Monthly Meetings

May 8, 2019 DEARS Meeting

Disney Emergency Amateur Radio Services


PO Box 690905, Orlando, Florida, 32869-0905

Meeting Location: Disney’s All-Star Resort Cast Services Building

Call to order at: 5:58 pm by Rebekah Bachstein

Quorum: Called and Counted = 20 members, 4 non-members

Presentation of Colors and Salute



The club had a great time at the Relay for Life event. It was not as crowded as previous events for some reason. Thank you to everyone who participated.

There was a request to recount the votes for the position of club president. During last month’s election three ballots were counted from members that were not present in person. Sean Wall reported that the current club president won by an overwhelming majority, and that the runner-up had received three votes. It was determined that a recount was not required and the current club president would remain in place.

The club’s new officers were introduced. They are:

President – Rebekah Bachstein

Vice President – Andy Milluzzi

Treasurer/Trustee – Ian Ward

Secretary – Steve Martin

The members were asked to provide any thoughts they have on how to make D.E.A.R.S. more fun in the future.

Guest Speaker Scott Spratt, KT4PD National Weather Service

Scott is a NOAA Warning Coordination Meteorologist from Melbourne, Florida

The topic of his discussion was Local Hazardous Weather

Central Florida weather hazards include tornadoes, wind storms, hail storms, lightning, flooding, and hurricanes

There are 122 local weather forecast offices (WFOs) across the nation

They have the ability to replay radar data from past events at the same rate that they occurred. They use this to train new weather forecasters, asking them questions at certain key points along the way.

Every household and office should have a NOAA Weather Radio. They are pretty accurate these days and typically cost less than $35. They can be very useful, especially if a weather hazard takes place overnight when you may normally be asleep.

Alerts to weather radios usually occur about 13 minutes before a tornado. It should take the average family about 5 minutes or less to get to a shelter.

When seeking shelter from a tornado go to the lowest floor, most interior location, put as many walls as possible between you and it, a small room or bathroom is best due to the

plumbing providing additional strength, or even under the stairs. Wear shoes to protect your feet. Put a mattress or pillow over your head if possible, to prevent injuries from falling debris.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are standard on all cell phones sold in the last five years. They may also be used to communicate amber alerts. They are automatic, work nation-wide, are targeted to specific cell towers, and are 90 characters long or less.

Due to cell tower’s broadcast radius and overlap you may receive alerts that are outside of the real warning area. This should decrease by the end of 2019 due to new FCC rules.

You can turn off amber alerts and still receive weather alerts.

Scott discussed the thunderstorm lifecycle

Towering Cumulus – the updraft is dominant

Mature – the updraft and downdraft are about equal

Dissipation – the downdraft is dominant

Hail can rise and fall several times until it becomes heavy enough to fall

Summertime in our area – typically 30-minute storms, penny- to dime-size hail

Wintertime in our area – typically 1 to 3-hour storms. Everything can be larger and worse.

The sea breeze is visible on radar due to the bugs and salt particles at the edge of it

They can predict local-scale thunderstorms an hour in advance, and know by county six to eight hours in advance using computer models

They also monitor the weather for two airports

Most lightning strikes on the east coast when the wind flow is predominantly southwest

Most lightning strikes on the west coast when the wind flow is predominantly southeast

Florida receives 25-35 ground-strike lightning events per square mile per year

Central Africa is the lightning capital of the world (four times what we experience)

Florida is the lightning capital of the nation

You can hear thunder within 10 miles of lightning, so please go indoors

Rain is just a nuisance… Lightning is the hazard

Wait 30 minutes after thunder ends before resuming outdoor activities

During lightning storms don’t talk on landlines, use water, or use a device plugged into the wall. Those account for most of the 1% of lightning injuries and deaths that are indoors (the other 99% are outdoors).

Convertible cars are not safe from lightning. Hard-top cars are.

