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Welcome to ScanningEriePA! On this site, you\'ll find pages with frequency lists and agency monitoring information for Erie County, PA, Chautauqua County, NY, and other areas nearby. The post section will also feature the latest in local and national scanner news, incident alerts, and audio recordings!

Feel free to have a look around the site. I hope you enjoy your stay and come back soon!

Annual Erie County Weather Simulation was an Interesting One this Week

The annual Erie county emergency weather drill was held this past Wednesday (May 14) beginning at 6:30 PM. This drill is held every year in preparation for a large-scale, countywide weather disaster, and involves multiple agencies and large numbers of emergency personnel, not just amateur radio. A simulation is written up ahead of time involving a long-track, destructive tornado through the county, and storm spotters and RACES disaster teams are involved in tracking the storm and also dealing with its aftermath.

This year, we got an unexpected surprise during the drill. As you may recall, there was a threat of severe thunderstorms in the area Wednesday afternoon and evening, and a tornado watch was in effect up to the Ashtabula-Erie county line. However, the leaders of the drill decided to allow it to go on even with the threatening weather nearby. All was going well through about the first half hour, with check ins and reports being handled effective and as planned. Then, somewhere a little before 7 PM, the NWS in Cleveland contacted the West County EOC staff via 6 meters and delivered a real-world request for spotters in the Edinboro area to track a cell they were concerned about. The drill net was suspended during this time for around a half hour during the time the storm tracked through the county in case someone had real storm reports to pass. No one was in an ideal spot to watch the storm, but multiple mobile stations checked in and kept an eye on it. It appeared to track northeast through the county along and a bit south of the I90 corridor.

The storm cleared out by around 7:30, and the leaders decided the drill could resume again at that point with no imminent threat anymore. However, the other aspects of the drill had continued to flow even without ham radio, so at that point our side was backed up in a hole. The following hour of disarray was spent trying to get the drill communications back on track. It never really happened, in spite of all the efforts. Everything wrapped up around 8:30 PM.

I commend the efforts of all those involved that did their best to get the drill going again after the real-world interruption. That was the only negative I saw during the entire event. I thought our communications for both the simulation and the real threat performed very well, and all the EOC locations seemed to run fairly smoothly. When it comes to emergency communications, the rule of thumb is always to expect the unexpected, and we certainly got a taste of that on Wednesday. In spite of all the craziness, I believe the drill was a success, and as always, there was plenty for us to be able to take away from the exercise.

If you participated in or listened to the drill communications, I would love to hear what you thought! Also, I have a full recording of all the communications. At this time I have not posted it for sharing due to its large file size, but if anyone is interested in hearing or saving it please let me know and I will post the audio so you can download it.

One ironic aspect of the drill was that the imaginary storm track that had been created weeks in advance was nearly identical to the track the real-world storm took through the county. One spotter who came across our net without realizing it was a drill called in as a real-world station, reporting having eyes on our imaginary storm. Further proof that just because something is a drill doesn’t always mean it will go exactly by the books!

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Ripley Hamfest: Sunday, May 4, 2014

The first local hamfest of the 2014 season has arrived! The Ripley Hamfest occurs this Sunday, May 4, 2014 at the Ripley Fire Hall in Ripley, NY. That’s located on Route 76 just south of Route 20, near the railroad tracks. The doors open to the public at 8 AM, with setup beginning by around 7 or so. It is a small but well-run and well-attended hamfest. It gives you a good opportunity to see some friends you may not have talked to in person all winter long, and it’s always fun to open the hamfest season with a fun local event. Additionally, the event is slated to be better then previous years this time around.

Be sure to stop out and say hello to some friends! Even if you’re not a ham operator, feel free to stop by and see what the hobby is all about. It just may whet your appetite and get you pining for a license!

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I will do my best to keep you informed of other hamfests coming up as we go through the coming months.

