Writer Meets Editor

For the last year I have been submitting a few articles to  1st Responder News Network. The Editor Lindsey Palmer was really impressed with my skills.  When I found out she was going to be in Wilwood during the NJ Firefighter's Convention, I knew I had to meet her. Lindsey has been nothing but supportive of all my work. She put a photo of mine on the front page of the September 2019 edition. A copy of it is hanging over my desk. anyway below is the email exchange over a few weeks. We  really had a profound impact on each other as you can tell

---- Original Message ----
From: "Justin Mattes-KC2GIK" 
Sent: 9/16/2019 5:38:25 PM
To: "Lindsey Palmer" 
Subject: Wildwood


I have to keep reminding myself you must be very busy  in the office
today. It was great to finally meet you in person last Friday. I know my
speech is very difficult to understand but I again want to thank you for
allowing me to contribute to 1st Responder.  You have given me a way to
contribute to the fire service. The September issue is hanging right over
my computer. The front page picture gave me a real sense of

 I grew up in Woodcliff Lake and was always hopping on my scooter whenever
the fire whistle went off, I did it close to twenty years. Days before I
moved the department had a going away dinner for me.  At the end of
dinner Chief Lucia presented me with a helmet and made me an honorary
member.I have been going to Wildwood since I moved  to Cape May the
summer of 2015. When I moved to Cape May the fire department welcomed me
with open arms.They love seeing their names on the web and in print!! I
treasure my relationship with both departments.
Enclosed is the picture my mom took of us, I wanted you to have a copy!!!

Take care

Justin Mattes-KC2GIK

Hi Justin!

Meeting you was the highlight of my trip this year. It's not too often that
correspondents go out of their way to thank me or acknowledge things I do for them
in the newspaper, so it really meant a lot when you did. You made me feel really
special and I thank you for that.

On another note, we have a feature called "Meet Our Correspondents" that I'd love to
run about you! The background info you gave below would be perfect for it. Would
that be okay with you? After it prints you'll have another proud accomplishment to
hang next to your cover shot :)

I'd also like to send you a 1st Responder News polo and/or tee shirt. We're excited
and very grateful to have you represent us! What size should I send?

Again, it was wonderful meeting you and I'm looking forward to working with you
more. Don't hesitate to email me if you need anything at all.

PS: I was going to ask you for the photo of us, so thank you for sending it!

Talk to you soon,

Lindsey Palmer, Managing Editor
1st Responder News


The Alphabet test

Every so often some silly quiz pops up on Facebook to get to know people better. Then people started realizing that some of the answers could be used as questions to reset passwords. However I scanned this latest quiz and realize there isn't one piece of information I gave that could be used for a password so here are my answers

A- Age: 41`
B- Biggest Fear:Dying without ever falling in love
C- Current Time: 9:15
D- Drink you last had: milk
E- Easiest Person To Talk to: Sean Sokoly
F- Favorite Song: Fire and Rain (by James Taylor)
G- Ghosts, are they real: Yes
H- Hometown: Woodcliff Lake
I- In love with: shall remain unknown
J- Jealous Of: No one
K- Killed Someone? NOPW
L- Last time you cried? Yesterday morning
M- Middle Name: I DON'T HAVE ONE
N- Number of Siblings: 2
P- Person who you last called: My Brother Chris Mattes
Q- Question you're always asked: How did you get bed
R- Reason to smile: God and all HIS GLORY and License Plates
S- Song last sang: City of New Orleans
T- Time you woke up: 9:30 AM
U- Underwear Color-BLUE
V- Vacation Destination: FLORIDA
X- X-Rays you've had: TOO MANY TO XCOUNT
Y- Your favorite food: MEATBALLS
Z-Zodiac Sign PIECES


Straw ban compromise

"For about a year or two cities have been slowly banning single use plastic straws to reduce the environmental impact. hey whine about how all plastics are harming marine life and need to be banned immediately.No phasing out, just banned, thanks to Mayor DiBlasio, New York City is leading the way along with Berkley and Oakland in California. Ironically in San Francisco it's easier to get drugs than it is to get a plastic straw. Monmouth Beach in my home state of New Jersey are following the lead. Guess I;m not going to Monmouth Beach any time soon.  If Cape May tries to issue a  citywide straw ban you bet I will be right there to protest it!!!

