Comm Academy Announcement
First, thank you for your support, interest, and willingness to grow with us! Without your continued attendance, financial support, and volunteer efforts the event programs we have offered would not have been possible.
As you know, however, we had to cancel the 2020 in-person event. The Communications Academy leadership has used the challenges of 2020 to review how we can best preserve the direction and focus of our event while restricted by the pandemic. Our first task has been to review how we can provide an outstanding online presence that will engage all of you with great content and an opportunity for all of us to connect throughout the year.
The annual event has continued to evolve by presenting keynotes and seminar tracks that engage beginners, intermediate and advanced users in technologies, served agency support, volunteer management, self-preparedness, and how volunteer and professional communications are used, adapted and improved. All of that will be true of our 2021 virtual Comm Academy. What’s more, as an online event, we will have an unprecedented ability to connect folks from anywhere in the country—or the world!
While we’re not ready to publish the agenda of presentations yet, you can still check out the new website, and if you’re on social media, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and invite your followers to do the same. And while you’re looking at the site—please go ahead and pre-register! We’ll save a spot for you, and keep you informed as the event takes shape.
A name change seemed to be in order reflecting our new approach with our website. The Communications Academy will now be known as The Comm Academy. We all have called it that for years, so why not make it official?
Comm Academy 2021 is currently planned for April 10th and 11th, 2021. More details will be available after January 1st, but hold the dates!
In closing, we are excited to move forward to continue the tradition of Comm Academy. Your engagement, feedback and support are welcome as we look to 2021 and beyond.
Next Seattle ACS Meeting: Saturday, Nov 14
Please join us for our next regularly scheduled (virtual) meeting, Saturday, November 14, from 9AM to 12PM. Topics will include:
A presentation by Randy, W3RWN, on the recent Oregon emergency communications response, restoring connectivity to areas where it had been knocked out by wildfires
A presentation by John, WA7UAR, on MARS (the Military Auxiliary Radio Service, not the planet!)
Updates on our various systems, partner groups, and activities
Sector breakouts and reports
Despite covid-19 and social distancing having a continued dampening effect on face to face events, ACS continues to hold regular meetings over video conferencing. A benefit of this is that members now have access to recorded sessions. If you missed the meeting or just wanted to review part of it, we will be archiving those videos on our members resource site.
Oregon Internet Response
One of our own members (Randy Neal) was part of the successful effort to bring parts of rural Oregon back online after devastating wild fires. Read coverage of this here. An amazing story with a great outcome.
Our new Seattle ACS public website has launched (if you are reading this, you're on it!) and we have a companion members-only site that's been active for several weeks now.
Great Washington Shakeout
ACS ran an impromptu member check-in net on the 15th as part of the Great Washington Shakeout.
Kicking off CommAcademy Planning
ACS members are contributing to kicking off the the CommAcademy conference planning and preparation for 2021. The event will be virtual this year.
Magnolia Radio Site Upgrade
Our own COM-T team lead by Doug Kingston KD7DK has been upgrading the Magnolia radio site with help from the city. A new HamWAN connection has been deployed there with multiple zones of coverage. Additionally, a PSRG receiver has been installed there as part of PSRG's voter system. An AllStar node was added to the 440 unit at this site, allowing AllStar linkage (AllStar connectivity was also recently added to the Lake Forest Park and Beacon 2 sites and there are plans to add AllStar to the West Crest node as well).
North Seattle College
ACS is preparing to upgrade the station at North Seattle College. Battery backup and other equipment (including HamWAN) is being collected in preparation for installation. All radios are and remain operational and have been updated to the current ACS 217.
Our September ACS meeting and training will held on-line Saturday, September 12th from 9 am until Noon – checkin begins at 8:40 see your email for Zoom link and the agenda.
OEM/ACS Exercise with Seattle Fire
ACS will practice sending damage assessment messages to the EOC to be delivered to Seattle Fire during the Fire Department’s annual windshield damage assessment exercise scheduled for September 22 – 25.
Our August ACS meeting (via Zoom) is Saturday, August 8th from 9 am to Noon – checkin begins at 8:40 AM see your email for link and agenda
Field Day 2020
Due to the requirements of social distancing we will not be able to conduct the traditional urban Field Day enjoyed over the past many years at South Seattle College. The West Seattle ARC, PSRG and Seattle ACS are working together to conduct a Field Day from our home locations. See slides prepared by Tim Helming from the June 23 at Field Day planning session to learn more about our plans and Field Day operating guidelines. Also see information about the event on the PSRG Field Day web page.
FLDIGI Beginners Training
Join us Saturday June 20th 1 to 3 PM for a basic orientation and get started with FLDIGI. Training will be conducted by Carl Leon, N7KUW. See your email for instructions for joining our on-line training session.
June ACS Meeting
The Seattle ACS Team is holding its monthly meeting via Zoom this coming Saturday, June 13th, starting at 9:00 a.m. We will run to approximately noon.
Here is the agenda/outline for the meeting:
9 to 10 Introductions, general topics and working group reports
10 to 11 Review of May 23 exercise, lessons learned and what is next
11 to 12 Review of ACS support to Seattle EOC during recent activations
Please check your email for the recent meeting reminder which contations Zoom login information – see you Saturdeay; by the way – this is our first ever June ACS meeting.
