So a few weeks ago, I ran the Benton County ARES and roundtable net. My mom, KE0LMY, and our unofficial mascot, Foxtrot the singing fox, were there to help.
As a short explanation, the Benton County ARES net is to test repeater coverage and provide training, along with promoting cooperation within the HAM radio community. The roundtable net is after it, when we can all talk about our lives and what we’ve been up to in an informal setting.
While I was preparing to run it, I was extremely nervous. I stuttered a bit on the script when I read it out, but the script made it easier. I got sixteen check-ins on that net, and it was actually a lot of fun to talk to everyone! They didn’t mind the mistakes I made, such as when I read the script too fast or read the wrong part.
I also passed my first traffic, creating a radiogram to report my numbers from the net to KE0LMY. KY0O told me I did well and offered me some advice so I can do even better next time!
I was actually only planning to run the ARES net, but then I went ahead and ran the roundtable net as well, since Mom, W0YQG, and KY0O were waiting for it to start. They told me I did well. As I continued to talk to everyone, I felt less nervous and it was more fun!
If you want to try running a net, here’s some advice. You should have any script ready that goes with your net, and have some questions to ask the people checking in, such as “How has your day been?” or “Do you have any traffic for the net?” You should also have a notepad and/or logging software ready to record names and callsigns. Remember though, you should have a plan for if someone breaks in with emergency traffic, such as having an adult take over contact, or you could ask for the person’s name, location, the nature of the emergency, if there are any injuries, and other important information.
So all in all, it was a lot of fun. I would certainly like to do it again, but I’ll have to try not to stutter as much next time.
Our December meeting fell on the ninth of the month. I brought our new unofficial mascot, Foxtrot the fox. But instead of telling you about our experience, I’ll let you all hear it from him!
Me: Mr. Foxtrot, how did you feel about the December meeting?
Foxtrot: Well, it was really fun! I got to meet all of the members of the BC ARES and I was there when you guys presented Miss Kelly Stanfield with her radio.
Me: Yes, that was a big thing. Our visibly impaired friend and fellow Ham, Kelly Stanfield, had gotten her Extra Class license the weekend prior, and we all pitched in money to buy her an HF radio.
Foxtrot: Ooh, that was nice of you guys.
Me: Yeah, we have a bunch of articles about it. Anyway, you got to show off, correct?
Foxtrot: Yeah. I can dance, I can sing, and I can be felt by people who can’t see! Miss Kelly and Mister Craig seemed to like me.
Me: I think everyone liked you. You were pretty funny.
Foxtrot: Why thank you. But I’m just here to be entertaining, meanwhile, you and your mom made gift bags for each and every person! I watched you put those together for at least two months, definitely more! Of course, I can’t keep track of time because I’m a toy fox.
Me: Well, thank you for noticing the work we put in. Now, Mr. Foxtrot, what do you think about being out unofficial mascot?
Foxtrot: Man, you keep throwing around that “unofficial” word, we know I can’t be official so let’s just assume I’m “unofficial”, okay? But what do I think about it… Well, I feel like I need to help out with all of the important radio stuff!
Me: You know you’d need a license to actually talk on the radio, right?
Foxtrot: So? I can find other ways to be useful and helpful! Someone has to be entertaining while everyone else sets up the radios.
Me: You can help us get younger kids interested in Ham Radio. After all, groups like ours need a fluffy little mascot to entertain the younger audience.
Foxtrot: Enter…me! I’m the most entertaining thing anyone will ever meet!
Me: So what do you feel are your duties as the mascot?
Foxtrot: My duties are to be adorable, help with the radios, and show off my skills to the world!
Me: Your skills being singing, dancing, and being fluffy.
Foxtrot: Absolutely! Now if you don’t mind, I have to go help set up the tabletop exercise for January.
Me: Wait a minute, that’s my job! Come back here! Well, you heard it here first folks. The unofficial BC ARES mascot, Mr. Foxtrot, is here to stay with his singing and dancing and general adorableness! Look for him in future BC ARES group activities like ahem…foxhunts?!?!
This is KEØLMZ, clear.
Hello! KEØLMZ here!
I’m here to tell you about the exciting world of amateur radio and all of the things you can do on it, many of which I haven’t yet tried and am excited to get the chance to experience. I learned I can do things such as talking to people all around the world, contacting the Space Station, helping in emergencies, and creating my own setup of radios.
