Solar News

Oregon Section News August 1 2017 – Solar Eclipse

The Great Oregon Solar Eclipse is coming August 21st and a lot of people
will be traveling to see this one-in-a-lifetime event! From Lincoln to
Malheur County, Oregon Amateur Radio operators will be on the air either
participating in the national Solar Eclipse QSO party sponsored by ARRL
(details in the August 2017 QST, Page 94) or supporting their County
Emergency Managers. 

In general, Emergency Managers are concerned about heavy traffic
congestion both before and after the eclipse as well as fire danger,
especially in Eastern Oregon. Many of Oregon major highways within the
path of the eclipse are expected to be crowded with vehicles pulled over
to the side of the road. This is especially true along Oregon Highways
20 and 22 (from the Willamette Valley over Santiam Pass to Central
Oregon), along Highway 97 in Central Oregon and along Highway 26 from
Redmond east to John Day.  Roadways in Marion County will also be
crowded.

 Outside of the Willamette Valley where cell phone service is poor or
nonexistent, ARES units will be on duty providing situational reports to
their Emergency Managers.  Within the Willamette Valley, Polk County
ARES will be monitoring traffic conditions on Highways 22, 99 and 213.
They report that most timberlands will be gated to discourage campers
and hopefully lessen fire risks. 

Marion County ARES will have an operating base at the Detroit Ranger
Station on Highway 22 which will be set up on August 18th and remain
active for nearly a week. Portable repeaters are being deployed. Just to
the south on Highway 20, Linn County ARES will be covering the Santiam
Pass / Hoodoo ski area with assistance from Lane County ARES.

In Central Oregon, huge crowds are expected for the eclipse! Deschutes
County ARES will be supplementing communications from a central command
center at the Redmond Airport. Heavy cell phone use may overload the
cell system’s limited capacity. Deschutes is planning a 24/7 multi-day
activation during the eclipse. All of their 25 ARES members will be
fully engaged.

To the East of Central Oregon, both Wheeler (population 1,300) and Grant
County (population 7,100) are expecting a major influx of eclipse
viewers that far exceeds their normal population. Both Counties will be
using Amateur Radio operators to report conditions back to their
Emergency Managers. Assistance from Western Oregon ARES members may be
needed as both counties have few operators. Both are working hard to get
new repeaters into position. In Malheur County, a joint Oregon-Idaho
effort is being planned.
 
Overall, I expect to see about 5 ARES units activated and several other
providing operators and equipment to the Eastern Oregon Counties. That
should total about 100 active volunteers. Many will be involved for
several days. Look for ARES Eclipse HF nets to be active on 40 and 80
meters, relaying traffic from remote locations to their County Emergency
Operations Centers and Oregon Emergency Management.

Finally, if you’re among the thousands traveling for the eclipse,
please drive carefully and be prepared for traffic delays. Enjoy the
eclipse knowing that many Oregon Hams are doing important public service
work (and having fun doing it). If you’d like to get involved in
Oregon ARES, contact your County Emergency Coordinator. They are all
listed on the OregonARESRACES.org website. Have a safe and fun Oregon
Eclipse.

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ARRL Oregon Section
Section Manager: John E Core, KX7YT
kx7yt@arrl.org

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