Big companies like Starbucks and the ice cream giant Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream have "gone green" with their paper straws!! Some have even stopped giving out straws completely you need to ask for  just a paper straw and then you are looked at like you just asked for drugs.  Well if plastic straws are worse than drugs, I'm addicted! I shouldn't feel guilty for asking for something I need to drink without spilling it all over myself. 

 Like all bans there are unintended consequences, especially for people with disabilities like me who use plastic straws to drink. I, along with other folks, have tried the paper straws, they do break down and I wound up using three paper straws for one drink because they do break down. Actually they are getting better but they still have a long way to becoming usable. I also tend to bite on my straws and unlike their plastic counterparts, they can't be bent back into place too easily. They rip and actually cause a bigger mess than plastic straws.  Bars like a quick cleanup so the wet paper straws cause such a mess and are harder to wipe off a table or the bar. Of course all] the inconveniences mean nothing to people trying to save the planet. They blindly follow junk science. Straws make up a fraction of the waste. It always amazes me Starbucks fills a cup only to put on a plastic lid and then expect people to use paper straws  I consider  it a trade off because a large people with disabilities use public transportation anyway, their carbon footprint is a fraction of those who drive care.  There is a compromise here, give people the choice.  Start with issuing paper straws but then give people an option to switch to plastic. Also a majority of plastic straw users don't have a problem with reusing the same straw for ;multiple drinks, especially if it hey're drinking the same beverage. I have done this year before a  plastic straw ban was even on the radar

I have actually started to take some mental notes on how restaurants around  Cape May deal with this issue. The Ugly Mug and Delany's still use plastic straws. The breweries have switched to paper, some straws are stronger. I went into the new Exit Zero down the street and the straw the use aren't paper, but the y are biodegradable and I can use them in multiple drinks, Harry's has paper straws and I had a few Pina  Colodas  a nd asked for a new straw every drink. I order bottled beer instead the next time I went.  Of course the VFW next door still hjas the classic bendy straws just like the ones I use at home. I think I'll start carrying my own disposable straws around on my scooter. Just hope I won't see the day you can't be arrested for drugs but can be arrested for using a plastic straw in public!!


Knocking on Knoxville's Door Part II

I convinced my folks to drive out to my brother Chris's   house by Trenton to meet Ed instead of having Ed drive down to Cape May! As I said in the previous entry, Ed explained  in an email he wanted to do some sightseeing on the way down to Knoxville. I was a b it concerned ' a long four day car ride wouldn't be good for my back, but I figured I would give it a try.  Some of the members of the license plate group are also members of the Extra Miler Club which is a group of folks that try to visit every county in the United States. There's a website called mob-rule.com which allows you to keep track of how many counties you visited.  I have been trying to keep up and remember all of my travels. Ed mapped out our route to maximize the number of counties we could complete between New Jersey and Tennessee. That's why you see we dipped into Ohio and Indiana which were also two new states under my belt.  The back roads were windy  but it was definitely worth it and the entire time I keep thinking to myself, "I'll never have this chance in my life again" So I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. While we mainly took highways from PA out to OH, by the time we got to Kentucky we traveled all through the rolling hills. We tasting some fine Kentucky bourbon, toured a horse farm and just enjoy each other'a company as friends. \

One of the definite more somber moments of the trip was a visit to Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace in  Hodgenville, Kentucky, the county  seat of La Rue County. Yes I climbed all fifty-six steps, one for every year of his life, without a lot of assistance. It was definitely an accomplishment after sitting the the car for what seemed forever.  I found out more about him than I ever did in school and gained a knew appreciation for a man I already admired. d and I had some bumps in the road sort to speak , m y phone mysteriously decided to die the first night of our trip!! !

