Skip to main content Skip to left nav

Welcome to the Region VII Forum

Hello Region VII NPM coalition members!  My name is Tom Morgan, and I am the FEMA Region VII Community Preparedness Officer.  One of my tasks is to monitor this forum periodically, answer questions, and provide preparedness information.  Please encourage your contacts to join the coalition, participate in the Regional and National forums, and provide information on upcoming preparedness events.  Remember, even though National Preparedness Month is in September, preparedness is a year-round journey!

Thought I'd reply to your welcome to introduce myself. My name is Ron Elliott and I am a member of the Berean Missionary Baptist District Association, Laymen Ministry. We are stumbling our way into participation in Disaster response and relief as a Faith Based Partner. Our State Convention in Missouri has a MOU with the Red Cross that requests our member Churches become certified as shelters. We are in the process of trying to help make that happen, but see a lot of potential in a myriad of other areas as well.

We lurked here during 2011 but did facilitate an "Are You Ready" session during September of last year. We are also distributing "Ready In 3" materials at as many gatherings as we can and hope to arrange a Shelter Management Class as well as some sort of "Ready In 3" or "Are You Ready" session this September. 

Any motivational ideas are a welcome asset! We're trying to become more than a "lurker" this year :).

Rod Zeigler 1 year ago   Reply

I just joined as well. I am the Dir. of Eng. for the Nebraska Rural Radio Assn. Our coverage area during the day is all of Nebraska, the western 2/3 of Ks., eastern edge of Iowa, southern edge of S. Dak., and NE Co. During the night we cover the western half of CONUS.  We are not only doing our own preparedness at the station, we also run PSA's from FEMA. Our mission, and the reason we were started, is to broadcast constant weather information to our listeners. We also carry agricultural news, as well as "normal" news to keep our listeners informed. When extreme weather events are occurring in our listening area we pull out all the stops to get the information out. In an emergency information is key to saving lives and property. We are already working with the FEMA IPAWS office on other things as well. I look forward to learning from everyone on this site.

J.A. ADAMS 1 year ago   Reply

I joined the group as a concerned citizend of K C Metro area and want to be aware and informed about emergency preparedness.  Looking forward to receiving info and and updates.

Gary Petersen 1 year ago   Reply

Introduction.....Gary Petersen, Emergency Management Director for Seward and York Counties in Nebraska. Have been working locally for two years with faith based group to develop preparedness within congregations and develop volunteer contacts within. Recently developed a business survey to see what plans they have in place and what their needs may be. This will be part of adopting the "Whole Community Approach" to emergency management. Trying to develop new partnerships to promote preparedness in the home. Local news media has been a great resource and partner. Looking forward to utilizing information from others.

Ava Christie 1 year ago   Reply

Hello Fellow Preparedness Advocates,

My name is Ava Christie. I live and work as a consultant in South Kansas City. I am pursuing a degree in Public Safety and am interested in helping my communities become more prepared and resilient in the event of critical incidents.

I have worked on federal grants for Johnson County and am working with area businesses to heighten awareness. I am contributing to this month of preparedness by enlisting more area advocates to become a part of this discussion, so that a Region VII network will become established!

Will Babbitt 1 year ago   Reply

As far as I know, there are NO groups in this area.  I have extensive experience with the NRC as a vendor.  The NRC is currently located in the in this area. .

The NRC is one of two national repair depots for the National Weather Service.  All equipment for the NWS is generally repaired, maintained and procured through the NRC.

Until just a few years ago,  the entire upper air data collection system, was a hand down from the US ARMY,   circa 1950.

These are the weather balloon twice daily [or as needed in the case of severe weather]. The NWS  [National Weather Service] struggled and the NRC struggled with these two "hand me down" systems for decades.

Below is very optional reading,  but it is not commonly known that a huge amount of weather forecasting is still done with daily balloon launches and collecting upper air weather data while in flight.

I am also very familiar, with their NEXRAD radar systems,   those are the systems you see on TV especially during severe and Tornado inclusive storms.

Being in the repair business of many types of devices,  mechanical, electrical, electronic,  I understand stand by generators,  safety procedures for evacuations,  have done work on equipment in the mining industry,  and understand NIOSH, MSHAW and many other safety and emergency protocols and regulations.

There is an obvious need in this area for some kind of organized training, and I plan to look into what is needed,   what if anything is in place,   although I am the grant  director for Government grants.  I have never applied or even found one that would fit in the area of FEMA,  emergency education.  in this area.

