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County of Orange RACES, an auxiliary communications unit of the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), is administered by OCSD's Communications & Technology Division. Members are registered as Disaster Service Workers with OCSD's Emergency Management Bureau. They are trained to provide voice, video, and data communications during emergencies, using their own equipment on County VHF and UHF repeaters and simplex frequencies. When activated, OCRACES provides emergency communications support, handles messages between incidents and the EOC, or between public-safety agencies and critical locations, and reports conditions from the field to the EOC or Command Post.

Next OCRACES Meeting: November 3rd

The next County of Orange RACES meeting is on Monday, November 3, 2014, at 7:30 PM, at 840 N. Eckhoff Street, Suite 104, in Orange. At this meeting we will receive training on providing communications for ballot transportation between Collection Centers and the Vote Tally Center at the close of the November 4th General Election. All City and County RACES and MOU members who wish to participate are urged to contact OCSD Emergency Communications Manager Delia Kraft, KF6UYW. Also at this meeting, Ken Tucker, WF6F, will give a presentation on his Arduino Doppler radio direction finder (RDF), which he wrote about in the September 2014 issue of NetControl (page 5).

Next Cooperative T-Hunt: November 10th

The next Cooperative T-Hunt is on Monday, October 13, 2014, immediately following the 7:00 PM OCRACES ACS net. The fox will hide in a City or quadrant of Orange County (to be announced). He/she will transmit on the input of the OCRACES 2-meter repeater, and will hide on paved, publicly accessible property. No fees will be required to drive directly to the fox. Hunters will compare bearings on another frequency, and are encouraged to beacon their locations via APRS. This is an exercise in quickly locating interference.

It's easy to get started in T-hunting. Some hunters use a home-made beam with steel tape-measure elements, or an Arrow Antenna Model 146-3 hand-held portable three-element yagi, and the Arrow Antenna FHL-VHF fox hunt loop. Other hunters get more elaborate with cubical-quad antennas and Doppler direction-finding systems. Most hunters claim it's their most enjoyable and exciting activity in amateur radio. If you have never participated in T-hunting (fox hunting), give it a try.

OCRACES Shows Van at OCFA Open House

County of Orange RACES exhibited its emergency communications response vehicle at the Orange County Fire Authority Open House, held at OCFA’s Regional Operations & Training facility in Irvine on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Fran Needham, KJ6UJS, drove the van to and from the event. Other OCRACES members working the event included John Bedford, KF6PRN, Chief Radio Officer Ken Bourne, W6HK, Sue Mickelson, KJ6LCJ, and Tom Tracey, KC6FIC, as well as Applicant Michael Butler, WØMTB. Many visitors toured the van throughout the day.

OCRACES Brings Van to Radio Rodeo

The County of Orange RACES emergency communications response vehicle was used as the communications command post at Radio Rodeo at the Angel’s Stadium parking lot on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. This was the second Radio Rodeo conducted by the California Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (CalSIEC) Southern Planning Area (SPA). Five counties participated, including Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. Each county set up in a central location with individual agencies testing the equipment inside their various mobile communications vehicles. Participating at Angel’s Stadium were the Anaheim Police Department, Anaheim RACES, Huntington Beach Police Department, Huntington Park Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County Animal Care, Orange County Emergency Medical Services, Orange County Public Works, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (Samantha II, RACES Vehicle, Communications Field Support Trailer, OASIS Trailer, and Mobile Incident Command vehicle), Santa Ana Police Department, Tustin Police Department, and Cypress RACES.

From the RACES vehicle, Assistant Director Joe Saddler, WA6PAZ, conducted a roll call of other agencies on public-safety frequencies. Chief Radio Officer Ken Bourne, W6HK, communicated with Radio Officer Harvey Packard, KM6BV, in Samantha II, with the Anaheim RACES vehicle, and with the Cypress RACES vehicle, and, assisted by Sue Mickelson, KJ6LCJ, and Fran Needham, KJ6UJS, conducted a roll call of off-site RACES units at Riverside County, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, and Ventura County, using the OCRACES 2-meter repeater, three of the UHF repeaters, and the Cactus Intertie linked UHF repeater system. Luna County (New Mexico) RACES also checked in via Cactus.