Skywarn Training Classes Spring Up in the Area

First off, a friendly reminder to turn forward your clocks an hour tonight (Saturday, Mar. 8) before going to bed, as Daylight Savings Time begins tomorrow morning (Mar. 9) at 2 AM.

Though it may not feel like it for many of us quite yet, spring is just around the corner. This arrival has certainly been long-awaited by many. However, with it comes the return threat for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding rain, and the other forms of hazardous weather that come with the warmer weather in spring and summer.

And also coming with spring is the arrival of annual skywarn storm spotter training classes once again around our area. For those of you that are not familiar with skywarn, it is an all-volunteer network of weather observers around the nation, trained and coordinated by the National Weather Service. “Spotters,” as they are called, attend a training session put on by their local NWS office in the spring. They are taught about the different forms of hazardous weather that come with the warm severe weather season, and also how to correctly and safely recognize, identify, and report these hazards to the NWS. Then, throughout the year, whenever these spotters encounter severe weather, they can give their trained-eye reports to the National Weather Service.

Radar and other weather tools used today are all extremely valuable, but nothing beats a pair of trained eyes out in the field to give the NWS a clear picture of what is going on. These reports can help in the issuance and verification of warnings, and can make warning lead time longer to help others in their community. It is not tying you to any commitments to be solely helping the NWS when bad weather arrives; just go about your daily routine, and report anything you see that meets reporting criteria.

Skywarn spotters come from a wide array of fields. Ham operators, police and fire personnel, emergency management personnel, weather enthusiasts, and those simply interested in helping their community are among the groups that often attend the sessions. They are always free and open to the public, and they are always a fun evening for anyone that even remotely enjoys the weather.

Here are the times, dates, and locations for upcoming skywarn classes in the Erie area:

Crawford County, PA: Monday, Mar. 17, 6:30 PM, at St. Brigid’s, 383 Arch St., Meadville, PA. NWS Cleveland.
Chautauqua County, NY: Monday, Mar. 24, 7:30 PM at WCA Hospital, 207 Foote Ave., in Jamestown, NY. NWS Buffalo.
Erie County, PA: Tue., Apr. 01, 6:30 PM, at Hamot Hospital auditorium, 201 State St., in Erie, PA. NWS Cleveland.

Additional dates and locations for other area counties, or for just about anywhere in the country, can usually be found on your local National Weather Service office home page.

If you have any comments or questions on Skywarn or regarding upcoming sessions in your area, please feel free to contact me. I strongly recommend this course for all of us, so we can help out the National Weather Service!

Erie County Making Progress on Sheriff’s Radio Upgrades–Below Budget

I reported to you some time ago that the Erie County (PA) Sheriff’s Office is looking into upgrading their radio system. This is due to the fact that areas of broken or nonexisting coverage exist in the county. One of the most concerning of these is apparently some dead zones within the county courthouse, where sheriff’s deputies have little to no radio reception. This could certainly become a safety problem for a lot of people.

Now, according to a recent article in the Erie Times-News and on goerie.com, these upgrades are moving forward. A company out of Jamestown, Eagle Radio Technologies, is willing to install new repeaters for the department, as well as obtain new mobile equipment for the sheriff cars, for 35,906 dollars. Another company from Meadville, Mobilcom, is contributing some installation needs and also is contributing 13 portable radios. In the end, all these costs add up to a total that is about 19,500 dollars less than the original target amount. The article stated that the final cost is currently being placed at 49,094 dollars.

Erie county sheriff John Loomis thinks that these upgrades will greatly enhance the radio reception. According to him, everything worked very well during testing of new equipment some months ago.

The full article can be accessed here:
http://www.goerie.com/article/20140218/NEWS02/302179983/Sheriff%27s-Office-radio-system-upgrade-moves-forward

New Audio Added from Recent E.P.D. DUI Chase

Our “Scanner Recordings Archive” page has just been updated with a new recording! On Friday, 01-24-14, just before midnight, Erie police officers attempted to stop a vehicle at East 10th and Hess streets. The driver fled and led police on a wild chase throughout the city’s east side, in which he hit two police cars. He was finally stopped and taken into custody at Prospect and McCain streets. It turns out he was driving under the influence, and now faces a wide range of charges for his actions.

