2007 Culver City Drill.
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2007, Culver City Annual Preparedness Drill

The City of Culver City, California, has its Annual Emergency Preparedness Drill on Dec. 7.  Laura ONeal, KG6ZOM, whos works in Culver City and is a member of the Culver City Amateur Radio Emergency Service (CCARES), was asked to serve as Net Control Operator for Culver City's District 2.  Laura is a LA resident and a neighbor of Dr. Cliff Cheng, WW6CC of the Neighborhood Emergency Radio Project (NERP), www.NERP.myEweb.net.  Dr. Cheng lent his neighbor 3 antennas and set them up.  District 2 has boundaries of Overland Blvd. to the east, south to Ballona Creek, and down Washington Blvd., stopping just before Lincoln Blvd.  Laura, KG6ZOM and District 2's CERT Manager, Tracy Sulkin, KG6VCK, were set-up at District 2's staging area at Veteran's Park at Overland and Culver Blvds. 

After a brief meeting with District Manager Tracy, KG6VCK, the night before the drill, Dec. 6, 2007, Laura, KG6ZOM and Cliff, WW6CC conducted a coverage test.  Two antennas were used, a 5/8ths wave 2 meter vertical mobile antenna on a magnetic mount and a 2 meter beam Cliff was restoring.  The beam at that point was in a 3 element configuration.  District 2 is pie shaped.  The Vet's Park Staging Area is at the crust of the pie. 

The challenge was to establish contact with the Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (NERT) which were going through their immediate neighborhood counting how many house displayed "OK" or "Not Ok" signs in their window.  Tracy set up her command post at Vet's Park picnic tables. There was no elevation for the antennas.  The 5/8ths wave 2 meter whip was on a metal picnic table.  The beam was on a 6 foot high PVC pipe which was manually held and turned.  CCARES designated 144.35 simplex as District 2's frequency.  The NERT Teams were using handheld 2 meters FM transcievers as they walked their NERT areas.   This meant communicating with a moving antenna which is low to the ground while walking in-between houses and other obstacles with distances up to 3 miles away on simplex with a raised freeway, the 405, in-between.   

Laura drove District 2's perimeter.  Cliff operated the base station at Vet's Park.  The 5/8th wave whip was ineffective when Laura drove under the 405 freeway to the westside.  The beam proved more useful.  The beam has wide beamwidth.  The signal was strong no matter which way the beam was pointed.  Only 2 S-units were lost when Cliff pointed the beam away from Laura.  

For the actual drill, Cliff also brought a 2 meter folding J-pole antenna that was just built by Jess Craig, NJ0A who is another LA neighbor.  Cliff gave Laura her choice between 3 gain antennas which she switched back and forth with.  Laura's task was to establish contact with the NERTs and get their report from them.  Tracy was on with the Emergency Operations Center over CCARES' repeater, 447.020.  Cliff helped but did not operate the radio. 

The NERTs on the west side of the 405 freeway were hard to hear.  Relays were encouaged but no relays were made.   There were bleed over problems with District 3 and other stations not in the drill and possibly other radio services and radio frequency souces.  The districts were spaced only 10 kcs apart.   


Photo Above: Laura O’Neal, KG6ZOM, District 2 Net Control Operator, Antonio Morillo and Wayne Scott, KG6FRK, both of the Little Culver Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, Tracy Sulkin, KG6VCK, District 2 Manager, Marty Zisner of Studio Estates Neighborhood Emergency Response Team.  Not pictured, Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., WW6CC, Neighbohood Emergency Radio Project, www.NERP.myEweb.net