To provide skilled radio operators who can deliver reliable and effective radio communications for the El Cerrito and Kensington communities.
KaroEcho Charter, Constitution, and By-laws (Organizational Structure Amended January 2018)
KARO-ECHO is currently putting together a communications program that will serve the needs of the El Cerrito and Kensington fire departments as well as the CERT teams, and other related non-profit disaster service agencies as well as their respective coordinators.
What We Are Solving For
The program KARO-ECHO aspires toward is the implementation of a practical model to cover the following use cases
- As a member of a CERT block team, I want training and guidance on how to talk to other team members on a radio
- As a member of a CERT block team, I want training and guidance on how to talk to my CERT area "EOC"
- As a member of a CERT block team, I want to use my radio in a way that will not interfere with other block teams and areas
- As a member of a CERT block team, I want to to use my radio without interference from other block teams and areas
- As a CERT area coordinator, I want important messages from my area to be communicated to the nearest relevant agency
- As a CERT area coordinator, I want important messages from my area to be communicated to the El Cerrito EOC
- As a CERT area coordinator, I want to receive information from El Cerrito and Kensington first responders (fire and police)
- As a CERT area coordinator, I want full records maintained of all messages sent and received to make followup on requests possible
- As a CERT area coordinator, I do not want to have to worry about properly formatting messages for the EOC
- As a CERT area coordinator, I want to be able to communicate with other areas to share needed resources and tasks (material and human).
- As an El Cerrito or Kensington fire station, I want a reliable backup communications path to other first responders (fire and police) and the El Cerrito EOC
At the block level
- How to effectively communicate within a block shall be organized by that block
- How to effectively communicate with other blocks shall be organized by the blocks involved
- How to effectively communicate with the area coordinator shall be organized by the area
- KARO-ECHO shall provide areas with coordinated primary and secondary frequencies which, if utilized, will minimize interference with neighboring areas (even if the neighboring area is outside of El Cerrito or Kensington)
- The coordinated primary and secondary frequencies provided to blocks shall be in radio services that
- Can be used without a FCC issued license (FRS or CB)
- Can be used with inexpensive, readily available radio equipment (FRS)
- Has limited power so that communications do not overly interfere with other areas (FRS)
- Block to Area ICPs and staging areas shall be provided by FRS, GMRS, or Ham radio whatever s available.
- KARO-ECHO shall provide areas with training on how to establish an emergency net, pass messages, and how to handle informal tactical traffic upon request.
At the area level
- KARO-ECHO shall provide areas with reliable, two-way cross-area emergency communications
- KARO-ECHO shall provide areas with reliable, two-way communications to the nearest relevant agency, fire station, and/or shelter.
- KARO-ECHO shall provide areas with reliable, two-way communications with the El Cerrito EOC either direct or through relay if needed.
- KARO-ECHO shall coordinate with nearby cities and emergency communications organizations to establish primary and secondary frequencies that can be used with minimal chance of interference
At the El Cerrito and Kensington City Level
- In an emergency, KARO-ECHO shall provide the two El Cerrito fire stations and the Kensington fire station with trained radio operators 24/7 for the duration of the emergency for backup/overload communications if requested
- In an emergency, KARO-ECHO shall provide the El Cerrito EOC with trained radio operators 24/7 for the duration of the emergency
- Communications equipment and procedures between fire stations, areas, and the El Cerrito EOC shall be adequate equipment and emergency power in order to be reliable and effective
Milestone Dates: On-going or Completed
- Consensus on How to Proceed with Ongoing Projects (Ongoing)
- Gap Analysis Complete and Roadmap Published (Ongoing)
- Infrastructure Plan (Completed)
- Communications Plan (Completed) See: KARO-ECHO Disaster Communications Plan (DRAFT 05- 2018)
- Training Plan (Completed) See; KARO/ECHO Training Goals (Extensive Detailed Long Form) and KARO/ECHO Training Goals (Four Progressive levels) This is the short version in outline form that corresponds to the four types of progressive go-kit/jump-kit Training is based on the four types of deployment (Level A, Advanced B, Extra C, and MAT Qualified).