Read Part I


Knocking on Knoxville's Door--Part I

I forgot to post these series of emails to the blog!! Below is a  I have since been to Knoxville and back! Since this was written before  the trip I decided to do a number of posts about the epic trip I took to the 65th ALPCA Convention in Knoxville, Tennessee. I will devote a few posts to include the road trip with Ed Butler, a fellow New Jersey ALPCA member, the convention itself and the achievements I had along the way. Ed and I joined  ALPCA around the same time so we grew in the club together. He knew I wanted to go to this convention because the next convention is in Tulsa Oklahoma, a lot harder to get to from Cape May!! Knoxville was hard enough!! Like in previous post about travel I will break this down into multiple posts Ed and I casually talked about driving to Knoxville together  dates back to early April! As he mentioned in his e-mail we did indeed do some sightseeing, but more about that later!!!1

Ed's Original E-mail:

 Hi Justin,

 I hope you've been well these last number of months.  Since you couldn't
make it to Pennington last October, I haven't seen you since Valley
Forge last summer!  It's been too long man!

 I thought it would be easier to convey my thoughts in an email about
Knoxville than in a text; it allows for more space than a text.

 To get to the point - there could be room for you in my BMW going to
Knoxville in late June.  Some thoughts below.

 .         I am not going straight to Knoxville.  I have a planned
sightseeing trip through West Virginia and Kentucky on my way south to
Knoxville.  I am leaving the Friday night before the convention with a
 out to Carlisle, PA to tee up my trip.  I will be travelling through WV and
 KY that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on my way to Knoxville.

 o   Are you interested joining me?  If so, you would need to find a way
 get from south of Exit 0 and meet up with me in SW NJ.  I believe your
brother lives somewhere south of the Trenton area.  Can your parents
 you to your brother's that Friday before the convention?

 .         How much will you be bringing?  Reason I ask is I am going to
 selling off virtually all of my New York non-passenger plates at the
convention, so I will be more packed with plates than I normally am.
Hopefully I won't be bringing them home with me.  I will likely be
 my hand truck.  Another important question: How much room does your
 scooter require?

 .         Since I am driving to Knoxville, I may be taking off either
late  Friday or by daybreak Saturday morning.  I don't have an exact timetable
for  when I'd be back in NJ other than my ETA in Jersey would be likely early
Sunday, with an overnight stay somewhere.  If you came with me, I again
would ask that you arrange to be picked up somewhere in SW NJ.

 Justin - you're more than welcome to join me if you are open to making what
 I said above work for you.  With that said, I don't want to force you
into any decision.  I just wanted to make all of my thoughts clear to you.  I
encourage you to talk it over with your parents / brother / etc. and
 the decision that's best for you.  You're still my friend one way or the

 Give it a think and get back to me when you can.

 Take care.


Post to the ALPCA Discussion List:
Define an accomplishment---  Well you folks who know, some many not, know getting to conventions has been tricky for me, some more memorable than others. I got my folks to go to Niagra Falls in 2002. I then convinced them to take me to Providence over their anniversary in 2004 . I met a good friend Rick Kretschmer for the first time in 2007 when we bunked in Huntsville in 2007. For my 30th birthday in 2008 my folks said I could go anywhere "within reason" I chose the convention in Salt Lake City. I dragged them out to Erie in 2009. I flew through a tornado to get to the 2010 convention in Dallas. My folks again took to the road to drive me to the convention in West Virginia in 2011 barely got back from Des Monies in 2012. I had trouble getting home from Rochester in 2014. I fought for Rogers Arkansas in 2015. I went from Rome Italy right to the 2018 convention in Valley Forge Pennsylvania! Without making this post long I can just say I AM IN FOR KNOXVILLE, 100%!!! SEE YOU THERE!!!