The recording is 06:36 minutes long and can be found in downloadable MP3 format over on the recordings page.

Take a listen and enjoy!

Get On the Air: Ham Radio Licensing Class Coming Soon!

If you live in the western NY or northwestern PA areas and have been thinking about getting your amateur radio license, the perfect opportunity for you has arrived!

The Radio Amateurs of Corry, in conjunction with the Corry Higher Education Council, is putting on a class to teach the material needed to pass the technician class amateur radio license exam, and also the basics you’ll need when getting on the air for the first time. This is a great time for you if you have been considering getting your license because you will not be in it alone and will have others to talk with and learn from. With a tech license, you will be able to use the popular VHF and UHF bands where lots of local activity can be found; the 6 meter band, which depending on conditions allows you to talk to friends down the street or new contacts across the country; portions of the 10 meter voice, digital, and Morse code bands on HF; and the morse code portions of the 15, 20, and 40 meter bands.

The class will be held each Monday beginning Feb. 10 and lasting through Mar. 31. It will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Corry Higher Ed building in Corry, PA.

The total cost for the class is 59 dollars. This also includes an ARRL study book to help you learn the basics and get started. This is really a greatly priced package, to get your license and a book as well.

Peter Albright (AA2AD) is teaching the class, and it is open to anyone age 12 and older.

Your registration and payment are required by noon on Thursday, Feb. 6. If you’d like to register, call the Corry Hi-Ed Council at (814) 664-9405.

I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who has been thinking about getting their ham license but isn’t quite sure where or how to begin. Scanner listeners or anyone interested in radio might also want to take this opportunity.

You can read more by visiting the Radio Amateurs of Corry web site here:
http://www.w3yxe.org

Of course, if you have additional questions about the class or about ham radio in general, you can always contact me via the site and I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Don’t miss this opportunity: I’m looking forward to hopefully hearing a few new call signs on the air soon!

Chautauqua County Dispatcher Recognized for his Outstanding Efforts

Smart911 is a system in place in many parts of the country, including Chautauqua county, that allows public safety dispatchers to quickly access important information for a person when they call 911 with an emergency. Once a person has a profile in Smart911, dispatchers can quickly access medical and other information about that person using their profile if an emergency ever occurs. Smart911 attempts to recognize dispatchers that use information in the Smart911 system to positively affect the outcome of an emergency through the SmartSave award.

One of our own local dispatchers, Michael Catta, recently received such an award. He works as a dispatcher for the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, and was presented with the award by sheriff Joe Gerace.

According to a recent article in the Jamestown Post-Journal, Catta received a call from a citizen in need of medical attention on March 27. A woman called in stating her father was in a public parking lot and was having chest pains. After getting the location of the call and beginning to process it so the appropriate units could respond, Catta accessed the man’s Smart911 profile with information about his medical condition. EMS and dispatchers therefore had all the information they needed about his medical history, taking a burden off of the caller’s shoulders knowing that proper help was on its way. Medical units were going to the scene with everything they would need to properly treat the patient quickly and effectively. Catta even forwarded the medical notes to the hospital where the patient was transported, so they had all the information as well.

I personally was privileged enough to work with Catta over this past summer during my internship at the dispatching office for Chautauqua County. I can personally affirm that he is a fantastic dispatcher, and I know he would always do whatever is necessary to help those in need. This was probably just another day helping the citizens of the county for him, but it is awesome to see him receive recognition for his help in saving lives.

Thank you, Catta, for everything you do!

If you want to read the full Post-Journal article, follow this link:
http://post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/633071/Dispatcher-Receives–SmartSave–Award.html?nav=5057