I understand a lot of the workings as a 10 year plus Government Contractor which should be a help when it comes to how the Federal Government thinks and operates.

Anyone with grant knowledge, or anyone who has interest in this emergency training and preparation that would like to discuss the logistics and needs in this area around Kansas City, Independence, Raytown, Blue Springs, Lee's Summit please contact me.

I have insurance experience,  just went through a fire caused by a bad coffee maker cord, [internal failure in the middle of the cord]  the following non renewal of my home owner's insurance, and the horrific mess that can put a family in,  35 years plus of chemicals,  industrial safety,  have to go hand in hand with general emergency planning. 

If you want to read about the National Weather Service and their weather data collecting systems,    [quite a surprise to me how it all works and how old some of the equipment is]  I have left that story below,    if not and just interested in looking into what this will involve,   let me know.


The NWS combined the old Army air balloon system,  some were semi-permanent mount, some trailer mount,  they were connected together by modem,  and strung the system from Hawaii  Alaska, the West Coast throughout the country,  to the eastern most US Territories.

Some 300 stations dot the landscape,  not to be confused with the giant "golf ball"  stations you might see out in the countryside,  as many of those are housing NEXRAD WEATHER RADAR.

But there are three hundred plus sites launching twice daily, each balloon is I believe 8 to 10 feet and carries a payload of active weather monitoring data.  When the balloon finally reaches an altitude that causes the balloon to burst,  the payload stops sending data back to it's launch station,  and is packed in a manner to survive as best possible,  the fall,  instructions are clearly marked on each package of data collection hardware.

They tell me the return rate on the individual packages,  round numbers 300 stations launching twice 7 days a week, is 600 times 7 days, or 5600 of these units laying out in the country side is about 90%. Pretty amazing these packages are found and even returned when they are.

Because the balloon path is somewhat "repeatable"  so the areas where the payloads drop are somewhat known  and those who live in rural areas, are most likely to come across one of these packages,  farmers, etc.

Because most weather crosses the US from West to East,  we are part of a world wide chain, data is passed to us from eastern islands, and countries,  we in turn look to the west for that weather,  and then create our own database of data as the stations launch earlier from the west, then through the day to the east,  then in turn,  we pass our data on to the western countries.

I became involved with the NRC, back in 2002,  when after struggling with the main rotational data receiving antennas,  had been an on going weak link in this old handed down ART system,  to the point,  where some units had a life span of a few days.

The problem was these rotational antennas were built 50 plus years ago, special built for the army,  some trailer mounted,  the Army used these devices to measure more wind direction in the upper altitudes to setup their artillery and adjust for wind speed, direction, air pressure, anything that would effect the flight of their "missile"  they tried to compensate for, by gathering this data pre-attack.

Once the Army found the system problematic,   [the rotational antenna was of course very old technology, based on a constant  and that constant was created by adding a feedback tachometer to the motor shaft.  The single phase motor was used because the Army had to feed power from a ground generator,  so they actually attempted to use a SYNCHRONOUS  permanent split CAPACITOR SINGLE PHASE MOTOR.

For those of you familiar with electric motors, a PSC motor,  is a very common type of single phase motor, used on nearly all residential condensation fans,  many blower fans,  and thousands of other light torque applications.

They are the least complicated of single phase motors, maybe a shaded pole motor might be as simple in design,  but are rarely found in power ratings above a fraction of a HP  [Horsepower].

Synchronous motors,  on the other hand, are rarely if ever found in a single phase type motor.

Electric motor speed is determined by the number of poles designed into the motor,  and the line frequency of the power supply, [in the US,  60 cycles per second].

Motors are rated as two pole 3600 RPM, four pole 1800 RPM, six pole 1200 RPM,  8 pole 900 RPM,   and so on to very low RPMs,  which are fairly rare.

Physics would have the motor at a given number of poles at a given frequency  running at the speeds above. HOWEVER  there are problems obtaining an exact 1800 RPM.

At any speed,  due to windage  [a cooling fan] internal to the motor.

The motor must use a portion of the developed HP to overcome the power consumed, forcing the fan through the ambient air.

Bearings with rolling type elements,  balls, or rollers, are often referred to as anti-friction bearings, which simply means they are not perfect,  they create a load,  plain or sleeve type bearings also create a mechanical load.

