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« Thoughts before the Chicago Marathon | Main | Field Day Reflections »

North to Alaska

I am in the middle of packing for a two week trip to Alaska…and before anyone even asks, no, I am not bringing a radio. I know, I should, but as I have become one of the members of the medical team (for which I just took a 40 hours Wilderness Medicine Course), I am going to be burdened with several pounds of medical supplies. This course is terrific in that it really teaches you how to provide first aid, if needed. I also took an American Heart Association CPR and First Aid course and I found it very frustrating because for almost every single condition, they made it clear you should call 911 first, then apply an band-aid or do CPR (if needed). The point here is that we all live in communities that are powerfully connected to multiple health systems and getting care in Glenview, most of the time, should only take a few minutes. Where I am headed, professional medical care might be days away. So, the more first aid you really know, the more likely we can actually help someone. Of course, I am not planning on being bear bait…I don’t have enough gauze for that kind of encounter!

My granddaughter called the other day at 7 a.m. and asked if we could take her and her brother to the outdoor fair in Northbrook, at the Village Green Park. How can I say no to a seven year old? This is the same park where we used to hold our annual Field Day, until the village decided that they needed to have a very sizeable fee for its use. I presume the event organizers paid dearly for the abuse they caused to the lawn from the enormous foot traffic and large carnival equipment that had taken over the small park. Of course, she wanted to ride the Gravitron…it has been a while since I rode on any carnival ride, so I just said sure and went along. We got inside this capsule, which turned out to be a huge centrifuge. We spun around at tremendous speed, blasting my body against the wall. It was really a hoot, if not entirely disorienting but I survived and felt like the real hero grandparent!!! (Thank goodness she didn’t ask to go back, however). At one point, I left her with a couple of friends while I sought out a necessary room. As I was racing along trying to find the port-a-potties, an older guy grabs me and says, “Hey, are you a ham?” I was kind of taken aback. How did he know I was a ham? Did he know me from the Club? Field Day? He was quite friendly and we spoke very briefly…and, after I had found the rest room and was standing in front of one of those silly warped mirrors, it suddenly dawned on me why he knew me…I was wearing my Field Day shirt from 2006!! And here I thought maybe I was famous!

For me personally, this summer has shot by with several out of town trips, and ailing parents to care for, so ham radio other than Field Day has been an afterthought. So, I was grateful to the ham at the park who reminded me of the little community that is shaped by ham radio. I am in the middle of recruiting 110 hams to support the Chicago Marathon, and right now, our numbers are kind of low…then I got an email from one of our long time volunteers from Peoria stating that he would be glad to recruit more hams from his town, to serve two aid stations. It is this sort of thing that always pumps me up about the people who are in this hobby. Hams are indeed friendly as a group, but they are also quick to help when the time comes. We are as concerned about public service as we are about making DX contacts. For that, I am grateful to be part of this fine community. And, by the way, if you want to help out with the Marathon in October or the Evanston Century in September, just drop me a note and I will get you on the mailing lists.

73’s for now…back around the 18th of August, hopefully many photos and stories to tell! I will have to leave the radio work to you folks for now.