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Between now and then

For me personally, this has been a period of total insanity.  I have been able to garner a few more work projects than I normally handle in the fall and this in combination with our busiest public service events makes life around here more than interesting (oh, yes, throw in a total redo of the driveway and all of the work to prepare for the work!)

Still, life goes on…I have gotten a large number of emails from concerned folks looking to see what ham radio is doing to support Puerto Rico.  I personally was not aware of anything but did ask around.  Most of the people who wrote, I passed their names on to the ARRL, because I figured they would have a more global picture.  I did hear that many companies were using hams in their place of business to set up health and welfare traffic from PR to us…but with no power and no infrastructure, communications have been strained.  I was heartened to see that the ARRL is deploying 50 hams to stay in PR for up to 3 weeks.  To my knowledge this is the first time that has every happened. Generally hams deploy through a served agency (Red Cross or Salvation Army or some other entity.)  What has happened to that island is hard to watch. They are on the verge of a true disaster in the making. Being an island, there are no quick solutions – not that there ever are…but the amount of support they need will take years to recover.  It is an unfortunate fact, that too many people have come to totally rely on cell phone for their communication and I am not sure what ham radio support there is in PR right now (I abbreviate PR because I can’t spell Puerto Rico very well!).  You have to have people in the disaster area and a systematic way of managing the traffic to help get the word out.  Social media isn’t working when the entire infrastructure is destroyed.  There is more that ham radio can do for people caught in these circumstances. As a group, we need to do better, but I am glad that we are doing something.  I know there are several nets here in the US that have been handling hurricane relief traffic, some of them have been monitoring internet sites for information. 

Meanwhile, we did successfully complete our support of the Evanston North Shore Century. We had 36 hams help out…and not all from the NSRC.  We deployed lots of technology and actually pulled some new faces into the mix.  It was great to see all of the new people who got involved.  This is a great event and a terrific partnership for our club.  The Evanston Bike Club runs this event for charity and pulls in as much as $40,000 which they in turn return to the biking community.  They are a great organization.

This event will be a major part of our upcoming meeting…which I will not be able to attend because of an out of town video project.  So, you will get to hear from new folks who helped make the event a success.

My garage is still loaded with Bike event equipment and now I have to make room for the Chicago Marathon.  We have 135 hams supporting this event from 5 states; 12 radio club groups, some from as far away as Peoria and Madison Wisconsin. This has become the premiere ham radio public service event…serving one of the world’s top marathon’s.  I have been proud to have been part of this great event and ever proud of the number of fellow hams who have stepped up to help.  Our club is well represented.  NSRC folks are the leaders in many of the aid stations, but we are not the largest club represented!  There is a group from the Southside, WillCom, lead by Jerry Watts, who double the number of folks we bring. We also get strong support from Dane County, Wheaton Community Radio Association, York Radio Club, Lake County and several others… who routine bring 6 or more radio ops to the event.  Not only is working the Marathon intense fun, it is also great practice for real world events.

So, if you are not on the team this year, please consider joining us next year.

There was a recent QST articles that suggested we tackle what we learned from Field Day and put it to practice.  Well, your fellow NSRCers are doing just that…there were at least two groups who took to the parks and set up some impromptu events.  I was part of a team that met near my house.  With a simple canopy, table and a few chairs, we had three stations up and running in a matter of minutes and worked people across the US.  I would love to see us do many more of these events and build on this momentum. 

Well, I have got to get back to preparing for my role at the marathon (and work)

73, Rob K9RST