It was a quick checkin on the W6SF repeater from Folsom, CA today. In participation with The 2017 International ShakeOut Day, today Oct. 19, 2017 at 10:19am, we had a QST to check in to the drill. Most checkins had “no damage” but there could have been mock damage appended with “this is a drill” at the end of the transmission.

Hitting the 147.165+ repeater (located by Fiddletown, CA some 30 miles away) from Folsom was difficult on my 5 maximum watts with mobile-mount antenna in a business parking lot. My radio tests 10 minutes before the drill got reports back of “no copy” with lots of noise, low audio. I had to drive around a bit to find a higher vantage point to hit the Sierras on my limited QRP.

The whole drill was quick, lasting only about 7 minutes. It was great to participate.

“Kilo Foxtrot Six Uniform Juliet Sierra, Folsom, No damage.”

“Acknowledging KF6UJS in Folsom, no damage.”

More final calls for checkins then that was it! The end was a recorded announcement and NZ6Q closed the drill and returned the repeater to normal operation. (Apologies, I only managed to record the end, was too distracted.)

This exercise got me to thinking about what I need for a truly portable EMCOMM rig. A simple mag-mount fixed antenna, and especially with low watt HT (without charger, no less!), is hardly sufficient for the pockets of the valley. I might need to look into a dedicated portable mobile rig that can bump up the tx power, and an antenna that I can raise (e.g. foldable that can deploy on a stand) for clearer more reliable communications.

So if I were stuck at the office during a catastrophe, I think I’d have to resort to other closer repeaters to reach out– and miss out on my own club’s traffic until I could move to a different location. Stuff to think about and plan for.

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