Justin Mattes 6748


Three years of Cape May scanning

As I( mentioned before t he scanning in Cape May is difference than the scanning in Bergen County. Fist of all Bergen County is divided into seventy towns, each, expect Teterboro has their own fire department and they have about 20 separate dispatch frequencies while Cape May has a countywide dispatch with a few notable exceptions, namely Upper Township. I haven't managed to memorize all the stations so I have a quick cheat sheet. Sadly some of the towns have gone to newer NJICS statewide system,

When I first moved my two base scanners down here. Let's do the simpler scanner first I originally wanted to use the BCT-15 just for scanning Cape May City and marine traffic only but then I remembered I had the NY, Boston and DC Air Traffic Control Centers in there from up north. It became clear that the public safety and marine traffic might be limited so I decided to keep the Centers in there,, I added the local airports. Which is all I need. When something happens in Cape May I simply turn off the statewide system and just scan Cape May City proper. It doesn't happen too often but I am happy to be able to do it with one keystroke

The 996T remains my work horse, I have all of what I have in the BCT15 and a whole lot more. I realized I am exactly due east of Washington, DC so I put a lot more military air frequencies in and they are quite a bit more active than in Northern New Jersey. I got a list from a few folks in the Maryland and Virginia areas. I am extremely impressed with the amount of military traffic I can get. Two factors are I am due east of Washington and can almost get them daily. As a matter of fact I get three or four weather channels during the summer

Both scanners are hooked up to whip antenna using a multicoupler which will hopefully be replaced with an outdoor antenna eventually@!! I kick myself because my dad constantly reminded me to get simple wires to run to the attic before he finished it but I couldn't do it in time Though I am happy with the setup and there's still hope!!!

BCD996T Layout

Cape May County System Quick Key 1

Group 1: Cape May City which includes West Cape May and Cape May Point (CMPD patrols all of them and their FD's

Group 2: Lower, Middle and Upper Townships., Ocean City, Sea Isle

Group 3: Wildwoods
Group 4:Countywide which includes Countywide Fire Dispatch and the fire ground channels. which is mainly te

Group 5: "Congress Hall" I should really relabel it "Cape Resorts" which is the management company that runs Congress Hall and about a dozen other properties around Cape May They make references to "Star Resorts which is a separate motel across the street.  They have thirteen different frequencies

Group 6: Businesses which include Morey's Pier and a few othj

 New Jersey State Quick Key 2

Group 1: Mutual Aid, which includes the SPEN channels, ITAC,UTAC & VTAC channels.
Group 2: NJ Conventional, Garden State Parkway,
Group 3 NJ DEP,  which includes the forest fire
Group 4: Aviation, both Civilian and Military-- The military is HUGE down here, I only
Group 5: Federal

Misc NJ/DE/MD Quick Key 3
Group 1: Atlantic County Fire VHF channels
Group 2: Cumberland County
Group 3: Salem  County
Group 4: Sussex County DE The police departments are all on 700MHz and encrypted but the FDs still

NJSP 800MHz Trunked Quick Key 4

Scratch Quick Key 5

Group 1 NJ Civil Air Patrol
Group 2 Inputs
Group 3
Group 4 Low Band
Group 5: Aircraft
Group 6 Ham Radio
Group 7
Marine SEARCH Quick Key 6

Railroad SEARCH Quick Key 7

BCT15 Layout

Cape May City System Quick Key 1

Group 1:Cape May City which includes West Cape May and Cape May Point (CMPD patrols all of them and their FD's

Group 2: Lower Township Fire ONLY rarely use it but decided it was a good idea

 New Jersey State System Quick Key 2

Group 1: Mutual Aid, which includes the SPEN channels, ITAC,UTAC & VTAC channels.
Group 2: NJ Conventional, Garden State Parkway,
Group 3 NJ DEP,  which includes the forest fire
Group 4: Aviation, both Civilian and Military-- The military is HUGE down here, I only

Marine Search Quick Key 3 Rarely used, f


Florida Lighthouse Road Trip

T o break up  the winter in Cape May  this year my mother planned a trip to Florida to visit my uncle in Jacksonville a few weeks ago! It was a different kind of trip; in that we didn't stay in one place we explored to entire East Coast of Florida. We spent the weekend with my Uncle Chuck who moved down to Jacksonville a few years ago for work. He has been back up north quite a few times but this year it was time to repay the visit. We spent a total of ten days in  Florida and spent most of the time at his house with a road trip to Palm Beach and then onto
Key West in between.

