Amateur Radio and Emergency Comms

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.


Heading for the SHT with my 817ND

Heading for the SHT with my 817ND


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!


Studying and planning a couple get-aways

Studying and planning a couple of get-aways is always fun!


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


About Mike Hohmann

I did lots of camping/hiking as a kid in the Scouts, and I still strive to 'be prepared.' After high school, I got bored with more school and enlisted in the Army Corps. of Engineers, doing two tours in Vietnam. Post military, I completed BS and MBA degrees and spent several decades with Corporate America, working mostly in the areas of conventional and renewable energy. I also spent over a decade as a self-employed small business consultant in marketing and finance. As a young family man with a wife and two kids, we spent many vacations camping and hiking in northern Minnesota. I spent additional long weekends fishing the rivers and camping/hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior. I retired early and hit the trails hard-- in the lower-48, Alaska, and western Canada. These days I backpack, car-camp and day-hike, go snowshoeing, and try to get the grand-kids out to teach them the ways of the trail. Other interests include American Revolutionary War and Civil War history, 19th and 20th century firearms, Native American history; business and macroeconomics. I'm a recently-licensed amateur (Ham) radio operator, and I look forward to many radio-related adventures in coming months. Life is good! Member, Superior Hiking Trail Association; Member, Appalachian Mountain Club; Member, REI; Member, ARRL- Amateur Radio Relay League, the National Assoc. for Amateur Radio; Twin Cities Metro Skywarn Spotter; Twin City FM Club; Richfield Amateur Radio Club; QRP ARCI, Low-Power Amateur Radio Club International; Honorary Member, Toronto QRP Society; Life Member, National Rifle Association
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4 Responses to Amateur Radio and Emergency Comms

  1. Tricia says:

    Yes Mike, spring has definitely sprung, finally! Sounds like you’ve got some cool trips coming up, looking forward to the posts on them.

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      Yes, Tricia. I’m looking forward to good hiking and backpacking and some radio work this spring, summer and fall. Then I’ll be hoping for lots of snow! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Don’t wait to join ARES/RACES. Sign up now. Nearly all local work is done on VHF/UHF, so a Technician license is great.

    Joining is usually filling out a form, maybe attending an orientation if the group is really organized. You’ll join the most local group, usually a city or county ARES/RACES.

    Start checking in to the weekly net for your area. That is the most important skill to learn, working in a directed net. Start building that skill now.

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      Thanks Walter, I’ve already met some of the ARES folks and will likely join in the fall. Already working club nets and building antennas, and studying for General upgrade… and have some hikes to do. Thanks for stopping by and return again soon. 73 de Mike, KEØGZT

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