100, Marathon & Fat Salmon

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Session 27 - Beginners' Track #5 - Don Marshall, KE7ARH

Topic - “Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next?”:

A Series of six classes designed to take the new radio operator from buying your first radio, how to program it, how to use it, and how to join the Amateur Radio community and Emergency Communications:

  1. 1) Session #5 Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio – Carl Leon, N7KUW 
  2. 2) Session #11 Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? – Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN 
  3. 3) Session #15 Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners – Jon Newstrom, KL7GT 
  4. 4) Session #22 Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone – Alan Jones, KD7KUS 
  5. 5) Session #27 Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next? - Don Marshall, KE7ARH
  6. 6) Session #31 Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here? – Carl Leon, N7KUW

The Beginners' Track is both a series of six individual classes, each containing a lot of information, but it is also designed to be a cohesive collective experience offering more than just six classes. There will be a special simplex radio net for members of the beginner’s series to monitor and participate in to help get experience with, and become comfortable with, using their radios, and there will also be a separate workshop area where people can drop by at their convenience for help programming their radios either from the front panel/keypad, or by using a computer and software. While these topics are covered to some extent in the classes, there is rarely sufficient time to meet all student’s needs, which is why the additional resources are being made available. The workshop area will have experienced instructors from the beginners’ series to help students with whatever unique or individual questions they may have as a supplement to actual classroom time.

Instructional Track:

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15:00 Break

15:15 Late Afternoon Sessions

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Session 28 - Maximilian Dixon, Washington State Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (WA EMD)

Topic - "Maritime Disaster Preparedness – Tsunamis in the Northwest” :

Do you work on a boat or own one? Do you work close to or visit the WA coast, Puget Sound or Salish Sea? Did you know thousands of people could die from a tsunami hitting WA? Want to know how to get alerted and how to survive the next tsunami? Attend this presentation and learn about your risk and how to get prepared!

Instructional Track:

Bio: Maximilian Dixon

Maximilian Dixon is the Hazards and Outreach Program Supervisor for the Washington State Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (WA EMD).He manages the Earthquake, Tsunami and Volcano Programs and is responsible for coordinating the seismic and associated hazard risk reduction efforts between federal, state, tribal, and local partners. He Chairs the Washington ShakeAlert Communications, Education and Outreach Committee, Chairs the Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC) Tsunami Committee, is Vice President of the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW), is the National Earthquake Program Managers (NEPM) President-Elect, is on the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) Coordinating Committee, and is on the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) Steering Committee. Maximilian received his bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from the University of Washington.

"My vision for the emergency management community is for all of us to work together to help inform, motivate and empower individuals and communities so they make good risk management decisions. We need to all be in this together!"

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Session 29A - George Thornton. AE7G; Alan Scott, AC7MX; Randy Neals, W3RWN

Topic - “Advanced Technology Applied: Lessons from Ramrod” :

RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day) has been experimenting with and implementing various advanced communication technologies in recent years. Hear what we have been doing, how it works and lessons we have learned.

Session 29B - Alan Scott, AC7MX

Topic - “RAMROD RFID Data Acquisition, Management, and Reporting” :

Acquiring, managing, and reporting of bicyclist checkpoint crossing times has evolved from spreadsheet gathering and analysis to a suite of software programs that automate many of the functions from gathering to reporting and dissemination on the internet. Implementation of RFID technology, SQL databases, Java software development, and transmission of data file attachments on Winlink will be discussed. Current development is transitioning from a batch file-based transmission of data using Winlink to an individual rider record transmission in near real-time using TCP/IP connections through services such as HAMWAN.

Instructional Track: ,,

Bio: George Thornton, AE7G; Alan Scott, AC7MX; Randy Neals, W3RWN

George Thornton, AE7G is RAMROD's longest serving Director (2007-present). He has also been active in the amateur radio community. He has held leadership positions in Seattle ACS, Mike and Key ARC and is a Pop Brown award recipient. George is also an attorney in private practice in Seattle.

Alan Scott, AC7MX has been involved in community service and emergency communications following being licensed as WN2TCZ during high school in upstate New York. He majored in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati and specialized in underwater acoustics during the completion of a Master of Science in Engineering from Catholic University in Washington, DC. Following employment with the US Navy, and later the Hughes Aircraft Underseas Systems Laboratory, he began a consulting career specializing in sonar system design, deep ocean search and recovery, computer development/software programming, and medical electronics. Today Alan is a member of the WWDXC, WSARC, PSRG, Seattle ACS and enjoys contesting, building, and assisting in public service activities. In addition to his ham radio hobby he enjoys running, skiing, sailing, and taking underwater video.

In 2014, Alan became a RAMROD volunteer operating an RFID checkpoint on the east side of Mt. Rainier. In the years that followed he wrote a suite of Java based computer programs that acquired rider RFID tag information at the various checkpoints, and gathered and processed received checkpoint data into an SQL database at the finish line/headquarters. Today the development of the software continues as a piece of an overall data handling and transmission system to provide the real time reporting of rider checkpoint crossing times. The system is to provide a continual rider data update at the finish, at all checkpoints, and on the event's public website.

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Session 30 - Beginners' Track #6 - Carl Leon, N7KUW

Topic - “Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here?”:

A Series of six classes designed to take the new radio operator from buying your first radio, how to program it, how to use it, and how to join the Amateur Radio community and Emergency Communications:

  1. 1) Session #5 Radio basics: How to Choose Your First Radio – Carl Leon, N7KUW 
  2. 2) Session #11 Radio basics: I have my Radio – Now How do I Turn It On? – Joel Ware, KD7QKK and Bill Thomassen, N6NBN 
  3. 3) Session #15 Radio basics: Radio Safety for Beginners – Jon Newstrom, KL7GT 
  4. 4) Session #22 Radio basics: But I am Afraid to Talk into the Microphone – Alan Jones, KD7KUS 
  5. 5) Session #27 Radio basics: This is Fun – What’s Next? - Don Marshall, KE7ARH 
  6. 6) Session #31 Radio basics: Where Do I Go from Here? – Carl Leon, N7KUW

The Beginners' Track is both a series of six individual classes, each containing a lot of information, but it is also designed to be a cohesive collective experience offering more than just six classes. There will be a special simplex radio net for members of the beginner’s series to monitor and participate in to help get experience with, and become comfortable with, using their radios, and there will also be a separate workshop area where people can drop by at their convenience for help programming their radios either from the front panel/keypad, or by using a computer and software. While these topics are covered to some extent in the classes, there is rarely sufficient time to meet all student’s needs, which is why the additional resources are being made available. The workshop area will have experienced instructors from the beginners’ series to help students with whatever unique or individual questions they may have as a supplement to actual classroom time.

Instructional Track:

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Instructional Track Key:

- Track #1 - Emergency Management, Leadership Topics
- Track #2 - Advanced Technical Classes
- Track #3 - Practical Communications Techniques, Applications, etc.
- Track #4 - Basic Introductory Classes, Beginner's Track, Radio Basics
- Track #5 - Digital Communications Classes
- Track #6 - Optional classes and demonstrations

*Note: Some classes fit into multiple Instructional Tracks

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[This page was last updated on 02/23/2019 at 18:45 hrs]

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