News release 3/12/2012
Lake County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Provides Radio Communications for
On March 10, 2012 the Lake County Amateur Radio Emergency Service provided ham radio communications in support of “Ibini Tera”, an old Indian phrase loosely translated as “clean water”. The lake clean up project is run by the St Johns Water Management District and the Lake County Water Authority in Florida.
This is a “clean up our lakes” event that takes place each year for which many volunteers from all over Lake County turn out to gather up trash bags and walk the shores of the county’s larger lakes picking up cans, bottles, plastic bags, old tires and anything else they see that should not be there. This year we had 175 volunteers who managed to collect 5000 pounds of trash from ten different collection sites. Some of the volunteers bring along their boats and patrol the lakes looking for floating objects that could be hazards to navigation. On this day a large telephone pole was found by one of the boaters. In the past such things as a sofa and a partially submerged boat were found.
The Hickory Point Recreational Facility on Lake Harris was the focal point of this activity and where the Lake County ARES hams setup their net control station. All radio transmissions were conducted on 2 meters on a frequency of 147.000 Mhz. The members operated from mobile rigs or used hand- helds. This covered the county very well.
Results from the separate cleanup sites at each lake were radioed to the ARES net control station N4FLA and tallied up so that awards could be given out by noon time. Awards such as who found the largest object, what was the most unusual object found, who was the oldest and the youngest volunteer are just a few of the awards handed out.
This year the Lake County ARES group fielded thirteen volunteers with a radio operator at each site and three at the net control station to handle the radio traffic and help tally the collection results. This is considered a practice session by the ARES operators for those times when they may be called upon to provide emergency communications during natural or man made disasters. When hurricanes and tornados blow down power and telephone lines they will be ready to assist first responders with portable and mobile radio communications. In the not too distant past hams from Lake County have been deployed to man emergency shelters and National Guard staging areas in order to provide communications back to the Lake County Emergency Operations Center in Tavares, Florida.
John T Luebbers
Lake County ARES PIO