Rescuing “Equine Rescue”

Submitted by Bill W1UUQ – Unbeknownst to me a neighbor had a son who worked at the Santa Barbara Humane Society (HS). In a chance meeting I asked many questions about animal and equine rescue during states of disasters or emergencies. With literally hundreds of animals to care for during an area evacuation I wondered how this group communicated with each other trying to save many horses and other personal pets. What I found was rather interesting. Also, if you are looking for vaccination at home for your pets, you can get them done from here! The Humane Society was using mobile and HT CB radio for baseline communications. CB units would be handed to volunteers with the expectation that they could get wide area communications. It did not quite work well this way. In a recent equine evacuation of 57 horses at the Circle-Bar-B ranch on Refugio Road pointed out the need for a mobile to base and mobile to mobile communications system that works in tight spaces and deep canyons. Local and State government has no means of equine or animal rescue therefore it relies upon local groups to handle the evacuation of animals. When a state of emergency exists the Humane Society will receive instructions for equine rescue from County Animal Control. The HS cannot technically operate on public-service channels but does have contact with County Animal Control by telephone and personal contact. From that point scores of resident volunteers take charge using horse trailers. Meanwhile the HS procedure is to set up a mobile command post at the Earl Warren Showgrounds to receive and house the animals if staging is required within the Santa Barbara to Goleta corridor. The command post also has an amateur radio transceiver but no procedures were ever established with how and when to use amateur radio operators. This would require the activation of many radio operators to man each position, many of whom do not have the required Disaster Service Worker identification. The HS personnel have a DSW ID card that allows a field directive by Animal Control to initiate animal rescue. However, a DSW-V volunteer card and swearing-in could be issued on the spot by a local official but all this takes up valuable time. After weighing many options I found it best to equip the HS with stand-alone VHF communications on a business-band repeater channel and not depend on amateurs… Continue reading

Mesh Network Status – April 9th, 2016

Our three nodes at Gibralter Peak are working extremely well. We have members linking up from Goleta to Carpinteria and several points in-between. There are about 5 nodes online now and another 5 or so coming up soon! The node for the club station is programmed and ready to go, but installation on the mast was delayed because of rain. We still need to raise funds to build out the La Vigia site on the Mesa. We need 2 or 3 Ubiquiti Nanostation nodes there and a ToughSwitch network switch. All the equipment will cost us about $400 and any help our members can offer will be greatly appreciated. If you can help with a donation please click here. Our next step will be to connect over the mountain to the Santa Ynez Valley. We’re very lucky to have access to all the great repeater sites that Bill W1UUQ has spent many years cultuivating. This enables is to to some great things with emergency and general communications of all kinds and we hope to utilize these assets wisely to enhance our communications abilities.

General Club Meeting – March 18, 2016

We had a packed meeting this month in more ways than one! It was very well attended with a 59% increase in members in attendance compared with our recent averages. On top of that we had three presenters too! It started off with Jon Kent of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Aero Squadron. Jon explained what the Aero Squadron does and related some great stories. Jon has been a volunteer for decades and has flown many missions in support of local law enforcement, county government, and emergency services. He is truly a dedicated to public service, and is an inspiration to all of us. Gear, gear and more gear! The tables were packed with radio equipment that immediately drew interest from our members. Bill Talanian W1UUQ showed off some of his one-of-a-kind creations that help him support a wide variety of services including air observer support, repeater maintenance, and emergency services support. Also displayed on the main table was a repeater, controller, amplifiers and other gear slated soon for SBARC service. Out third speaker, Matt Lechliter, W6KGB, explained what it all was. Matt treated us to an extremely informative hour explaining how he hand builds our repeater systems for us. Although we seldom hear him on the air, he is nevertheless hard at work repairing our existing equipment and building new things for our future. Matt typically takes Motorola and GE commercial repeaters had hand fabricates new parts and electronics to turn them into top quality amateur radio repeater systems. Calling his creations “home-brew” does not do them justice. They are every bit as professionally constructed – if not more so – that the finest factory made ones. SBARC is extremely lucky to have people like Bill and Matt on our team. There is nothing “amateur” in what they do. Post expires at 1:50am on Wednesday April 20th, 2016 but will still be available in the archives.

Come to the April General Club Meeting – April 17, 2015

Our scheduled topic this month will be on emergency training. Learn about CERT training, emergency communications, and how to best serve your neighbors and community during an emergency. As amateur radio users, we are able to provide a valuable service that others can’t. So be sure to attend. We will be meeting at the normal place, Goleta Union Schools Admin. Board Room – 401 North Fairview Avenue – across the street from the public library. The meeting starts at 7:30 but come early and socialize! Post expires at 1:00am on Saturday April 18th, 2015 but will still be available in the archives.