Hamming it up

Hams prepare for emergencies

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Courtesy photo Quint Webb, W7CQW, left, operates the radio transceiver while Ed Stuckey, AI7H, right, logs the field day contacts.

This past weekend the world got a little smaller. Every fourth weekend in June since 1933 Amateur Radio operators (Hams) have participated in Field Day.

This activity stresses emergency preparedness. These hams created the largest non-commercial emergency network world-wide during this 24-hour period.

On average more than 35,000 amateurs, both radio clubs and individuals got together to operate for the maximum hours. Each operator or organization goal was to contact as many other amateur stations as possible.

While some treat field day as a contest, most groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities.

The local radio club, KARS (Kootenai Amateur Radio Society) got involved by assembling a portable radio station in the hills of Post Falls.

Normally they would have setup in a park to be seen by the general public. With Ironman in full swing, this secondary location was chosen. KARS crew members under the direction of Ed Stuckey, AI7H, directed the quick deployment of portable antennas and simple but effective radio masts.

Each amateur station requires two operators, one to make contacts and the other to log the necessary contact information. Operating this year was taken to a higher level with abnormal weather which produced less than ideal conditions.

Bonnie Patterson, WG6QQM, KARS Club President stated, "we enjoy this yearly event to practice emergency preparedness and train ourselves to be better operators."

She went on to say, "our older hams act as Elmers (helpers) for both the new and younger members."

The Kootenai Amateur Radio Society is open to all ages. They meet on the second Monday of every month at the Search and Rescue building in Hayden.

Directions can be found on the KARS website. http://www.k7id.org.

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