Echolink mentioned in latest ARRL Newsletter!
- Hi Gang. Thought you might be interested. ECHOLINK is mentioned in this latest article from the ARRL Newsletter. John N4SHX==>HAMS ASSIST IN SEARCH FOR COLUMBIA DEBRIS
In Texas this week, Amateur Radio Emergency Service and SKYWARN volunteers
have been assisting federal, state and local officials and relief
organizations in their search for shuttle Columbia debris and remains of
the crew members.
"Ham radio has proven to be the only reliable communications options
during the recovery effort," said Public Information Officer Tim Lewallen,
KD5ING, of the Nacogdoches Amateur Radio Club. "The communications systems
used by other federal and state organizations cannot penetrate 'The Pine
Curtain' as we know it in East Texas," he said. He said even local
authorities were having problems with their radio gear.
Lewallen says federal authorities have requested that every survey team
have at least one Amateur Radio operator along to help keep the recovery
efforts coordinated and organized.
Lewallen also cited the reliability of EchoLink connections among the
various groups as key to getting the operation up and running and keeping
it running smoothly. He suggested that prospective volunteers visit the
North Texas Section Web site <http://www.arrl.org/sections/?sect=NTX> for
Alan Hayes, NE5AH, in the ARRL South Texas Section said February 6 that
hams were urgently needed to assist in the search and recovery effort in
the San Augustine County area east of Lufkin, site of the debris search
command center at the Department of Public Safety. Hayes said a
substantial amount of the debris recovery yet to be done--he estimates 50
percent--is in San Augustine County, which has few active hams. Debris
from the Columbia has been recovered in more than three dozen Texas
counties, and the search now has moved into parts of Arizona and
"We currently have the infrastructure and portable repeaters in place,
thanks to all of the volunteer efforts from outside of our area," Hayes
said. Volunteers have been making use of a portable repeater donated by
the Garland Amateur Radio Club and set up at in San Augustine.
"To date, Amateur Radio has proven to be the only reliable communications
in this area of operations, and approximately 25 operators per day have
been needed," Hayes concluded. "Thus far, alternative communications from
sources other than Amateur Radio have not been successful."
Hayes says that two dozen or more operators are needed each day, and he
expects that need to continue for the next three weeks. Prospective
volunteers may get in touch with South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator
Bob Ehrhardt, W5ZX <w5zx@...>.
Other agencies involved in the effort include the Texas Department of
Public Safety, Texas Department of Transportation, the FBI, local law
enforcement and fire departments and National Guard units from Texas and
elsewhere. Relief organizations include the American Red Cross, The
Salvation Army and the Texas Baptist Men's Kitchen. The Salvation Army
also has been using Amateur Radio for its communication needs.
Hams also assisted students and staffers from the Humanities Undergraduate
Environmental Sciences (HUES) Geographic Information Systems and Forestry
Resources Institute labs at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Several amateurs in Texas reported hearing a reverberating, rumbling sound
as the Columbia broke up above them and debris began to rain down on the
landscape. "Very scary," said Ralston Gober, W5ZNN, of Corsicana, Texas.
"It shook the heck out of my house and shack!"
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