One of the unexpected excursion of the trip was a detour to the  Fort Clinch located on the St. Mary's River..  They have character reenactments and other demonstrations. I took the scooter all over t he grounds and explored the different buildings! The weather wasn't the greatest but it didn't interfere with my pictures too much as you can see above

The major goal of the trip was taking pictures of as many lighthouses, mom and dad really were good sports about it!! St John's Lighthouse w hich is located inn Mayport on a military  installation, hence the barbed wire. I tried my best to avoid the fence but the picture above was the best shot I could get. We didn't stick around so I really couldn't get a better  angle but time was running out

Next up was the Amelia  Island Lighthouse. Definitely ten times easier to photograph. We parked right next to it so the shots were perfect!!  We were also the only people on the grounds so I really took my time. Even though I couldn't actually climb the lighthouse I still managed to snap a grand total of about fifty pictures.  My parents were walking around the grounds while  I   rushed around trying to  get all the angles possible

After a two day  ride from Jacksonville down the  East Coast to Key West. Although the other two lighthouses were wonderful it was great to actually CLIMB the 88 steps to the top of the Key West Lighthouse built in 1848!!! This was nothing compared to the 199 steps of the  Cape May Lighthouse.  

The view from the top of the Key West Lighthouse was so amazing, I tried to get a panoramic shot.  I was nervous I would drop my camera, even though the strap was securely around my neck. So the shot didn't  come out quite as I planned, but I can't complain. Also the camera was acting funny, I thought I had lost almost all my shots, so I didn't want to mess with perfection@!! ! 


David Hogg and Nick Sandmann

During the last few days everyone has been taking sides over the standoff between Nick- Sandmann and  Nathan Phillips at the March for Life protest over the weekend. I have seen more footage =than most and my conclusion is Nathan Phillips, a supposed "elder" of an Indian tribe for whatever reason starting harassing Pro-Life high school students, some of them wearing Donald Trump hats. The students of course tried to ignore him but when it was obvious he wasn't budging, an "incident" occurred. I label it an "incident" because it seems to me Nathan Phillips went up to the students, started beating his drum and the students reacted. The actual interaction is up for debate, some called it an argument, while others said it was a scuffle.All I saw was Nick Sandmanmn just standing there while Nathan Phillips Truth of the matter is even with over an hour of video floating out there on the Internet, the "meeting" is still up for debate. Adding to the confusion Nathan Phillips was harassed earlier by a total separate group, the Black Isrealities which for whatever reason has been played down.

The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders weighed in saying the pro-life students deserve to be heard. Enter David Hogg, the Stoneman Douglass High School student who rose to fame as a leader in the anti-gun movement after the shooting at his school. He is glorified by the anti-gun crowd as some kind of crusader. In reality while his heart is in the right Hogg criticized Sanders because he felt she was more  understand of Nick  Sandmann's pro-life  position, while in his mind dismissing his own position. The problem is Hogg is always accusing people who disagree with him as attacking him. With a 4.0 GPA you would think Hogg would understand people defending their positions need defending, even  if they don't always agree.

There are a couple of vast differences between David Hogg and Nick Sandmann. While they are both activists  for what the believe in, Hogg is on the attack while Sandmann is really only seen as defending. Sandmann is defending his pro-life positions. Sandmann gave a handful of interviews about what  happened, David Hogg has sought every camera or microphone under the sun David Hogg is trying to radically change the country, specifically the gun laws. David Hogg has been propped up by the pres, Nick Sandmann has been  attacked by the press.  David Hogg is often incoherent while Nick Sandmann has a straight message. David Hogg might pop up when the 2020 presidential campaign, I doubt we'll see Nick Sandmann be active supporting candidates.

