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KE5TYI Tin Can Reveals Strengths, Weaknesses

The Pecos Valley Amateur Radio Club and Chaves County ARES conducted an exercise on Saturday, October the 26th which was named after and dedicated to long time club member Phyllis Sherwoord.

Dubbed the KE5TYI Tin Can, the purpose of the exercise was to determine if communications could be established between the W5ZU station and key emergency locations in Roswell. Sites were chosen based on their likelihood of being used as emergency shelters or other locations where the club, if activated, might need to deploy.

Tactical teams were assigned and dispatched to the various sites where they attempted to make contact with W5ZU via simplex and repeater with both HT and Mobile radios. All sites were activated in under one hour. Teams returned to W5ZU for debrief by 0930. Results were encouraging. HT simplex was effective for about 80% of the sites. Mobile simplex was 100% effective as was HT and Mobile via repeater. This means that during an emergency we could effectively communicate via simplex from all of the selected sites, leaving the repeaters for other purposes provided they were unaffected by real world conditions.

Jay King, (W2AFE), left, was instrumental in spearheading Tin Can. Bob Tucker, (KK5RT), right.

As always, exercises are on opportunity to learn from mistakes and to determine what worked well and what improvements can be made for future exercises and real emergency situations. Here are some observations that were made;

- Keep batteries charged

- Juggling radios to operate multiple frequencies is troublesome. Better to have one radio per operator and if multiple frequencies are to be used to have a dual band or dual watch radio.

- Know how to program frequencies or have crib sheet or radio manual available.

- Driving across town, under normal conditions, takes time. In an emergency, it will take even longer. Emergency plans need to accommodate sufficient time to get to an assigned location.

- Coordination of the teams would have been better if we had used one of the local repeaters as a “resource net”, with the team using the repeater to report in the NCS when they were on site or of any important news.

The Pecos Valley Amateur Radio Club intends to hold similar events in the near future while implementing additional modes and techniques to better prepare for possible scenarios. Thanks to all who participated.

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