First things first. Spring has arrived in the Twin Cities; at long last! I’ve got my first backpacking trip of the season roughed out. I’m looking forward to getting out on the Superior Hiking Trail with my Yaesu 817ND, a LDG 817 tuner, and a homebrew 10-40m random wire antenna using 18 ga speaker wire, a 4:1 Unun, and a counterpoise ground wire -see design by offgridham. I’ll follow-up with my results in a future post.
Planning the SHT trip is fun, but doing it will be GREAT. Also working out the details of hiking from Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch along the Appalachian Trail (AT) up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire – The Presidential Range. And that’s just the start of this hiking season! Gotta get out west too!
I’ll also get the grand-kids out on the trail this summer. More than ever, I realize that you’ve gotta do it while you can do it. Live life to it’s fullest, and get out on the trail, out along the ridges and up on the mountain tops!
“CQ, CQ, CQ… This is KEØGZT, my handle is Mike, I’m QRP from the Section 13 dome along the SHT on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Is anyone out there? CQ, CQ, CQ. This is KEØGZT, kilo, echo, zero, golf, zulu, tango. Over!
And now, the main event – Amateur Radio and Emergency Comms. I’ve mentioned my interest in emergency communications (and amateur radio) in past posts. I’ve also mentioned the common concern of amateur radio clubs across the country -how to grow the club membership and foster interest in the hobby -how to attract new folks to amateur radio in general, but young members in particular are sought after. In fact, it was emergency communications that slowly drew me to amateur radio a couple of years ago. It seems to be a fairly common reason many folks are attracted to the the radio hobby. I’ve also noticed there seems to be a good presence of current/ex-military folks associated with amateur radio -that makes sense as well, speaking as ex-military myself.
I recently ran across a good article courtesy the ARRL ARES E-Letter, of April 19th. [For the non-radio folks, ARRL is the Amateur Radio Relay League – the national association for Amateur Radio. ARES is the Amateur Radio Emergency Services, which is organized and managed by ARRL’s Field Organization.]
Background -The mission of ARES is to provide communications assistance to local and regional government and relief agencies such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and National Weather Service. ARES may also assist local and regional emergency management agencies or even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if normal communications systems fail.
The article, ‘Emergency Communications Driving Increase in Amateur Radio Operators,’ by James Careless, appeared in the April 11th issue of Emergency Management magazine. In the article, ARRL VEC Manager Maria Somma, AB1FM, notes that 2016 was the third year in a row that the total number of new licenses exceeded 30,000. Other ARRL managers go on to reference ARES, and describe emergency communications as being a gateway into amateur radio. It is an interesting read.
I’ve met a few local radio operators in recent months who are associated with Minnesota ARES. I’ll look at joining the later part of this year. My first priority is upgrading my FCC license to General, and getting more on-air experience, thus improving my operational proficiency. My second priority is hiking and backpacking this season. My third priority is ARES!
If you’re interested in amateur radio, but not an ARRL member, Join ARRL today! ARRL membership includes QST, Amateur Radio’s popular and informative journal, delivered to your mailbox each month. The ARES E-Letter is published on the third Wednesday of each month. ARRL members may subscribe at no cost.
73, de Mike, KEØGZT