2002 Cupertino Art and Wine Festival

Here’s a summary on CARES participation during the Cupertino 2002 Art and Wine Festival.

The A&WF began Saturday morning bright and early with Andy W9BJX and Vince K6TEN beginning to set up shop.  Once again, CARES, along with some of the other Emergency Services organizations, had a great location.  We faced the rest of the fair located along a well traveled isle, had good booth neighbors (County Sheriff and County Fire on one side, Marsha KG6CYV and the CERT team on the other), and had trees for shade!  All in all, it was a terrific location!

The booth looked great!  Instead of the table across the front, we created an open space that definitely was more inviting, as well as gave us a chance to show off some of the tools of our trade.  Vince K6TEN had our NCS portable radio set up and received plenty of complements on its appearance and operation. 

We created an open space with interesting things to look at

Kurt N6OLQ updated the display board and positioned it on the opposite table.  Andy W9BJX brought his HF/VHF radio and had it tuned to some of the local repeaters.  With pamphlets and logs in place, we were open for business.

We had plenty of visitor traffic over both days.  The nice thing about this event was getting a chance to talk to some of the people we would serve in the event we are ever called out.  Some visitors were curious about who we were, wanted to know what we do, and some actually had heard of us before!  Several CARES members talked about CARES and Ham Radio, and filled in the details since the last time a visitor may have checked into getting their Ham Radio license.  Many visitors remembered there was a requirement for Morse Code and were surprised that it was no longer required to get into the hobby.

This year’s event was also filled with several firsts:  Saturday, CARES participated in the County Drill with urban wild fires raging all around us.  On Sunday, we offered radio checks to all CARES members who checked in.  We attempted an ATV demo, and originated and transmitted 6 messages into the National Traffic System. 

During the Urban Wild Fire Drill, Ken KR6CO monitors the CARES frequency, Bryn N6UZW is our liaison to County Command 2 on her HT, and Janet KF6PUQ monitors County Command 1

The purpose of the Drill was to practice message handling and exercise the Packet system.  Because of the distractions of the fair, we kept our traffic to a minimum and elected to talk about the drill and how we respond to our visitors.  The drill scenario was supposed to be a wildfire occurring in each city.  Luckily for Cupertino, we were spared this month!  However, at the request of County EOC, we did originate lots of packet traffic to support their test of the County BBS’ reliability.  From our vantage point, the packet BBS system looked good!

After setting up again on Sunday, the first order of business was radio checks.  Andy W9BJX called for member stations to check in and verify that their radios and PL were set up correctly.  This turned out to be very worthwhile and those who participated gained a renewed appreciation and a better understanding of their radios.

We also tried a range check for the Portable ATV system.  The good news: Jake KG6GRK walked all around the fair and, at one point, was over 250 feet away with plenty of obstacles in-between.  The signal was very readable throughout the test.  Now the bad news:  the camera failed on us… no video image, only the data screen was visible.  We will need to replace the camcorder prior to completing the system commissioning (any good used cameras out there?!?).

Lastly, we initiated and transmitted 6 messages into the NTS net.  NTS is the National Traffic System for moving messages throughout the country by Ham Radio.  While email and the internet are the modern day equivalent, I believe the real power of NTS will be realized when an area finds itself cut off from the outside world because of some natural or manmade disaster.  We are also checking to see if there is a need for NTS in supporting the CARES mission… stay tuned. 

Around Sunday 1:00pm, Pink Foster KG6ILA (AEC Mountain View) came on the SVECS repeater where we transmitted (and she received) all of our messages following the standard NTS message format.  Later that evening, I heard Pink check into the Northern California VHF Traffic Net (145.210-) and pass our messages onto the Region 6 Net.  Thanks Pink, for the assist!

All in all, it was a good two days.  As always, we learned a lot, what to bring and not bring, what worked and didn’t work, and what we should do next time. 

Speaking of next time, we may be invited to participate in the Cupertino Oktoberfest!  Marsha is checking into it. 

Thanks again to all members who helped with setup, tear down and taking a shift.  The following members participated in the event.

Al  K6AB
Andy  W9BJX
Ken  KR6CO
Jake  KG6GRK
Jim  KN6PE
Janet  KF6PUQ
Vince  K6TEN
Stuart  KF6RZR
Andrew  KG6HAG
Alf  K6TWF
Bill  KD6TQJ
Bob  KD6US
Bryn  N1UZW

Last but not least, special thanks to Andy W9BJX for not only organizing the event on our behalf, but also working with the city to actually make sure it really happened! 

Check out other pictures from this event here.