  With the windage and friction factors,  the speed of the motor is reduced slightly,   so if you look at the rated speed of common motors,  you will find the speeds  3600 is 3580, 3575,  whatever the windage and friction use up in developed HP, makes it IMPOSSIBLE to run at an exact SYNCHRONOUS SPEED.

While physical laws say at a given number of poles and given applied frequency  an exact speed would be created,  but in the real world,  because there are no perfect bearings,  plus windage load, motors are simply rated for the real speed at the shaft, which is always SLOWER than the SYNCHRONOUS Speed.

Large industrial three phase motors, can be "synchronous"  however,  the rotating element,  or rotor,  is built with wound poles, versus a fixed cage rotor in a standard motor.

To obtain the exact speed  a second power supply is fed to the rotor via slip rings, and other methods,  the rotating poles are then energized,  by adjusting the amount of voltage,  and the operator can obtain and hold an exact SYNCHRONOUS SPEED.

When the motors for these antennas were built,  they attempted to manipulate the caged rotor,  by changing the bars and end rings of the induction rotor.

Induction motors,  which are most common motors, of any type,  are engineered and the total resistance of the rotor is determined by the type of materials,  used in the rotor bars, and end rings.

By changing the electrical resistance and even the overall impedance of the rotor, by again, using different types of materials,  blends of copper, brass, bronze, etc,  engineers can create different interactions between the rotor and stationary poles.

They call this a design rating,    where the most common of common motors are a B design,  meaning the "slip"  or rpm below synchronous, is manipulated to create motors with regular torque,  or medium torque, or even high torque,  all the while changing the rated speed of the motor.

This can be done and some induction motors  do run ALMOST AT SYNCHRONOUS SPEED,  but again,  there is windage and friction, and while they attempted to design a rotor that would have a resistive profile to create more torque, and HP,  overcoming MOST of the opposition to the rotor rotating,  no formula can defy the laws of physics,   

The Army using the same constant    the speed of the motor,  were able to get by with less than perfection,  and could live if the motor ran at say 1799.

It was less accurate, less distance was able to be tracked,   but the Army did not need the distance and constant exact feedback.

The Army also battled the motor design,  but not nearly to the degree the NWS battled the non constant feedback and lack of an exact constant feedback.

The Army also had the advantage of using their own generators,  and by speeding up the generator,  they could send a 61 or 62 cycle supply,  which would in some cases,  obtain an exact 1800 RPM.

The NWS needed the exact 1800 signal from the feedback tachometer to be able to track the balloon with it's gear,  without the advantage of the generators,  and the ability to manipulate the line frequency.

The NWS needed to use 115 volt common utility voltage because as described above,  these facilities are located in remote locations,  from Alaska to Maine to the tip of Florida,   to the eastern US territories.

The ARMY had to have ground power for many uses,   so they were already setup with generators they could change the output of,  but not so with the NWS.

I often wondered why, considering this quest to obtain exact 1800 tachometer feedback,   they did not supply each facility  with a generator that could be driven at a higher speed to supply the motor with more frequency and speed.

But the Government is the Government,  and that discussion could get even more involved than explaining how the weather is predicted to warn the public of possible destructive storms,  which is right up FEMAs alley.

Another problem with the antennas,  when they failed,  to the Government an antenna is an antenna is an antenna,    so if four failed units were sent to the NRC,   instead of matching the exact antenna with the location,   they could have one from Alaska,  one from Hawaii,  one from South Florida,,     but because the antennas were just antennas,   the Government in all it's wisdom  wanted the antennas to be able to operate at any location.

Now they had the problem of also resolving the huge change in ambient temperatures,   the unit in Alaska had to operate in sub zero temperatures and the southern Florida antennas had to operate in above 100 degree temperatures.

These antennas are two versions,  ART 1 and ART 2,   the ART 1 was about 4 feet tall,  cone shaped,   [imagine a huge radar antenna, like you would see at some observatory]  the shape was just like the center of a huge radar dish,  the cone shape protruding out of the center of the dish, and at the end,  a round ball.

However those are completely different technologies but the shapes were very close to the cone and ball of these huge space observation antennas.

The ART 2,   was a much larger cast cone,  about 6 foot tall and a few feet wide at the bottom.

The complex bearing and mechanical setup internally needed to operate in any position mostly semi-vertical,  and in any range of temperatures from way below zero,   to way above one hundred degrees was another huge challenge.

