Finally winter is gone. The leaves are on all the trees . . . and absorbing RF. It’s time for antenna work, Hamfests, and Field Day. Think about insuring that your VHF and UHF path to our great ARPSC repeater system is solid. Check out the mast height, coax connections, and lightning protection. And take a few minutes each Wednesday at 9:00 pm to check into the RACES net. You don’t have to be in Arlington to check in or even be a certified RACES member, although that should be goal. Our robust repeater system has remote receivers to the North, South, East, and West. Regulars and Visitors are always warmly welcomed. Remember 146.625 (- 600) and 447.625 (- 5 MHz) with a PL of 107.2 for each.
Two of my favorites Hamfests are Manassas on Sunday, June 8th and Berryville on August 3rd. If you go switch your HT to 146.625 Simplex and see who from the club is on the grounds.
Field Day is June 28/29. Each year we do something a little different. Check into the Wednesday net for updates. In any case Field Day is the perfect time to review your equipment and state of preparedness should you need to provide emergency communications.
Keep safe, be prepared, and we’ll see you on the radio.
- Gerry, N3EVT
While surfing the Internet recently for information about the early days of broadcast radio in the Washington, DC, area, we came across this interesting website – United States Early Radio History.
While the website is not amateur radio specific, it provides comprehensive history on, for example, early vacuum tube development (1917-1930), and the expansion of amateur radio after World War One. There’s been an interesting parallel between development of amateur and commercial radio over the years.
Another section of the site provides details about early pioneers in radio.
Early Radio History is a good resource.
The World Genesis Foundation has produced a lengthy video (32 minutes) with a new view toward discovering amateur radio. The production received UN funding.
For some, the Marine Corps Marathon is a checkmark on their bucket list. For an elite few it is a 2 1/2 hour Sunday run in the park. For the more casual runner it can be either an adrenalin infused adventure of a lifetime or it can be a grinding painful heartbreak ending in defeat.
For the Hams of the Arlington Radio Public Service Club deployed as Arlington County RACES it was this latter group they were ultimately focused on. The Marine Corps Marathon deploys about 100 volunteer Ham Radio Operators along the 26.2 mile course that winds through the District of Columbia and Virginia. In the planning scenario reports of runners down on the Virginia portion of the course would be radioed to a net control station who would then relay them to Hams assigned to Arlington Fire/EMS. Five of your colleagues were that last crucial link in the chain. Doc (KG4YIU) and Gerry (N3EVT) set up shop in a Battalion Chief’s office just off the floor of the County’s 911 call center.
That is because for marathon day Arlington County set up an separate independent 3 person dispatch system. This provided a robust response capability without involving Arlington’s 911 system. In order for Doc or Gerry to provide Arlington Fire/EMS with the necessary requests for ambulance transport they needed to get that information from Net Control. That critical link was accomplished by Peter (KB2ERV) and Don (KI4FON) stationed outside the building in a sophisticated vehicle with a reliable VHF & UHF link to Net Control or any operator on the course.
In addition Bill (K4WGB) was set up at his home away from the race course and the Arlington Fire/EMS location. Bill monitored the major race nets and maintained a direct UHF link with us. He was one more redundant capability we established on race day. The temperature on Sunday was moderate, not too cool and not too warm. Our experience has been that temperatures in or approaching 70 cause great distress for runners and many calls for aid. When the final numbers are shared I am sure that we will find out that this was a light year, thankfully. Unlike other hams participating in the Marathon our function has a dual focus: we are not only supporting Navy Medical’s role in the Marine Corps Marathon but we are supporting Arlington Fire/EMS in our RACES capacity. We are fortunate that our active RACES members are trained, experienced and dedicated.
Getting up at three in the morning Is probably not everyone’s first choice on how to start your day. We are also fortunate to have members who have unique capabilities. Doc (KG4YIU) provides us access to official places that are difficult or impossible for the average citizen to just walk into. It seemed he was known and welcomed everywhere we went.
Peter (KB2ERV) is a federal law enforcement officer who is generous in sharing his sophisticated electronic assets. This was an organized team effort involving not only the five Hams on-site race day, but many others behind the scene. The marathon is also a “drill” for RACES. It gives us an opportunity to exercise responding to a communication need quickly and efficiently. We implemented a plan on race day based on our collective experience, collective assets, and minimal advance staging. Of course with any plan it’s always important to be mindful of the need to be flexible and adaptable. That comes with experience. And the lessons from the Marathon are easily transferable to any incident or event that we might face. If you’d like to be part of this action in the future, reinvigorate yourself in RACES, make sure you’re training is current, and commit to checking into the weekly RACES net each Wednesday night. See you on the radio. Gerry, N3EVT