Category Archives: Members

Allen Recycles Day

Help Wanted

The City of Allen will be hosting this semi-annual cleanup event at City Hall this Saturday and have called on Allen CERT again to assist with traffic and crowd management. Volunteers will need to arrive at 7:00 AM and the event runs until 2:00 PM or until the line disappears.

This is a fun and face-paced event that is sure to increase your confidence in handling traffic and radio communications. Lunch is also provided: Burgers and hot dogs on the grill!

We need a minimum of 8 (eight) volunteers to pull this off so let’s show the City we can deliver.

Registered Members

  • C.Diltz
  • J.Mascio
  • C.Mascio
  • S.Potter
  • T.Potter

The Rudolph Run is Back!

The end-of-year marathon is back and Allen Parks & Recreation have asked us to return. This year’s marathon takes place on December 1st, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM. We first joined this event last year with the role of monitoring the race course at specified checkpoints and communicating any problems to race course officials. We manage two races: a .5k “fun run” and a 5k that snakes through downtown and up Cedar Drive.

Our role will be similar this year if not expanded. If you are looking to leverage your amateur radio capabilities, this is the event for you. Sign up below to reserve your spot on the team.

Registered Members

  • C.Diltz
  • B.Kilgore
  • N.vdUpwich
  • L.Hardy
  • J.Mascio
  • C.Mascio
  • C.Alvarez
  • A.Alvarez
  • J.Litteral
  • W.Hernandez
  • T.Potter
  • S.Potter
  • R.Perez
  • R.Perez
  • S.Perez
  • G.Campbell
  • C.Smith
  • K.Smith
  • T.Westfall
  • C.King

Allen Christmas Parade

We did it – we are in the parade this year!

The Allen Rotary Club Christmas Parade is scheduled for December 2nd and begins at 2:00 PM. The parade runs through downtown Allen, beginning near First Baptist Church and ending near the Heritage Village. The details for our display are still being worked out but we want a big presence for our first ever participation. Let’s show our community that Allen CERT is here and ready to serve.

If you are interested in representing Allen CERT in this year’s parade, please sign up below and we will include you in necessary communications.

Registered Members

  • C.Diltz
  • B.Kilgore
  • K.Spock
  • T.Ingram
  • W.Ingram

New Events Added

A few exciting volunteer and training opportunities have been added to the CERT calendar! Sign up is enabled below each event detail.

Allen Recycles Day

Nov 3, 0700 – 1300

The City of Allen will be hosting this semi-annual cleanup event at City Hall next month and have called on Allen CERT again to assist with traffic and crowd management.

Rudolph Run

Dec 1, 0600 – 1000

The end-of-year marathon is back and Allen Parks & Recreation have asked us to return. We first joined this event last year with the role of monitoring the race course at specified checkpoints and communicating any problems to race course officials. Our role will be similar this year if not expanded. If you are looking to leverage your amateur radio capabilities, this is the event for you.

Allen Rotary Christmas Parade

Dec 2, 1300 – 1600

We did it – we are in the parade this year! The details are still being worked out but we want a big presence for our first ever participation in Allen’s Christmas Parade. Let’s show our community that Allen CERT is here and ready to serve.

Major Repeater Upgrade

On September 20, 2018, improvements to the N5UIG/CERT repeater were completed which includes new hardware and improved antenna elevation. Initial testing shows a range of at least 10 miles. This is a landmark accomplishment for Allen CERT as we are now able to communicate within, around, and well outside the City of Allen with ease.

Special thanks to Mike Pruden and Chris Smith for assisting with the installation, Dee Miller for doing all of the legwork, and Chief Jon Boyd for championing this initiative.

Please join us in celebration by checking in at the next CERT Net on the first Tuesday of October, 8:30 PM, and every first and third Tuesday of the month.

CERT Team Volunteers Needed for Simulation Day

We are in need of volunteers to assist with execution of the simulation on Saturday, October 27th.   There is a wide variety of roles to fill including, moulage, safety monitor, victim coordination, etc.  Additionally, we can use all the help we can get the evening before for setup.

  • Setup will be Friday 10/26 from 4:30 – 9:00ish – the more people we have the faster that goes.
  • Saturday, we will need volunteers from 6:30 am – 1:00 pm (depending on the roll you perform).  We are flexible if you want to help but need to leave early for personal reasons.

If you are interested in helping out, please email me:  simulation@allentxcert.org.

I am out of the country 9/27 – 10/6 but will acknowledge receipt of your email as soon as possible upon my return.

I look forward to seeing everyone!

