SLCARC ‘s Early History
Prior to and since the formation of the Salt Lake Crossroads Amateur Radio Club much occurred that formed and focused this emergency and disaster response ham club. This document sets to written record the most important of these events. Material elsewhere in this website site covers the post 2014 club history. The material here covers the early precedent setting period.
- On 1 February 2014 the SLCARC was formed by four hams who had been for many years active in assisting Salt Lake City’s Volunteer Ham Radio communications. These four hams were KJ7ABC – Susan Smith (ABC as she is sometimes called), KM7TMS – Mike Smith (TMS as he is sometimes called), KE7ORB Dave Anderson (sometimes called ORB), KA7TPH Marvin Match (sometimes called TPH). The primary goals of the club were to support the ham radio emergency communications needs of Salt Lake City government and promote ham radio. Working in partnership with city government, we licensed ham radio operators, voluntarily coordinating emergency and disaster communications as per negotiated protocols. As such activities require considerable coordination and assistance from others, SLCARC 1) umbrellas other ham groups in the city who wish to assist our emergency response efforts, and 2) uses non-ham licensed volunteers to assist in communications, as per protocols referenced on this website. As of this 2021 writing, Salt Lake City coordination with SLCARC, local CERT groups, etc. has developed one of the most ambitious emergency and disaster response programs in existence. To be better prepared for emergencies please train with us.
- Foundational Club History Through 2014
- In 2007 KJ7ABC, took a CERT class that was to set many things rolling. Her husband KM7TMS, relented and also completed such, but it would be ABC who was more than any other volunteer, driving the early development of SLCARC, the ham participating in the S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods Disaster Response Plan and the growth and development of the volunteer training program for that disaster plan.
- In Spring 2008 Susan and Mike, did it again—taking a second CERT class — this time within the SLC’s developing CERT system. They realized you don’t digest a lot of the CERT material the first time round.
- Then in fall 2008, they did it again, this time with Salt Lake County Fire system. They realized the important of neighboring jurisdictions and that there was still not much training happening after CERT graduation. As Fire said to them; Fire was tasked to teach CERT not develop a vast community infrastructure. That was mostly on us.
- Within SLC, better times were coming. In fall 2009 Cory Lyman became Salt Lake City’s Emergency Management Director and was tasked to develop program. This reflected the wider nation-wide concern for better emergency preparedness.
- About February 2010, John Flynt was hired as the Preparedness Coordinator for Salt Lake City’s Office of Emergency Management. While holding an early coordination meeting among responders on Saturday June 12, the Red Butte Pipeline Leak Emergency began. They immediately went into response mode. TMS and ABC who were also in Police Corp’s, Mobile Watch unit, were soon handing out fliers to effected residents, and a day or two later, doing communications and other response work down at Liberty Park where dozens of volunteers were doing such things as saving the waterfowl.
- After the FRS, etc. comms experiences at Liberty Park, the Smiths realized it was wise to license as Ham Radio Operators and stay involved. They obtained their Technician class license a month later.
- 2011 was another busy and important preparedness year. In April KJ7ABC started weekly nets for the Southeast Division CERT hams. This was the early beginning of our club’s net. In June a number of CERT Incident Commander trainees around the city exercised, setting up their command posts in what was called “The Functional Exercise.” This event also was valuable experience for the city’s EM staff — particularly as it would contributed to the development of the S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods Disaster Response Plan. In October a sizable drill was held in Sugarhouse Park that practiced CERT activities interacting with Ham Comms. From the Park, TMS connected with KA7TPH who had located by City Hall. TMS was assisted by OD Williams (now a Silent Key) an Elmer out of the Foothill Net group. Foothill is not only still active, it continues as perhaps the best organized comms group in the city that operates at the local group level.
- 2012 was monumental. As mentioned on the club website, in April 2012 we participated in Utah’s first, Statewide Great Utah ShakeOut. Crossroads coordinated with SLC EM, holding at Highland Park Elementary School, CERT and sheltering events. Prior to Highland Park, the city’s EM office also held a smaller brief Ensign Elementary activity. These activities began a coordination process between SLCEM, elementary schools, CERTS, Red Cross Sheltering principals and SLCARC Hams.
- 2013 was also monumental. The term S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods (SN) first appears in Susan’s notes in 2013. This is when John Flynt’s SN Plan began moving beyond the core professional SLCEM staff over to the volunteers who would implement this disaster plan. August 2013 brought the Open House for the city’s new Public Safety Building. This event culminated years of work to obtain for the city, a fine PSB facility. Importantly its Emergency Operations area contained a much envied, dedicated Ham Radio Room in the heart of the city’s response headquarters, and much new equipment, including our first repeater on 448.525 with -100 offset.
- 2014 was perhaps our richest event year. In Feb 2014 ham active at the weekly CERT net transitioned to our Salt Lake Crossroads Amateur Radio Club Net. It was then held weekly on 147.5 simplex Thursdays at 2100 hrs. As I mentioned above, at this time the club was formed and we became the officially designated ham organization to umbrella the other ham groups in the city, foster close relationships with our elementary schools and other neighborhood volunteer groups. It was an honor to become this valuable ham group, and its considerable workload that will never be completely finished. The position was earned through years of previous service experience. Future club leaders must work to preserve and expand upon this unique heritage.
At the April 2014 Shakeout we held our second an exercise at Highland Park Elementary. John’s MSEL control system made the event run much more smoothly and we used evaluators and controllers in our exercises for the first time. For our fall exercise we held a joint exercise between the HRR, Indian Hills and McGillis elementaries. Also of note was the workshop Vigilant Guard, held on Nov 4. This broadly based exercise involved agencies coordinating with elements of the National Guard with some SN activities occurring locally. During this time early club president Susan was very active, visiting the graduating CERT classes and notifying them there were things to do after graduation. Graduating CERTS now had places to go and they were coordinated within four city quadrants.. SLCARC was a primary force in coordinating the events associated with these exercises, drills, and the active CERT groups around the city.
- Post 2014 items are quite well covered on the club’s website slcarc.org. Check it out. The most important things to be said about this later period that is not well mentioned in that website material, is that SLCEM began to downsize. This trend accelerated with the arrival of COVID. In 2021 the EM program, was reformed into the Fire Department. More than ever before, local S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods training, drill, and exercise leadership fell to SLCARC. However, during this time the Smith’s were rolling out the previously developing S.A.F.E. Neighborhoods Training Program. The slcarc.org website matured to carry much of this important volunteer response education material, including its Ambassadors components. Check it out & train with us, because building functional infrastructure for our city’s disaster volunteer response plan is still largely up to SLC neighborhood volunteers.
73s from KM7TMS & KJ7ABC