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Combined Cherokee County ARES/WCARS-Murphy Chapter Newsletter


 October, 2018

 The activities of both Cherokee County ARES/AUXCOMM and the WCARS-Murphy Chapter were overshadowed by the presence of Hurricane Florence, forecast for over a week to strike the North Carolina coast and then move inland.  Cherokee County remained in the “cone of uncertainty” until the National Hurricane Center began to forecast the storm would stall over South Carolina and then move north as a depression or extra-tropical low pressure center. 

Pursuant to being cautious, we put out the call for all qualified members who would be able to deploy either locally or statewide.  A total of nine members volunteered for local deployment, two of which were also willing to deploy statewide and one who was willing to deploy within the Western Branch.  All of this information was provided to Director Caldwell, our local EM Director, as well as our District Emergency Coordinator. 

Fortunately, the tropical cyclone was downgraded quickly as it stalled out over the Eastern Carolinas.  When the storm did finally start moving north through the Western Mountains, we remained on the weak or dry side of the system, enjoying only a light zephyr from the North and Northwest and a slight amount of rain.

 NC AUXCOMM personnel were deployed to the RCC-East and State EOC, as well as within several of the counties directly affected by Hurricane Florence.  Suffice it to say that amateur radio remains an important resource for emergency communications within North Carolina.  The key need for long distance communications was the use of Winlink 2000 RMS e-mail.

 In preparation for any similar call out locally for a weather related or similar disaster, Net Manager and Club President Dick Leineke KJ4GTK is currently putting together a plan to test our digital text and form(s) capability over both HF and VHF radio in the near future.  He has requested members with digital soundcard and/or VHF packet capability contact him with the specifics of their equipment and abilities.  This involves the use of digital signals for written communications.  Forms of digital VHF and UHF voice communications such as DMR, D-Star, and Fusion are not included in this particular test, but may be considered in the future. 

Please remember that if Hurricane Florence had struck Wilmington as a Category 4 storm and continued west at 15 mph instead of stalling, our county would have been on the north or strong side of the storm once it came far enough inland.  We would likely have had at least tropical storm force (greater than 50 mph) winds and torrential downpours.  While we feel sadness and compassion for our fellow Tarheels who continue to deal with the massive flooding from Florence in the Eastern part of our State, we also count our blessings that we were so fortunate.

 We would also like to remind our members who have committed to ARES/AUXCOMM that completion of the four Incident Command System courses is mandatory for deployment.  Those who are not in the AUXCOMM database will not be able to receive written orders to deploy which are required to get past official roadblocks.  If you have not yet had the opportunity to complete these courses, they are available free online and there is a link to them on our website.  This may give you something to pass the time when Winter arrives and the cold weather has you cooped up indoors.


Kevin Heyboer KD4UYR                            Dick Leineke KJ4GTK

Emergency Coordinator                               Club President-Murphy Chapter WCARS

Cherokee County ARES/AUXCOMM        Assistant Emergency Coordinator

SW NC SKYWARN Net Manager             Cherokee County ARES/AUXCOMM             



Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018:

Clay County ARES/AUXCOMM informal lunch meeting.  Clay County ARES/AUXCOMM meets at 12:00 Noon at various locations each Wednesday.   Check into the previous Appalachian Emergency Net on the K5PRE repeater, 146.955+ PL 100.00 to find out where the group is meeting for lunch.   

National Emergency Alert System Test:  The Nationwide Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert System will be tested between 2 and 3 pm EDT. 

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 

Combined WCARS-Murphy and Cherokee County ARES/AUXCOMM Emergency and Information Net at 7:00 PM on the K4AIH repeater (147.045 MHz, - offset,151.4 Hz tone). This net meets weekly on Thursdays. On the first net of the month we encourage operating on emergency power. Inform the Net Control if you are on emergency power when you check in. (Nets held most Thursdays.).   

Appalachian Emergency Net meets at 8:00 PM EST/9:00 PM EDT Thursday nights on the Clay County ARES/AUXCOMM repeater K5PRE (146.955 MHz, - offset, 100 Hz tone). (Nets held most Thursdays) 

Saturday, October 6th, 2018 

Amateur Radio Informal Social Brunch at 10:00 a.m. at Main Street USA Diner on Hiwassee Street in Murphy.  Any and all radio amateurs are invited to attend, along with their family and friends. 

DMR World Wide Net at 12:00 noon local time:  This Net occurs every Saturday on DMR talk group 91.  Those without DMR equipment can listen to the net at 

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018: 

Western Carolina Amateur Radio Society/Cherokee County ARES/AUXCOMM combined meeting:  The meeting is held on the second Tuesday of each month at the Robert Penland Senior Center, 69 Alpine Street, Murphy, NC and begins at 7 pm Eastern Daylight Time. 

Saturday, October 13th, 2018: 

Amateur Radio License Exam Session  

Sponsor: Edwin Flowers, KG4LVO

Location: Andrews Public Library-Conference Room

Time: 10:00 AM (Please e-mail for an examination appointment if you wish to test at this session) 

Friday, October 19th, 2018: 

WCARS-Asheville Amateur Radio Get Together:  The WCARS Asheville club invites all licensed operators to join them at Ryan's Steakhouse, 1000 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC for an informal gathering with dinner.  These meetings will be held on the third Friday of each month, beginning with this one. 

Saturday, October 20th, 2018: 

Boy Scout Jamboree on the Air is conducted world-wide on the third weekend of October.  As of now, the local Boy Scout Troops have not contacted us regarding assistance for this event.

Amateur Radio Informal Social Brunch at 10:00 AM EDT at Main Street USA Diner, located on Hiwassee Street in downtown Murphy.  Any and all radio amateurs are invited to attend, along with their family and friends  

Saturday, October 27th, 2018:  

Western Branch NCARES/NCAUXCOMM Fall Meeting from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, at the Caldwell County Public Library, 120 Hospital Avenue NW, Lenoir, NC 28645. The Library is located behind the KFC on 321N. This meeting is open to all licensed hams, NC AUXCOMM - NC ARES members or not.  Agenda TBD. 

Planning for the future:

Atlantic Hurricane Season began on June 1st and continues until November 30th
Already one storm, Alberto, directly affected North Carolina and remained a subtropical storm until it reached Lake Michigan.  Coastal North and South Carolina are, of course, vulnerable to anything from a weak tropical storm to a major, intense hurricane.   In addition, it is not impossible for a hurricane to retain some form of tropical characteristics as it moves inland toward our area from either the Carolina coastal plain or the Gulf of Mexico.  ARES/AUXCOMM members should be prepared to deploy if needed to other areas of the state, or locally if needed.  As we write this newsletter, Tropical Storm Leslie is out in the open Atlantic Ocean. 

SKYWARN Recognition Day is normally held the first weekend of December.  The Andrews Christmas Parade is December 4th.