Check your email for a meeting reminder with Zoom login information – see you Saturday; by the way – this is our first ever June ACS meeting……
May ACS Team Meeting – Saturday May 16
We will be holding our monthly ACS meeting via Zoom starting at 9 am, check in beginning at 8:45 and ending no later than noon. The link to the meeting will be sent out by email.
Following our normal round of introductions and committee reports, we will have a presentation by Doug Kingston on recent changes to the Seattle DMR system, including moving to our own C-Bridge, and a variety of talk group changes. We will have information from our exercise planning team on the exercise planned for May 23rd, and we will have information on an updated temporary emergency worker policy and guidelines on when, why, and how to register temporary emergency workers.
Please join us as we continue to provide necessary information sharing while maintaining required and acceptable social distancing.
ACS Communications Exercise – Saturday May 23
The Seattle ACS team will be conducting an exercise to further practice our communications role during a major earthquake that causes significant damage to our infrastruce and transportation network. The exercise plan will be sector based and work to support the City’s plan to address the isolation phase immediately folowing a catostophic event. The drill will be conducted in compliance with our current social distancing requirments, all operations will take place in particpants homes or vehicles parked at their homes. The exercise plan and instructions will be distributed as we approach the date of the exercise.
Information about COVID-19 – links:
Seattle Resources – Mayor’s Office http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19
Washington State Department of Health’s Coronavirus 2019 outbreak information webpage
Public Health – Seattle & King County COVID-19 Information Daily updates: www.kingcounty.gov/covid Blog – updated daily: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/news/2020/March.aspx
ACS will conduct an on-line meeting on Saturday March 14th at 10 AM – see your email for details.
Meeting and Training Cancellations:
Due to the presence of the novel coronavirus in our area, Seattle ACS is cancelling the March 14th Team meeting at North Seattle College as well as the Audio-Visual training on Sunday March 15th at the Seattle EOC. We believe that these cautions are necessary and consistent with advised practices for reducing opportunities for the spread of this contagious disease. We will keep you posted as we learn of changes to other scheduled events.
ACS Meeting – Join us Saturday, February 8th for the ACS monthly meeting and training. Coffee at 8:30 AM, meeting begins at 9:00 AM, Location: Room 206, Olympic Hall, South Seattle College, Directions to campus. and Campus Map.
Our guest speaker will be Lucia Schmit, Emergency Planning Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management. Lucia will be discussing the planning work she has led in helping the City prepare for a catastrophic earthquake, she will talk about the impacts to our City and what we need to do to prepare and respond. This information is essential to how we frame our sector strategy and carry out our mission. Following her presentation will be a discussion of our new sector plan and then a Sector leadership meeting.
Oregon ACES class – Seattle ACS is sponsoring and conducting the two-day OregonACES basic EmComm class on the weekend of February 22-23, 2020. The class will be held in Olympic Hall of South Seattle College, 6000 16th Ave S.W., Seattle WA 98106. To register for the class, please visit www.oregonaces.org and select the Seattle class for those dates. Cost is $25 per student which covers books and materials. For more information, please visit www.oregonaces.org
Seattle ACS New Member Orientation – Seattle ACS will conduct a New Member Orientation the evening of February 12th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, at the Seattle Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 105 5th Ave S., Seattle, WA. The EOC is at the intersection of 5th Ave S. and S. Washington Street, and the entrance is on 5th Ave just north of Washington. This is a secure facility so please arrive a few minutes early for entrance. The orientation is a requirement for new ACS members (you must attend one, it doesn’t have to be this specific one). Potential/interested ACS members are welcome to attend, as are all current ACS members.
Hands-On DMR class – Seattle ACS will conduct a hands-on DMR class to help members install a functioning code plug (radio programming), learn more about how to build and modify a code plug, and learn how to use DMR both on a local repeater only, and via talk groups that are linked across multiple repeaters. Assistance may also be available for setting up and operating a hotspot. The class is scheduled for Saturday February 15th, 9:00 am until 3:00 pm and will be located at North Seattle College, room number and hours to be announced.
EOC Audio/Video system training – The main audio/video system in the Seattle EOC is typically operated by Seattle ACS volunteers during EOC activations. We have conducted training on the A/V system in the past, but there have been updates and improvements to the system over the past few months. We plan to offer another A/V operator training session, on Sunday March 15th specifics to be announced. If you are interested in learning, or refreshing on, the EOC A/V system please contact Carl Leon, email@example.com, indicating if either of those dates works for you.
ICS Combination Course – This is a classroom delivery of the FEMA IS-100, IS-200 and IS-700 independent study courses. Structured with instruction, activities, review, and a computer based testing period. Locations and instructors are to be announced. To register for the in-person ICS classes, please email Chris.Carmen@Seattle.gov, indicate you are an ACS member, and which class you are signing up for.
ACS Meeting – Join us Saturday, January 11, 2020 for the ACS monthly meeting and training. Coffee at 8:30 AM, meeting begins at 9:00 AM, Location: North Seattle College, Education Building Room ED2843A (map) Campus Map with Building Locations
This is our first meeting of the new year, we will take a look forward to discuss direction and priorities for the year as well as up-coming exercises, training and events. There will be a presentation of the after-action review of our December 7th ACS exercise. We will have an overview presentation on DMR radio, how it works and opportunities it offers for EmComm. We also hope to have the clothing vendor at the meeting to discuss ACS team wear.