This [if you read the motor section]  created more problems for the NWS, because now that friction load became more of a problem.  While today's lubes are synthetic and can handle huge swings in temperature,   back in that era,  there was not a lot of choices in lubes,  and no technology like we have today.

For decades on decades the NWS would attempt to rebuild these units, with a success rate that was at best,  a month or two.

Now you have the labor and downtime to remove these 100 pound units,  pack them in special built wood coffins,  and ship them constantly thousands of miles per week.

I got involved in this issue when I worked for another company,   an aggressive new engineer at the NRC, decided he was going to resolve this age old problem,  and came wheeling one through the loading dock door.

It was so odd,  as a manager of nearly 50 employees I did not get involved in every single repair job,  I had supervisors, lead people, who could attend to a large amount of the general repair jobs, but this was too odd, and I had to see what this strange device was all about.

Skipping forward,  the company I used to work for,  decided they did not want to deal with this kind of work,  the company was more focused on power plant type devices, thousands of HP,  so even with some success,  we were told to reject the NRC,  and focus on larger equipment.

30 years of employment was soon over,  I created a C Corp, and took on this problem for the NRC,  as my first customer and they were delighted.

We found that by repairing the mechanical drive train and lowering that false load,  we could get the motor closer to the 1800 they needed so badly and so consistently.

That was a huge improvement but we still had motor problems,  and knowing it is impossible to create a synchronous motor,  without a way to manipulate the rotor on the fly,   and the fact the motors were installed inside this enclosed cast casing, cooling air for the motor was a problem in many locations.

Many designs had been tried over the years,   and none ever succeeded,  the motor was completely non standard in every area, from mounting, double shafts for the tachometer and drive end,  plus no rotor design was ever going to resolve the speed issue.

Once we reverse engineered the internal mechanical issues,   instead of trying to have a motor manufactured,   which was useless anyway,  I came up with a solution using the existing motors.

I gutted the single phase windings,  designed with probably 30 prototypes, a three phase winding for the existing shell.  But that left one more issue, speed and the only power available was single phase.

Using today's technology of induction motor speed control,  we also designed a single to three phase convertor,  and combined in the ability to adjust frequency,  [like speeding up a generator] but with way more range and control.

We installed the redesigned motor now three phase,  built a mounting system for the control system,   increased the frequency and torque to the three phase motor,  and the same 115 volt pig tail was used for the main supply. No changes were obvious from the existing fit form and function, but the results were remarkable.

The NWS was able to get their 1800 RPM constant feedback with zero fluctuations,  and were able to track the balloons,  until the balloon rose so high in the atmosphere it burst,  A change of a few miles,   to whatever range their signal could travel.

Anyone interested in learning more about the inner workings of the NWS I am happy to answer what I can.

Hello Fellow Safety Advocates!  My name is Jonathan David Marshall, KD0SVK, and I am a NEW HAM OPERATOR.  Currently I am operating on a 2 meter/70 cm HT. I got my license in August of this year, and I am excited to put my radio to use in any way that I can...I am in the process of getting some other equipment up and running asap.  I am also a weather spotter as of February 2012, although with the drought in Iowa there's not much spotting to do in my area!

I think that part of the National Preparedness is to make ourselves available via communication methods by keeping an eye out when Amber Alerts are activated.  I know that this sounds complex, but as Ham Operators, I feel that we can do our SMALL PART BY PROVIDING A DESCRIPTION OF THE INFORMATION AS PROVIDED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.  After all, have you ever seen a SLOW moving kidnapper? NOPE! True, they are going to be moving fast, but I believe with a keen eye, the right equipment at the time on hand, and safe driving we can help law enforcements via our observations and reports ONLY, and help return kidnapped children safely.  Maybe Hams would be willing to do this as a volunteer in time of crisis (kidnappings and lost children and adults) by forming a separate Organization from ARES OR RACES, SUCH AS: OPERATION HAM ALERT? THIS CAN ALSO BE DONE FOR MAN-MADE AND NATURAL DISASTERS.




Jonathan - I think this is a great idea, and I hope you get some positive feedback on it. I suggest you try to coordinate with a local Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program. VIPS is a partner program under Citizen Corps which provides support and resources for agencies interested in developing or enhancing a volunteer program and for citizens who wish to volunteer their time and skills with a community law enforcement agency. The program’s ultimate goal is to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers. You can find a directory of local VIPS programs at

Powered by GovDelivery.