County of Orange (California)
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service

Orange County Sheriff's Department
Emergency Management Division

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County of Orange RACES, an auxiliary communications unit of the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD), is coordinated by OCSD's Emergency Management Division. Members 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 Emergency Operations Center (EOC), or between public-safety agencies and critical locations, and reports conditions from the field to the EOC or Command Post.

OCRACES Meetings and Outside Group Activities Canceled

Because of the COVID-19 emergency, all OCRACES outside group activities have been canceled until further notice. OCRACES meetings will be held online on first Mondays at 7:30 PM. Monday night 2-meter nets at 7:00 PM and Saturday morning 60-meter nets at 10:00 AM will continue. No RACES members are to enter the Loma Ridge facility at this time, nor engage in any RACES activities outside the home.

Websites with COVID-19 Information

The Orange County Health Care Agency website at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com has information that is regularly updated regarding the status of COVID-19 in Orange County.  A good site to monitor for the latest Orange County COVID-19 news is https://www.ocgov.com.

For information about COVID-19 in the state of California, visit https://covid19.ca.gov. That site emphasizes that if you have any symptoms or are at risk, it’s especially important to stay home and avoid in-person contact with others.

The White House, CDC, and FEMA have an informative website at https://www.coronavirus.gov. You can also visit https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus.

FEMA has a website at https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control to help you distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the pandemic.

Sign up for County of Orange AlertOC COVID-19 updates to your smartphone. Text “OCCOVID19” to 888777.

Great ShakeOut Drill Held on October 15, 2020

OCRACES conducted an earthquake drill during the Great California ShakeOut on Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 1000 to 1100 hours. The drill allowed participants to practice reporting observed earthquake intensity using the Modified Mercalli Earthquake Intensity Scale. Net control (OCRACES Chief Radio Officer Ken Bourne, W6HK) asked participants to give their “Mike-Mike” reports on the 146.895 MHz repeater and on 60 meters channel 4, which is 5371.5 kHz USB (dial frequency).

A total of 30 County and City RACES and MOU members participated in this ShakeOut drill on 2 meters and five on 60 meters, all with simulated “Mike-Mike” reports. OCRACES members on 2 meters included Randy Benicky, N6PRL (Rancho Santa Margarita), Ken Bourne, W6HK (net control in Orange), Tony Scalpi, N2VAJ (Orange), and Robert Stoffel, KD6DAQ (Fullerton). City RACES and MOU stations checking in and reporting on 2 meters included KJ6AOX (Laguna Niguel), KN6AVU (Placentia), KE6BNS (Huntington Beach), KF6BRC (Aliso Viejo), KG6CAV (Placentia), KB6CMO (Fullerton), KN6CVB (Laguna Woods), W6EDT (Mission Viejo), K6EEE (Laguna Woods), K6GAT (Huntington Beach), K6HIV (Rancho Santa Margarita), K6HMS (Huntington Beach), N6HVC (Westminster), AF6II (Garden Grove), KB6JOE (Huntington Beach), KE6KZR (Irvine), N6NQN (Fountain Valley), KK6OEX (Fountain Valley), KJ6PFW (Costa Mesa), KM6RSY (Rossmoor), WA6RUZ (Mission Viejo), KE6TM (Dana Point), KK6URR (Laguna Niguel), WB6VEM (Laguna Niguel), K6WHC (Mission Viejo), and KG6WTQ (Anaheim). The five stations on 60 meters included W6EDT (Mission Viejo), W6HK (net control in Orange), WB6NOA (Costa Mesa), K6PB (Irvine), and WA6DNT (Red Cross in San Diego).

Several City RACES units ran their own earthquake drills on October 15th, and so did Cal OES CRU, using the Cactus Radio Network. The California Rescue Communications 7250 kHz net commenced operations at 1030 hours, with 27 check-ins (Bay Area, local, Arizona, and Utah) with their MM reports.

Portable Simplex Drill Conducted on October 3, 2020

On Saturday, October 3, 2020, from 0900 to 1100 hours, we conducted a successful and enjoyable portable simplex drill as our annual first-Saturday-in-October City/County RACES & MOU ACS Exercise. City and County RACES and MOU members set up portable stations on their home property, since the COVID-19 pandemic prevented us from having any RACES activities outside our home property. We simulated that all repeaters had failed and conducted this drill on simplex frequencies and on 60 meters. During the first 15 minutes (beginning at 1900 hours), City RACES units and MOUs called a roll of their members on their primary simplex frequencies, while OCRACES net control (Chief Radio Officer Ken Bourne, W6HK) called the roll of its members on the OCRACES primary simplex frequency of 146.595 MHz. Beginning at 0915, the Chief Radio Officers or coordinators (or a designated member) of the City RACES units and MOUs moved over to 146.595 MHz and responded to a City/MOU roll call by OCRACES net control, with a report of how many of their members checked in on their primary simplex frequencies. Relay stations (especially Gordon West, WB6NOA, in Costa Mesa and others) assisted OCRACES net control in covering Cities in South County on 146.595 MHz.

Beginning at 1000 hours, Ken incorporated the Portable Drill into the normal Saturday morning 60-meter OCRACES ACS net on 5371.5 kHz USB (“channel 4” dial frequency). This net covers the 11 counties in the Cal OES Southern Region plus northern Arizona and southern Nevada. After calling the regular Saturday roll call of Orange County City and County RACES stations, net control stood by for additional RACES and MOU stations in Orange County. Relay stations such as WB6NOA in Costa Mesa and W6CAW in Campo (near the Mexican border), and N6WIX in Ventura assisted net control for covering various areas of Orange County. Net control then called the normal Saturday roll of RACES/ACS stations outside Orange County, followed by the non-EmComm stations.