Picnic shelters, dugouts, beaches, and small buildings without plumbing or electricity are also not safe from lightning. If outdoors you really need to get indoors or to a hard-top car. Do not be the tallest structure in an outdoor area, and do not stand around tall outdoor structures.

Severe Thunderstorm – the official NWS definition nation-wide is 50 Knot (58 MPH) winds and/or 1-inch (quarter size) hail

Straight-line winds at high velocity can cause damage. It doesn’t need to be circulating winds from a tornado.

Large hail falls at nearly 100 mph

Hail can occur even if the temperatures are in the mid-to-upper 80’s

Tornadoes are measured against the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale between EF-0 (lowest wind speeds) and EF-5 (highest wind speeds)

The EF scale of a tornado can’t truly be determined until after a survey of the damage

In Florida 90% of tornadoes are weak (EF-0 to EF-1) and short-lived. 10% are EF-2 to EF-3 (every 10-15 years). Only two EF-4 have ever been documented.

Flash Flooding – only two feet of water can wash a car away

Areas without much topography don’t experience “true” flash flooding

The four Hurricane hazards are: winds, tornadoes, storm surges, and floods

They measure the circulation, structure, and strength of hurricane winds

Hurricanes are measured against the Saffir-Simpson wind scale

Category 1 = 74-95 mph (some damage)

Category 2 = 96-110 mph (extensive damage)

Category 3 = 111-129 mph (devastating damage)

Category 4 = 130-156 mph (catastrophic damage)

Category 5 = 157 mph and higher (catastrophic damage)

Major hurricanes account for only 21% of all U.S. landfalls, but account for 83% of all damage

Damage increases exponentially with each category

Weak hurricanes can still be very damaging if they are prolonged in duration

The maximum danger zone in a hurricane is the right-front (NE) quadrant

Flooding is not correlated with hurricane strength, but with slow movement

Treat every hurricane threat independently – every storm is different

Hurricane predictions are typically made the last week of May but the accuracy is not very high. Updated predictions are provided in August which are highly accurate.

You can visit for predictions

Brenda presented Scott with a Mickey ear hat, D.E.A.R.S. mug, and magnet as appreciation for his speaking


Rebekah recently passed the recommended FEMA ICS certifications 100, 200, 700 and 800 and encouraged everyone else to take them as well

Rebekah will be handling Net Control for the upcoming Wednesday, May 22nd D.E.A.R.S. Net at 7pm. Also known as the “Fun Net” on 147.300 offset +600 PL/CTCSS 103.5 and EchoLink node #632802. Bruce Keller is taking a much-needed rest.

Vice President: Andy – D.E.A.R.S. will be holding a technician class on June 15th at the MakerFX Makerspace in Orlando (8600 COMMODITY CIR #158, ORLANDO, FL). There are twenty seats available and most individuals that are signed up are under 18 years old. The club could use some volunteers to assist with teaching the class and exam grading. The Gordon West book will be used and lunch will be provided. The cost will be $30 per student.

Vice President: Andy – Field Day will be June 22nd. We would like to do a competitive field day where someone is up all night and we have people working rotations. We would like to have a GOTA (get-on-the-air) station. Boy scouts can earn their merit badge after making five contacts. A family dinner will be held between 5pm-6pm as usual.

Joe passed the General exam today

Next month’s speaker is expected to be John Holmes of the US Coast Guard discussing offshore emergency operations

Michael Cauley (W4MCA) presented the club with a check for our volunteer hours participating at this year’s HamCation

We will be suggesting updates to the club bylaws and presenting them to the membership in July for a vote

Rebekah has been granted access to the website

A raffle was held and three of our attendees received prizes (an Icom hat, an Icom shirt, and a Jack Sparrow figure)

The Dayton Hamvention is coming up soon

A mickey goodbye song was played and sung by the membership


Went over SunTrust bank account.

There is a new Slack channel ( available for members to use.

The next club meeting will be held at Disney’s All-Star Resort Cast Services Building at 6pm, 6/12/19 with VE testing sessions available at 5pm

Adjourn: 7:48 pm