Comm-Center Report as of September 4th, 2008

Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 07:35:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jay Nugent 
To: ARROW-Red Cross , Radio1 
Subject: [ARROW-RedCross] Comm-Center status report as of Sept 3rd

   The following are the most recent updates to the Comm-Center since my
last report back in June.  I will also toss in a few NON-Comm-Center items
that are noteworthy.

   o To begin with, the rumor that the Exchange server and the door
     access controller were located off-site is *NOT* true.  They are
     indeed on-site and all internal mail and door access will continue to
     work should the phone circuits go down.

   o Provided a brief "Radio Communications" training session for the DAT
     team members.

   o WB8TKL attended the "Supervision in Disaster" 2-day class offered by
     the Red Cross Training Academy.  A wealth of information providing a
     better understanding of the internal operations of the Red Cross when
     on assignment.

   o Upgraded the Kubuntu Linux PC from version 7.04 to 7.10 and installed
     several 'usefull' networking utilities and applications.

   o Paul the IT guy assigned the IP address to the JNOS box.
     So it is now "reachable" from any PC inside the Chapter.  This means
     we can operate Packet from anywhere in the building.  We can also FTP
     files to/from the JNOS box as needed (shelter lists, equipment lists,
     disaster scene photos, etc.)

   o Installed "OutPost", an Outlook-like mail client but for Packet use,
     on the WinXp box.  Some features still need to be configured to make
     this easy and "familiar" user interface functional.

   o Aquired a 10-meter ground plane to be cut down for 47.42 MHz
     operation and will be later placed in service at Corey's home in the
     western part of the county.

   o Posted copies of all licenses on the wall (KTT-829, WC8RC, and W8PGW)

   o MORE photos and MORE documentation have been added to the website

   o Installed a 24-port ethernet hub for the Linux and JNOS boxes.  This
     also allows us to add additional PC's or laptops as needed in a
     moments notice.

   o N8CBW provided two *new* 12v7ah SLA batteries for the two UPS's.
     These were installed on the JNOS and WinXP boxes.

   o Installed 25-amp fuse near the 12-volt deep-cycle battery.

   o Confirmed that the 12-volt Deep-Cycle battery *IS* venting acid into
     its plastic containment box.  The terminal voltage is at 13.2 volts
     (2.20 volts per cell times 6 cells) and it should *not* off-gas at
     that voltage.  We suspect one cell may be internally shorted.

   o We located the proper documentation for the Motorola remote control
     telephone set and temporarily wired it to the 47.42 MHz base station.
     It works but has low mic audio (we can correct this).  The remote
     will eventually be wired into Corey's office, upstairs.

   o The 146.96 repeater is rather weak at the Red Cross.  Placed a
     Kenwood TM-V708 dual-band rig on the dual-band antenna on the tower
     and got *similar* performance. This confirms the weak signal is not
     due to the radio.
        -- SWR tests indicated we get a good forward match on both 146 MHz
           and 446 MHz.  Very little energy was seen reflected.

   o Configured the "" email account on the WinXP
     box with Outlook running under the "Administrator" user account.
     This gives us FULL priveledges on the PC while atill accessing our

   o Added many usefull contacts to the Outlook "Contacts" list (Address
     Book) such as:  WA8EFK, WB8TKL, W8FSA, N8CBW, KD8GWX, WB8WSF, and so
     on.  More will be added in the future so Operators will have
     neccessary resources at their fingertips (including phone numbers).

   o Labled more of our resource binders and placed them on the left end
     of the HF desk (accessible from both operator positions).

   o Corey provided a 3x4 foot bulletin board.  It still needs to be
     attached to the wall, probably the back wall above the Packet station
     and Linux PC.  This will contain ORG charts, Contact lists, and other
     needed resources and postings.

   o Moved the "Local" and "GMT" clocks to the wall above the HF desk for
     easier viewing from both operator positions.

   o N8CBW supplied (two) AC Recepticle Testers (for a later project
     when we will be testing all generator power outlets).

   o N8CBW supplied a 12-port SMC Ethernet hub along with a 28-port SMC
     Ethernet hub.

   o Placed a roll of black Electricians Tape in the toolbox.
     !!!MORE hand tools are needed so please check the "Wish List" on the

   o Created a "wc.redcross" account on Yahoo and joined the
     "ARROW-RedCross" Yahoo mailing list.  This way all mailing list
     information will be dropped into the mailbox
     for easy access at any time from the Comm-Center computers.

   o Completed the last few edits on the ARROW/Red-Cross SOU (Statement of
     Understanding) and it is ready for signing once we can schedule the
     appropriate parties for that photo op.  The new SOU has been placed
     on the website.

   o Mari Howard is preparing a proximity/swipe card for W8FSA.  Then
     *ALL* the Assistant Station Managers will have 7x24 building access.

   o We are testing various battery-operated lighting systems should we
     lose AC Mains and the generator does not start quickly.  Tonight I
     tested a 20-watt 12-volt Halogen "Puck" light on the wall near the
     door.  It shines across the ceiling so that light is indirectly
     reflected and is less 'harsh'.  This proved VERY easy conditions to
     work under.  Even with my bad eyes I could read and write notes, work
     the rigs and the computers :)
        -- Rich Scheff KD6HWF has purchased a 6-volt high-intensity LED
           lamp from Harbor Freight and we will perform tests and compare.

  NOTE: 22 Red Cross volunteers are currently deployed to southern states
        for hurricane relief.  This *MAY* effect Red Cross's participation
        in the upcoming S.E.T. (Simulated Emergency Test) Saturday
        September 27th.  Even without these personnel, we will still
        conduct the drill albeit we may only 'simulate' the shelters
        being deployed.  Stay tuned...

   -- Re-hang HF dipole into tree across the parking lot
   -- Pull two runs of RG8X (temporary) through the 2nd conduit to the tower
   -- Install a 2/440 J-Pole (loaner) so we can operate a second rig
   -- Install a 2nd 2m antenna for Packet and/or Scanner use
   -- Route remote control cable to Corey's office for 47.42 MHz radio
   ** Train more operators on operating in the Comm Center
   ** Train more operators in using Packet
   ** Get more Hams vetted through the Red Cross "Orientation" program and
      receive ID's
   ** Sign the SOU
   -- Aquire one or more (at least a better) 2-meter synthesized radio(s)
   -- Determine our Extension number (telephone)
   -- Test N8LRF's "OutPost" settings
   ** Project:  new coax runs to the tower
   ** Project:  installation of new antennas on the tower
   ** Project:  rebuild Tri-Band HF beam & install on the tower

         --- Jay Nugent  WB8TKL
             o ARROW/RedCross Liasion & Station Manager