Basic Training 2018

Our fall G-317 course kicks off next Thursday evening, September 6th, and continues weekly through October 25th plus a disaster simulation on Saturday, October 27th.

At the end of October, we expect to add 20+ new members to the Allen CERT family. As always, existing members are always welcome to attend any of the classes for refresher training or just to observe/assist.

As a reminder, the sequence of modules has been reordered this year to optimize the learning path. For the full schedule, visit our calendar.

Disaster Simulation

This year our disaster simulation will be held October 27th. We are on track for this to be as big as last year!! Great news for our program!

If you are interested in helping out this year, please reply to the simulation email box below. We will start meeting toward the end of August and meet once a week for an hour ahead of the simulation. The time commitment is not huge, just be aware that the week or two right before the simulation will require a little extra time.

simulation@allentxcert.org

Damage Assessment Recap

Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting meteorology and damage assessment experts Tim Marshall and Carson Eads at Central Fire Station. Their presentation was both intriguing and eye-opening. In Ken Langley’s words:

The training brought together members from the Plano, McKinney and Allen CERT teams to hear Carson Eads and Tim Marshall talk about a real world case study from the 2015 tornadoes in the Dallas area. Tim has a master’s degree in both meteorology and structural engineering which enables him to view storms and storm damage from a unique perspective. Tim stated that building codes require structures to withstand 90 mile per hour wind when measured at 10 meters. These codes have very specific requirements for attaching building to the slabs, securing the 2nd floor of homes and roof construction. However; for economic reasons, many homes and building do not always comply to all the code requirements. Tim and Carson showed numerous examples of small mistakes during construction that may not be detected by an inspector can result in a home or building that while it looks good may not be able to withstand wind forces generated by relatively small wind or tornado events. Once the sheet rock is installed, it becomes very expensive to check or correct the problems.

During our basic training, we are taught that a CERT team should always assess damage before entering a building or home and only enter a structure with light or moderate damage. This training highlighted how a structure may appear to have only light or moderate damage yet due to construction short falls, would be unsafe to enter.

The big takeaway from this training was; if your team decides to enter a damaged structure, be very cautious to not step on or move building materials that may be supporting walls or other parts of the structure.

A big thanks to Carson and Tim for sharing their expertise, to Plano and McKinney CERT for joining us, and to Ken Langley for organizing the event.

100 Deadly Skills for a Disaster

Pick up some tips & tricks, and meet a celebrity!

Plano CERT is hosting the one-and-only Clint Emerson on October 16th, 6:30 PM, at the Plano OEM, and they have extended the invitation to Allen CERT.

Clint Emerson is a Navy Seal, business owner, best-selling author, and survival instructor. His book, 100 Deadly Skills was on the New York Times Best Seller list and he travels the world teaching everyday folks how to increase their chances of surviving the worst day of their lives.

He is visiting Plano CERT to share, what he calls, “100 Deadly Skills in a Disaster”.

Space Is Limited

…so register now by emailing Judith Aubrey at juditha@plano.gov with the following information:

  • First and Last Name
  • Jurisdiction (Allen CERT)

 

Easy DIY Scanner for $100

Monitor Fire/Police Radio

For those of you who are interested in being able to monitor Fire/Police radio channels on the new Plano P25 Phase 2 radio system, we have identified a cost effective way to accomplish this using a Raspberry Pi  3 Model 3+ Linux computer system, with a  RTL-SDR software defined radio receiver and a very simple internal antenna.  The total cost for these components should be approximately $100.00.  The needed items can be purchased via the Internet  (Amazon Prime).  Once you have purchased the items listed in the package below, we can assist you in programming the micro SD memory card, used by the Raspberry Pi.  The configuration will allow you to monitor any unencrypted Police/Fire radio channel operating on the Plano PAWM (Plano, Allen, Wiley, Murphy) radio system you may be interested in.

The Parts

We have assembled a recommended parts list for your convenience. All of the items can be purchased on Amazon so if you have a Prime membership, you can be up and running in less than a week.

Click here for the full list

Image
Item
Price (as of 8/24/18)
RTL-SDR Software Defined Radio and Antenna bundle $27.95
Raspberry Pi 3, with case and power supply $49.99
Micro-SD card, 32 GB, with adapter $9.69
Portable Bluetooth speaker with aux-in $12.99
3.5 mm audio cable $4.99
Total Cost $105.61

The speaker, audio cable and micro-SD card can be swapped out at your preference, or replaced with items you already have at home.

Setup

Once you have the parts, contact Mike Pruden for assistance with configuring the Raspberry Pi to receive and decode the radio transmissions. With this setup, you simply power on the system and start listening!