Using HAM Radio, you can talk to almost every country, near and far, and even the Space Station! You get to meet great people from almost everywhere. There’s also contesting, but at the moment I don’t know enough about that. You can look forward to an editorial detailing my contesting experience at a later date!
You can also send text and pictures using a variety of methods. You can create a network and send texts to friends without the need for phones or Internet. Of course, the radios are still compatible with the Internet. You can investigate many more of the new radio-Internet communication techniques. They can also be used for CW!
You can do a lot more with HAM Radio than just sit around and talk. We have hamfests where many radio operators go to talk and sell their old equipment. We also have things called “fox hunts.” Put simply, you use your radios to find the hidden radio signal by pinpointing its general area. I can’t wait to take part in a fox hunt. After that, I can tell you what the fox REALLY said! *wink* Another option you have is to provide communications for community races or something similar. You could also use your radio to track your friends, pets, and wildlife. You can even use Ham Radio to control models, robots, or drones!
Of course, I am also learning there are even more helpful uses for ham radio. You can help by becoming a weather spotter and help your community prepare for weather events. You can collect weather and flight information by sending up and tracking a high-altitude balloon. You could also support recovery efforts in emergencies!
At the moment, I only have a Baofeng UV-5R5. It’s red because I LOVE red! Mom and Roger are like cats and dogs when it comes to the type of radios they like. Mom’s a Yaesu person and Roger is an ICOM guy. I think they are going to split the ham cave down the center and make one side for Yaesus and the other side for ICOMs! Good thing antennas aren’t brand specific or our house and tower would look like a porcupine!
These are just a few of the things you can use your radio and license for. I hope you have a great time because I know I am!
Note: I used an ARRL pamphlet to research many of these points. I didn’t even know half of them before reading it and I’m glad I did! Now I can do some of these things!
Hello! KEØLMZ here!
Let me tell you about what it was like helping out in the BC ARES Emergency Communications trailer during Warsaw Pioneer Heritage Days. I helped direct people to our trailer during the event because we were set up out towards the edge of Drake Harbor. People didn’t realize that we were part of the booths because we were farther away from the other booths and pretty well hidden. I directed them to our trailer by telling them about what our group does. I also offered pencils with our website on them in a color of their choice.
When I wasn’t talking to people about the BC ARES trailer, I was wandering around the event to look at the different booths. I used a handheld transmitter to stay in contact with the trailer and made sure to tell them when I was heading back or staying out farther and longer. When I had to go find people or deliver messages, I checked in to update the trailer on my progress. I felt very useful, and afterwards I was tired and glad that I could help with the trailer during this event.
That’s what it was like during Heritage Days. I loved it, and look forward to doing the same things when the BC ARES EmComm trailer is deployed to other events.
Hello! KEØLMZ here!
I’m here to talk about what it was like studying for my Technician license, becoming part of BC ARES, and getting on the radio. You’ll have to pardon me, this was about a year ago, so some of this might not be the most in-depth.
I studied HAM radio as part of Science for homeschool. I used flash cards and learned information from forty each week: twenty on Monday, testing those twenty on Tuesday, twenty on Wednesday, testing those twenty on Thursday, and testing all forty on Friday. I’d say it took about eleven weeks, and that worked for me. If you aren’t good with flash cards, I suggest the book or websites that are available.
When it came to taking the test, I was a bit nervous. Even more so when I was waiting to see if I passed. But I did and got my license and later my callsign. I had to wait a few days to get my callsign and be allowed to get on the radio.
But I passed my test and I became part of the BC ARES. The members welcomed me and I felt great about being a part of such a nice group. No one looked down on me for being young because I passed the test and earned a spot in both groups.
Even though I don’t really know much about the radios themselves, I’ve helped set things up. I’ve made dipole and J pole antennas with the group. It’s a lot of fun once you know what you’re doing. Once the antennas work and you get a signal, it’s very satisfying. I helped bring some new ideas to the group and I even act as secretary on occasion!
It’s pretty fun getting on the radio and checking in. It’s not difficult either. Simply find the station, wait for someone to start doing announcements, let them start the net, and deliver your callsign, name, and location. For the callsign, it’s best to deliver it phonetically after spelling it out. For instance, I would say “K E Zero L M Z” and follow it with “Kilo Echo Zero Lima Mike Zulu”, then launch into my first name and the city or town I’m in, even if I’m on the move. After that, there’s usually a little banter about how I’m doing, how the other person is doing, and I sign off with “KEØLMZ, clear” or simply “KEØLMZ, back to net control”.
So yeah, that’s what it was like to study for my license and become part of the group!