Sep 5

Conducted : AUGUST 29, 2009
Written by: Bob Hejl – W2IK – W5BOG – NNN0KSI – NNN0GBY2 NMC MARS STX ECOM 
Report Released: September 4, 2009

The joint exercise as conducted by Navy-Marine Corps MARS, REACT and Bexar Operators Group on August 29, 2009 also encompassed other groups who wished to test inter-service communications during the scenario of a hurricane hitting the Texas gulf coast just north of Corpus Christi.

These other groups included / covered:

  • Guadalupe County OEM
  • Hays County Sheriff’s Office
  • Caldwell County EOC
  • San Marcos Police Department
  • Nueces County EOC
  • National Weather Service – Corpus Christi
  • National Weather Service – New Braunfels
  • Central Texas Medical Center
  • Chaparral Amateur Radio Club
  • Hays/Caldwell Hams Amateur Radio Club
  • Hays/Caldwell ARES Guadalupe VOAD
  • Lockhart Police Department
  • Driscoll Children’s Hospital – Corpus Christi
  • One Army MARS Station
  • Guadalupe Valley Amateur Radio Club (provided the VHF repeater)

If we left out any additional groups who participated, please contact us with the proper details. – Bob

We were testing out the MOU’s between REACT and NMC MARS as well as intercommunication skills. The exercise began at 11 AM local time with three phases: Pre-Land Fall (testing evacuation communications) , Land Fall (testing up to date weather conditions and storm damage) and Post Land Fall (evacuees returning to their homes, damage assessment, etc) In the spirit of cohesiveness, the operation was a success.

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Aug 29

On Saturday, August 29th, there were a few of us who got up when the chickens did, to get our radios and portable antennas ready for a South Texas Hurricane Drill.    Some operators chose locations that were pre-set up and air conditioned, others like me chose to “rough it” in the great outdoors without any AC.   Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated and it didn’t storm on us, nor did it get as hot as recent days.   My van’s thermometer (sitting out there in the sun on black asphalt) got up to 102, but it wasn’t that hot inside our very shaded shelter area.  We should have brought a box fan with us, but we didn’t think about that until we were already there and set up.

Hill Country REACT Team was tasked with staffing the state rest area located on west bound IH-10 at the 619 mile marker.  To convert that description into plain English, this was the last major rest stop on IH-10 for folks coming west from Houston or the coast, prior to Seguin or even San Antonio, TX.  This rest stop has been used in previous (actual) evacuations to monitor traffic flow on the interstate, so that emergency officials (primarly in San Antonio) could be given advance notice of mass arrivals.    We only truly needed to run 2 meters VHF capability here, but we experimented with a couple of HF antennas as well.

Today, three members (Lee N5NTG, Gary K5GST, Ray KE5KHN) of our REACT Team set up as part of a much larger drill, a drill that saw at least 2 ARES groups, our REACT Team, the Bexar Operators Group, South TX Navy-Marine Corps MARS, an Army MARS station, 2 National Weather Service Offices, multiple county EOC’s both near SA and down by the coast, etc.

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Aug 23

In a recent posting by W2IK, the upcoming drill on Saturday, August 29th, was discussed in rather general terms.   Since that time, we’ve increased the scope of this event somewhat.    We’ve added one ARES group (Hayes / Caldwell County) to the mix, and have room for more if other groups want to  participate.

The event will only last 3 hours of radio time (11am – 2pm Saturday), compressing several days into 3 hours.  What fun!   We’ll be using local VHF freqs for operations near SA and another freq for local CC comm, plus a 40 meters net for the group, and MARS’s HF freq for their internal operations.  We’ll be using the NWS office in New Braunfels KD5UMW and Drisocoll Childrens Hospital W5DCH as net controls.

Event:  Hurricane “Albert” is expected to make landfall just north of Corpus with maximum winds at 130 mph.

  • Hour 1 – Pre-Landfall – evacuation of residents in coastal cities in path of storm. Problems with evac routes and major side routes.  Status of Shelter fill rates, etc.
  • Hour 2 – Landfall – Loss of power, high winds, property damage noticed, major flooding and high surf conditions.  Problems with evac routes and major side routes.  Status of Shelter fill rates, etc.
  • Hour 3 – Post-Landfall – Sending in teams to evaluate damage, return residents, status of evac routes being returned to normal use, power failures in area, comm failures in area due to towers blown or power failures, etc.  Wrap up.

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Jun 29

July4th_dancing_hatHill Country REACT will be coordinating the annual 4th of July parade up at Startzville, TX, on the south side of Canyon Lake again this year.    Hams from any club are welcome to participate, you do not need to be a REACT member in order to volunteer to work this event.  Some members of REACT, GVARC and Hayes Caldwell ARES are already scheduled for this event.  

Parade line-up starts around 9am, but we need to be in place before then. The parade usually starts at 11am, once the Confederate Air Force completes their traditional annual fly-over.  Clean your car / truck / suv / RV / mini-van / motorcycle and be ready to jump in line at the back of the parade after the staging area clears. 

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