On the 2-meter OCRACES roll call from 0900-0915 hours, OCRACES members checking in included KD6DAQ, WF6F (relayed by WB6NOA), W6HK (net control), N6PRL (relayed by WB6NOA), N2VAJ, and AB6VC. From 0915 to 0955 hours, City RACES and MOU units checking in included (by designated call sign and number of their check-ins on their primary simplex frequencies): Anaheim (KW6ACK—1), Brea (WB6DNX—6), Costa Mesa (KM6UJD—22), Cypress (KK6REB—5), Fountain Valley (WA6FV, relayed by WB6NOA—5), Fullerton (K6FUL—5), Huntington Beach (W6HBR and K6GAT—19), Irvine (KE6KYH—21), Laguna Niguel (WB6CKG—7), Laguna Woods (NH7WG—7), Los Alamitos (KM6RSY—16), Mission Viejo (W6EDT—9), Newport Beach (KB6FW and KM6JON—8), Orange (KG6MIG—13), Placentia (KG6CAV—6), Seal Beach (KM6RSY—16), Westminster (N6HVC, relayed by WB6NOA—5), American Red Cross (K6HMS and KK6YUP—5), OCHEART (KM6RSY—3), and Orange County SKYWARN (KK6YUP—4). Two OCRACES applicants also checked in—W6EIF and KK6HFS. Other 2-meter check-ins included WD6AJR (visitor), K6FTL (OCHEART), KB6KPK (visitor), K6BS (visitor), N6NQN (Fountain Valley RACES), and W6ONT (Cypress RACES).

On the 60-meter roll call from 1000 to 1100 hours, OCRACES members checking included WF6F, W6HK (net control), N6PRL (relayed by WB6NOA), and N2VAJ. Stations checking in from City RACES units included Anaheim KW6ACK), Brea (AI6ZN), Costa Mesa (WB6NOA), Cypress (W6ONT), Fountain Valley (KD6JBL), Huntington Beach (KJ6CM and W6HBR), Irvine (K6PB), Laguna Woods (K6EEE and NH7WG), Mission Viejo (W6EDT and N6JCN), Newport Beach (NI6E, KB6FW, K6GSX, and KM6JON), and Orange (KG6MIG and N0VNJ). Other RACES/EmComm check-ins included Cal OES CRU (W6GMU in Cypress and W6CAW in Campo, near the Mexican border), Ventura County ACS (N6WIX in Ventura), and Nye County (Nevada) EmComm (KE7KHE in Pahrump). Non-RACES/EmComm check-ins on 60 meters included WD6AJR and KB6KPK in Orange, WA6NFE near Escondido, K6ORJ mobile in Fresno, and W6YLD in Santa Maria.

Total participants during the first hour in the City and MOU primary simplex and County simplex nets was 196. During the second hour, the total participants on 60 meters was 31.

RACES Runs Portable Drill on May 2, 2020

A City/County RACES & MOU Portable Drill was held on Saturday, May 2, 2020. Because RACES activities outside home property were prohibited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most participants operated portable stations from their backyards, using battery power and portable antennas. OCRACES Chief Radio Officer Ken Bourne, W6HK, was net control, operating from his home station in Orange. The drill simulated that the OCRACES repeaters were down, and had two segments, the first hour on 2 meters simplex and the second hour on 60 meters upper sideband, "channel 4."

Ken began the Portable Drill on 2 meters simplex at 0900 hours by calling for check-ins from cities in alphabetical order, then from MOUs, and finally from OCRACES members. Relay stations were assigned, to enable handheld and other low-power stations to check in. Participating units (members) on 2 meters included OCRACES (9), Brea RACES (3), Costa Mesa RACES (8), Cypress RACES (1), Fountain Valley RACES (2), Huntington Beach RACES (3), Irvine RACES (7), Laguna Niguel ACS (6), Laguna Woods RACES (3), Los Alamitos RACES (1), Mission Viejo RACES (8), Newport Beach RACES (3), Orange RACES (3), Placentia RACES (1), Westminster RACES (1), American Red Cross (2), and OCHEART (9).

Beginning at 1000 hours, Ken incorporated the Portable Drill into the normal Saturday morning 60-meter OCRACES ACS net. Portable stations typically used Hamstick dipoles and end-fed wires, and ran on battery power. Participating units (members) on 60 meters included OCRACES (5), Brea RACES (1), Costa Mesa RACES (1), Cypress RACES (1), Irvine RACES (1), Laguna Woods RACES (1), Mission Viejo RACES (1), Newport Beach RACES (5), Orange RACES (2), Cal OES CRU (2), OCHEART (2), Ventura County ACS (1) Nye County NV EmComm (1), and non-EmComm stations (4).

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

July 24: 1000 hours
60 m channel 4

July 26: 1900 hours
2 m/70 cm/1¼ m/6 m:
Ken Tucker, WF6F

July 31: 1000 hours
60 m channel 4

August 2: 1900 hours
2 m: Jack Barth, AB6VC

August 2: 1930 hours
OCRACES Online Meeting

August 7: 1000 hours
60 m channel 4

August 9: 1900 hours
2 m: Randy Benicky, N6PRL

August 14: 1000 hours
60 m channel 4

August 16: 1900 hours
2 m: Ken Bourne, W6HK

August 21: 1000 hours
60 m channel 4

August 23: 1900 hours
2 m/70 cm/1¼ m/6 m:
Scott Byington, KC6MMF

August 28: 1000 hours
60 m channel 4

August 30: 1900 hours
2 m: Ernest Fierheller, KG6LXT