All this being said both groups were standing up for what they believe in, which should bee applauded. While we must encourage the next generation of leaders we must warn them a message isn' t the only thing you need. It's extremely valuable to study both sides of an argument. Both David Hogg and Nick Sandmann have a lot to learn. I encourage t hem to keep up their efforts and lead the next generation of political activism


2018 Year Reflections

I sent t he following e-mail to a select friends, then I realized I haven't written an entry in quite awhile!! Talk about killing two birds with one stone. It takes the place of about ten entries so if you're reading it have a happy and safe 2019!



Happy New Year-- 2019!! First and foremost this IS NOT a chain email! I'm not promising a million dollars for every time you forward this e-mail. Just want to wish all of you a happy new year and highlight what I have been up to in 2018. From getting my first article published about a fire here in Cape May, celebrating my 40th birthday with my dad, brothers, uncle and a handful of friends,to travelling with the family to Italy, it has been a wonder 2018. I won't dwell on each one too much but need to express both my gratitude  for th e past and hopes for the future

As I turned 40 I realized I need to get into the 21st century so I traded in my LG SLIDE PHONE for an  Iphone 5S!! Yes ladies and gentleman I only got a smart phone less than a year ago. The learn curve wasn't as much of a challenge as physically setting up the apps and realizing I am actually better of holding it with my right hand and operating it with my left. I have a habit of asking for the wifi password everywhere I go and can say the novelty of "checking-in" on Facebook, HAS NOT worn off. My phone number remains the same:

I broke my dry streak when it came to writing in Cape May, sure I always kept writing since moving down   here, but it  wasn't until June 8th of this year that I could finally add to my growing list of "Publication Dates". Unfortunately it was about a devastating church fire in Cape May.  I hopped on the scooter, drove to the scene  (which was right across the street from the firehouse) and shot pictures.. Somehow the CBS station saw my photos and used them both on their website and their broadcast about the fire itself!!  Then in August I wrote a blog bout ham radio and National Night Out, as a fluke I sent it to a ham who used to live in  NJ and moved out to Nevada. He asked me if he could publish i t in a newsletter he edits. During the last few months I have become a
correspondent for 1st Responder News. Besides that church fire in June I managed to get pictures and articles published about a car accident down here, a three alarm fire in Sea Isle NJ and the annual West Cape May Christmas Parade

In  November I was a photographer for the annual Exit Zero Jazz FestivaL. I was issued a press pass and had access to all[ the venues. There I was with my trusty point and shoot camera photographing act from all over the world. For three days I was shooting performances, which caught up with me by Sunday night. Some of my work wound up on the Exit Zero Facebook Page and website.

Writing and photography aren't the only things keeping me busy, I can now say I am a world traveler as well. My mom dad and I, along with aunts, uncle and cousins, traveled to  Italy  the end of June!! It's the first time I used my   passport! We enjoyed the sights of Rome for a few days  before spending  the bulk of our time  in Tuscany! Eleven of us rented a villa complete with a vineyard. I managed to write a poem using the Iphone while sipping on a fine Italian red wine! We literally went straight from the airport to Valley F orge  Pennsylvania where I attended the annual license plate convention!!

It wouldn't be a proper e-mail without mentioning family! My brother  Chris and his wife Natalie celebrated their 11 anniversary this past November. My nephew Zander is now nine and my niece Quinn has turned seven. I think about them all the time. Pete and his wife Sue are doing fine. We divided our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between both houses. There's a picture of me sleeping in Quinn's bed on Christmas. Rest assured  I have my dreaming about unicorns ever since. This past October my cousin Kristin got married to a wonderful guy, Jason. This is my Uncle Sal's youngest daughter. Both mom and dad have had some medical issues this year which although nothing serious still is a reminder we're ALL getting older. Their friends from up north came down to Cape May for New Years, which is always fun. They walk 2 miles almost every day.

This note is long enough so I will say so long for now. My parting thought I think of all of you often and hope you are doing well. MY New Year's Resolution is to try to reconnect with the folks I have lost touch with over the years.

Cheers and Best wishes for 2019!!!

Justin Mattes