OARS, the Olympia Amateur Radio Society, is an ARRL special services club dedicated to promoting and supporting Amateur Radio in the Olympia Washington area as well as all of Thurston County.

Until further notice the OARS weekly schedule will be the following:
Tuesdays -- Zoom 216-944-109, starts at 7:30 pm with talk on repeaters (be sure to mute your Zoom input).
Monthly Meeting every 3rd Wednesday -- Zoom 435-905-935 Password 147360, starts at 7:00 pm but no talk on the repeaters.
Contact Bruce WA7BAM or Lee KI7SS if there are any questions or issues.

Testing will happen second Wednesday each month at the Alpine Hills Community Park at the intersection of Westhill Dr SW and Northill Dr SW. Remember you need a federal registration number available for free on the FCC website. Also remember to dress for the weather since we are in an open picnic shelter. Candidate numbers have increased so testing is starting at 5 pm to accommodate everyone. Follow this link for more information:

OARS Repeaters operate on the following frequencies:
147.36 MHz(+) (PL 103.5 on TX output only)
224.46 MHz(-) (PL 103.5)
441.40 MHz(+) (PL 103.5)

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More information

Are you looking for more information?  Try the links on the right side of this page.  There you can find the OARS Calendar, Upcoming events,...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

TCARES and the Midnight Riders Endurance Ride

Midnight Riders Equestrian Event
On Aug 25th, 2018 several TCARES members along with three of our friends from Lewis County provided communications support for the Midnight Riders Equestrian Event held on the Willapa Hills Rails-to-Trails park along Hwy 6 between Adna and Pe Ell.  This event drew over 80 horse and rider teams.  There were two simultaneous events, a 15-mile Trail Ride from the Willapa Farms Cheese Factory to Pe Ell and back, and a 30-mile Endurance Ride from the Cheese Farm to the Adna Trail-head and back.  The endurance ride helped train horse and rider to ride in the dark, and it was DARK, and cloudy, and raining! 
A lot of planning went into this event with lots of research and details provided by Mark, K7HTZ, huge thanks Mark!  The documentation was excellent!  We used the Bawfaw repeater, 147.06 MHz.  Special thanks to Eugene O'Neill, AF7JM, and CVARS for the use of their repeater.  Coverage was good for a majority of the course. 
We were deployed at various road crossings along the trail and at the Adna and Pe Ell trail-heads.  Our mission was to provide communications support for the event, record horse numbers and report them in to net control so that progress could be displayed on a big screen TV for the spectators and horse crews.  The team at Ride Camp, Tom, Nancy and Mark, did a fantastic job of updating spreadsheets as the numbers were radioed or texted in.  Having Nancy, NL7HK as an NCS operator was awesome.  Her experience as a 9-1-1 operator and her on-air demeanor was spot on.  Kudos to her!
Ride Camp 1

Ride Camp 2

Ride Camp 3
W7PLC setup at Adna Trail-head

As you can see in the photos, wildfire smoke was an issue.  Some members brought masks and were prepared for almost anything.

We also used APRS for this event.  As expected – APRS RF - if you were stationed east (Ceres) side check points – good performance. Performance declined west of Ceres. Those that operated high power (>50w) did show at the Cheese Farm.  
 APRS-IP, the APRS app on your smart phone, on K7HTZ – much better performance vs RF
More research and testing is needed with this mode before it can be considered reliable enough for general ARES use in our area.  Hills, dead spots, low power, and cell coverage all contribute to the current usability of this mode.  Nothing we can do about the terrain or cell coverage, but we can invest in higher power.  Phil’s (W7PLC) amp is the “RMItaly LA145” 5W in 85W out ($155.99 @ DXEngineering.com) and worked quite well given the conditions in the area.

It was a fun event that required a bit of innovation and using new techniques.  The Adna Trail-head reported both arrivals and returning horse numbers and they were coming and going at the same time, so we tried, successfully, texting the horse numbers and arrival/departure times.  The texting was a test to see if we can get data through when radio communications is too busy or is unavailable.  The Vet staff at the Adna Trail-head were glued to Phil’s radio listening for horse progress or any trouble reports and knowing when to expect the horses at the Vet-check location.  Three other locations also radioed in the horse numbers which made the repeater and net control very busy.  

Some participant comments:
We all experienced a few problems with the radios at first but that went away within an hour.  Nice tight net control kept track of everyone well.  They were always responsive to our questions and did a great job.  Excellent planning for this mission.  Everyone safe and a great learning experience.”
None of us had worked an exercise like this so it was interesting to prepare for a nighttime event where we need to plan for multiple weather conditions and using several different radios.”
And “Almost every rider thanked each of us multiple times.  One rider told me that when it was dark and lonely on the trail she could look ahead and often see that red light many of the hams used to read the checklist and just seeing us there made her feel safer. Bob Willey, EC Centralia ARES (And THAT is why we do what we do!)

Folks in charge of the comms plan did a superb job. Excellent integration of APRS and multiple methods of communications.  When I left all participants were accounted for and safe. Very successful event.  You, Mark and others know more about the details in planning that lead to a successful event.”  Bruce Montgomery, President OARS, Outreach Coordinator TCARES

OVERALL:  Outstanding job by all concerned – another success for TC ARES and our partners in Lewis County.”  Tom Bohon, EC TCARES

It was a fun event and I'm sure we will be invited back again next year.  If you did not participate, please consider volunteering for this event next year.

Volunteers this year:
Nancy,             NL7HK                       NCS
Phil,                 W7PLC                       ®(T)ADNA
Andy,              KB7VTY                     BUNKER CR. RD
Bruce,             WA7BAM                   CLINTON RD
Mark,              K7TUM                      SPOONER RD
Art,                  KL7SK                       ®CERES HILL RD
Bob,                N7GQP                       ®RAINBOW FALLS
Paul,                KE7PCB (Lewis Co.) CHANDLER RD
Skip,                K1HEK (Lewis Co.)   RAILROAD AVE
*Bob,              KD7OWN (Lewis Co.)DOTY-DRYAD & PE ELL AVE
*Mike,             KF7RDB                     STEVENS RD & MAUERMAN RD
Tom,               W7BHN                       NCS   
Clarence,         AG7BA                      
Mark,              K7HTZ                        NCS
Jeff,                 KI7SCS                       BRIDGE
Stephanie,       KI7TEB                       BRIDGE
Jack                 KI7TEA                      BRIDGE
Steve,              WC7I                          ®PE ELL

  • *Double assignment.  After all horses passed 1st assignment, this person moved to 2nd assignment, after all horses passed 2nd location, person returned to 1st location.  Both locations had to keep track of two different lists of riders/horses.  Thanks Bob and Mike for the extra effort.
  • ® Reporting locations, Phil, Art, Bob, Steve.  These locations would report the horse/rider numbers to NCS as they passed .  Adna was testing a texting option (T) that could possibly be used in future events such as the Capital City Marathon.
Start thinking about what we accomplished on this event and how we can improve on it for our next outing.  We will have an after-action-review at the next TCARES meeting, Sept 13, 2018 7:00 PM at Tilley Rd EOC, 9521 Tilley Rd. and I’m sure it will be discussed at the next Centralia ARES meeting. 
Now is the time for you to join TCARES or Centralia ARES.

Monday, August 13, 2018

ARRL Contest Changes for 2018-2019

For all you contesters out there, check out this article from ARRL; www.arrl.org/arrl-contests-changes-for-2018-2019


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