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Saturday August 19, 2017...From Phil KC4JIY Attention RACES members and ham radio operators throughout McMinn County! As I write this around 6pm today (Saturday, August 19, 2017) we are officially within 42 hours of the solar total eclipse. That means that hundreds of folks are most likely already converging on our county to experience this rare natural phenomenon with thousands more expected by midday Monday. Traffic will undoubtedly be tough and local cellular capabilities may be stretched to the limit. In anticipation of these local challenges and other possible unforeseen challenges Tom Trotter, McMinn County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Manager, has requested RACES be activated and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) be staffed, just in case. The purpose of this email is to let you know what is being put in place and how RACES members and ALL area hams (and visiting hams) can help. Our RACES Coordinator Scott Duckworth (NA4IT) will be out of town and I (Phil Prichard KC4JIY) will be serving as acting RACES Coordinator for this event. Monday morning, Cliff Blackburn (W4TZD) and myself (Phil KC4JIY) will be staffing the EOC radio room and Don Shane (K4DLS) and Jodie Brantley (N4JLB) will be staged at the McMinn County Haz Mat station (the old drivers license facility) on Hwy. 30. Beginning at 9am, Cliff and I will initiate an informal RACES net on the 147.060 repeater to accept check-ins from ALL area hams for the purpose of reporting unusual local vehicular traffic conditions as well as any health and safety related information. [NOTE: the 441.8 repeater will be the alternate net frequency and will be monitored all day as well.] All area hams (RACES or otherwise) are requested to monitor these frequencies from your location (home, work, etc.) as possible and report potential problems, matters of concern and any information requested for your specific area. As you check-in, PLEASE provide your call sign, location and any pertinent information,Slowly, and keep all information brief and to the point. If you have EMERGENCY TRAFFIC, please begin your transmission with BREAK, BREAK, EMERGENCY TRAFFIC. At that point all other radio traffic should stop to allow the emergency traffic to get through to net control. We expect this net to continue throughout all stages of the eclipse and longer if necessary, so please continue to monitor, report, and listen for net updates throughout the day. As stated above, we will at least begin with an informal net, but that could change and a formal directed net be announced as conditions warrant or as requested by our EMA director. Depending on how the day goes, we may have need to stage additional amateur radio operators at specific requested locations. If you are available for such a possible assignment, PLEASE provide that information to net control. Thanks for your help and participation; Phil KC4JIY (and lets hope for a safe and enjoyable event!)

Saturday August 19, 2017...From Cliff W4TZD...MARC MEMBERS, This coming Monday we will need, All hands on deck, for the eclipse happening here. We expect traffic jams of Biblical proportions,( OK, OK I know they didn't have cars in Bible times -- it's just an expression), possible cell phone service overload and all the problems that go with that. Please, if you can, be available for deployment within the area. We could be the only means of communication for some folks in trouble. Phil, KC4JIY and I will be manning the Net Control station at the EOC for the day. The primary repeaters will be the 147.060 Athens repeater and the 441.800 Star Mountain repeater. The call sign for the EOC station is KM4RAX so when you hear that call you'll know it's us. Please monitor the .060 for any instructions. We will start an informal net for check ins at 9:00am on Monday morning. Let's hope all goes smoothly in McMinn county. We can help make that happen. Looking forward to spending the day talking to all of you on the radio. Cliff, W4TZD

Thursday August 17, 2017...The fall "Mini" Field Day for the McMinn County Amateur Radio Club will be held on October 21-22, 2017, at Bill's QTH in Etowah.
Food arrangements are being made by Chris KM4OTL and Thomas KD4STT. Probably burgers, dogs and various other delicious fare. Volunteers may be asked to bring dessert.
Darris K4RST and his band of Merry Hamsters will perform Saturday evening and at the Sunday morning service which will be conducted by Doc KK4STW.
Kenny KC4OJS will have an APRS station and a winlink station set up for education, use and practice by all present. This will be a followup to his ongoing training program.
The club trailer will be used to set up a fldigi station and the club FT450 HF rig will be available for all. We had a lot of interest in these stations at the regularly scheduled Field Day this year. Any licensed amateur may operate this equipment on that day so if you are new to the hobby come on out an play. We will have Hams there to help you practice and participate. There are at least two QSO parties that day so we should have plenty of radio activity to participate in.
Sheriff Joe KM4BFU will be conducting a Hamwatch exercise on Saturday afternoon.
There is plenty of parking and places for campers or tents. A large stock of firewood is already stacked and ready to burn to light the way for tall tales and warmth. A five star, gender neutral outhouse is also available. There is no electricity other than that supplied by generator.
Directions will be forthcoming in a later E.
Questions or comments - Bill, W4WPL. 423-462-5724

Wednesday August 16, 2017...From Chris KE7GZ, I am down sizing my stash of radios, coax, parts and more... On Friday August 25 from noon to 5... Hams can come see what I have . I plan to offer very good deals. Need to get some room back in the garage and ham shack... My address is 108 Mason St. Athens Tn...