- Frequent Drills (Ongoing)
List of 2017 to 2018 Completed Goals and Ongoing Endeavors
In 2017, KARO-ECHO became entirely reorganized with a new constitution, elected officials, a board of directors, an emergency coordinator, newsletter editor, webpage maestro, outreach program, equipment maintenance program, an Elmer (mentoring) Committee, and much more. We are now running efficient meetings with a long list of recent accomplishments; yet there are many positions and work group opportunities to fill. Please consider getting involved.
Our first Web Presence was established In 2017 with the KARO-ECHO Wiki site (now replaced by karoecho.net
In 2017 a KARO-ECHO Constitution, election of officers and executive board was formalized
A new Emergency Coordinator, KM6HBO, was appointed by the board and seves as a member of the board.
We approved a succinctly clarified KARO-ECHO Mission Statement in 2017
KARO-ECHO Field Operations Handbook was distributed
KARO-ECHO monthly Newsletter established
KAROECHO.NET Google Website established and chock full of relevant information (Rob, K6RJM as our new Web Maestro).
The establishment of the Karo-Echo Group on Facebook (Rob, K6RJM).
An inventory and testing of KARO-ECHO equipment installed at our seven served agency locations was completed (Hal. KK6NDF as lead)
A tour for KaroEcho members of all agency radio operation sites led by Fire Chief Kevin Janes
Repair of faulty equipment at FS 72, reprogramming of frequencies, installing Anderson power pole connectors, etc. (Jamuel, KM6HBO)
On-the-air weekly training sessions have become instituted on a regular basis during the revised Thursday evening net
A KARO-ECHO GO-KIT has been established according to type and length of assignment.
A Written KARO-ECHO Communications Plan has been developed and published
The creation of a portable go-kit on wheels serving as an emergency powered radio, antenna, tripod mast, and coax (ongoing)
The repurposing of 2 45 Watt 2m commercial transceivers for K/E Disaster Digital Comms.
The Karo-Echo Roster has been updated with email addresses and phone numbers with over 40 members who receive the monthly newsletter
An Email listserver is now operational for Newsletters, minutes, and meeting agendas. (Rob, K6RJM)
A new outreach/recruitment campaign has been launched and a mailing sent to all new local hams since 2016 and 25 additional former ham volunteers.
Repurposing new antenna installations at Ken 6 CERT (Diamond X-300a antenna)
Installed a new Diamond X-300a antenna at Tassajara Park (EC9 CERT Staging Area).
Recovered a Kenwood TM-741a and Astron RS-12M 12 amp power supply from Tassajara Park
Our first Simulated Emergency Test (SET) since 2015 was a great success in identifying needs and future projects (KE6BEE and K6RJM)
In the works (Ongoing)
Three ring binders are planned to be installed at all KaroEcho served agency sites which will contain the KaroEcho Field Resources Operating Handbook, operational logs, simplex frequency lists, NCS script, pencils, eraser, maintenance logs, operating manual crib sheets, forms 213, 309, and KE Hybrid forms etc. (K6RJM)
More Outreach is planned especially at Ham radio classes, licensing exams, CERT training sessions, and we are planning to offer a license class and test somewhere in El Cerrito Kensington to aid recruiting. A Ham Cram and Technician License test is planned for El Cerrito in early 2019 (KM6HBO and NI6A). (ongoing)
Plans for a Red Flag Fire Patrol have become implemented (K6RJM. KE6BEE, and KJ6AAT) in 2018 (Ongoig)
KE6BEE has taken on the Thursday evening weekly Net Manager Job (Ongoing)
A digital communications work group is being formed (K6RJM, KE6BEE, and NI6A) attempting to provide a parallel error free digital pathway from the EOC to all CERT areas, the Fire Stations, and disaster agencies utilizing packet and store and forward packet BBS systems.
A new ham mentoring (Elmer) team and program has been established to assist new and elderly hams. (NI6A) -- Ongoing
A new GMRS/FRS mentoring program is being developed (NI6A and K6RJM)
KM6CXI Mike, aided by Frank K6FAC, Hal KK6NDF, K6RJM Rob, Jerry K6KOP, and NI6A Don are taking the lead on maintenance and new installations for served agency equipment installations. Tassajara Park (EC 9 staging) is being retrofitted with a new radio station.
RF simplex mapping of point to point hot spots and trouble spots throughout Kensington and El Cerrito will continue in 2019. (continuing)
The constitution Revision Committee met in September and recommended minor revisions to the constitution to be voted upon at the October 2018 meting.