City/County RACES & MOU Drill Handles Cyber-Attack

A simulated major power outage caused by a cyber-attack was the scenario for the City/County RACES & MOU ACS exercise conducted on Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM. Participating in the exercise were County of Orange RACES and RACES units from the cities of Brea, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach Orange, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Seal Beach, and Westminster. Also participating were the American Red Cross, the Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (HDSCS), and Orange County County SKYWARN. OCRACES members participating from the EOC RACES Room included Chief Radio Officer Ken Bourne, W6HK, Assistant Radio Officer Ernest Fierheller, KG6LXT, Bob McFadden, KK6CUS, Sue Mickelson, KJ6LCJ, Fran Needham, KJ6UJS, and Tom Tracey, KC6FIC. Also at one of the operating positions was OCSD Communications & Technology Division Director Robert Stoffel, KD6DAQ.

OCRACES sent and received messages with all of the participating city and MOU units, using our repeaters for receiving and their repeaters or primary simplex frequencies for sending. The simplex net was conducted from the EOC RACES Room. Several messages were sent and received via Winlink.

OCRACES Participates in SRRU Exercise

OCRACES van was parked next to the Incident Command Post, for easy interfacing with SRRU leaders.

County of Orange RACES participated in the OCSD Search & Rescue Reserve Unit (SRRU) mutual-aid exercise on Sunday, January 15, 2012. Members functioned as the communications dispatchers for the event, operating from the OCRACES emergency communications emergency response vehicle positioned next to the Incident Command Post. The location was east of San Juan Capistrano. The drill scenario was to search for a downed aircraft and victims in the mountain wilderness.

Tom Tracey, KC6FIC, who wrote the communications plan for the exercise and reviewed it with SRRU Capt Steve Riches, N6SOG (who headed the exercise), served as Dispatcher 1. RACES Sgt. Chuck Dolan, KG6UJC, served as Dispatcher 2. Both operated on law-enforcement frequencies on UHF and 800-MHz trunked. RACES Capt. Ken Bourne, W6HK, was the communications unit supervisor, interfacing, along with Tom, with the SRRU leaders. Also assisting was John Bedford, KF6PRN. Tom's communications plan detailed personnel assignments, planned times of major events, and radio channels and their functions. He also prepared various forms such as a check-in list, clue log, incident communications team status chart, and communications log.

Other participants in the drill included the OCSD Aero Squadron Reserve Unit (ASRU), about 70 personnel from San Diego County Search & Rescue, the Civil Air Patrol, and Boy and Girl Scouts (some of whom were dressed as air-crash victims).

RACES Wants You!

Experience the most exciting and rewarding part of amateur radio. Being a RACES member gives you the opportunity to sharpen your operating skills and technical knowledge while volunteering your services in public-safety communications. Get involved in emergency communications now. Click the Contact OCRACES link for more information.

Events Calendar

October 19: 1130-1600
OCRACES van at OCSD Reserve Bureau BBQ, Irvine Lake

October 20: 1900
2 m: Ken Tucker, WF6F
Pager: Ernest Fierheller, KG6LXT

October 27: 1900
2 m/70 cm/6 m/1¼ m: Brian Turner, KI6WZS
Pager: Bob McFadden, KK6CUS

October 27: 2015
Southwest ACS Frequency/Radio Test, OC EOC

November 3: 1900
2 m: Tom Wright, KJ6SPE
Pager: Harvey Packard, KM6BV

November 3: 1930
OCRACES Meeting, 840 N. Eckhoff Street, Suite 104, Orange

November 4: 2000
Communications for ballot transportation from Collection Centers to Vote Tally Center

November 10: 1900
2 m: Jeff Yost, KE7EWG
Pager: Ralph Sbragia, W6CSP

November 10: 1920
Cooperative T-Hunt

November 17: 1900
2 m: Jack Barth, AB6VC
Pager: Ken Bourne, W6HK

November 18
Multi-Agency Regional Radio Interoperability Training Exercise (MARRITE)

November 24: 1900
2 m/70 cm/6 m/1¼ m: John Bedford, KF6PRN
Pager: Jack Barth, AB6VC

December 1: 1830
OCRACES Holiday Dinner

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Ken Bourne, W6HK, Chief Radio Officer, County of Orange (California) RACES
Last Update: October 13, 2014