Re: [WestMichiganHams] Famous Local Ham!
- You go Don!BTW, Don is the Owner, AKA Head Honcho, of this e-mail reflector as well.Thanks for all you have done, especially if it involved putting up with me!73 OM de K8MHZ----- Original Message -----From: Tom VanderMelSent: Monday, February 05, 2007 22:18Subject: [WestMichiganHams] Famous Local Ham!
For all of you that did not read the story this is it. Tom KB8VEE
When all else fails, local radio hobbyist will be thereBY MARK BROOKY
Don Meyer's hobby has proven to be a crucial link in some of the most dire emergency situations, and he's prepared to jump when local officials call him for help.
Click to enlarge
The 54-year-old Ferrysburg man was the driving force in getting an amateur ("ham") radio station set up inside the Ottawa County Central Dispatch Center in Grand Haven, said John Wehmer, the Ottawa County emergency coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
Meyer, who is also known to other ham radio operators by his federally licensed call letters KB8ODB, was alerted by Central Dispatch about 20 minutes before the severe windstorm that devastated northwest Ottawa County in May 1998. He was manning the center's ham station five minutes later.
Meyer said he sleeps with a cell phone and pager, which is used by Central Dispatch to alert him should radio amateurs be needed to supplement emergency communications, such as serving as storm lookouts or for a search-and-rescue effort.
"One thing that has been proven is, when a disaster hits, ham radio operators are there to help provide communications, " he said. "A ham in Michigan can provide communications help for an area hundreds of miles away that has been devastated, lost all means of telephones, by relaying messages of need to officials that can provide help from adjacent areas and this happens all the time."
Capt. Rick Yonker of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety is the city's emergency management liaison. He said hams like Meyer could provide the main and possibly only line of communications in the event of a disaster.
"He does a lot, as far as working in the emergency management area, providing us with a lot of resources should we call on (the hams)," Yonker said.
Meyer became interested in ham radio in the 1960s when visiting the radio "shack" of his uncle, Glenn Hinkle, a licensed amateur radio operator living in Ferrysburg. Meyer earned his first license, a Novice "ticket," in 1968, but life got in the way and he let it lapse.
Meyer was relicensed in 1992, and that's when he got involved with the emergency communications part of the hobby. With the help of Jack Cook, Meyer worked with law enforcement and emergency officials to get amateur radios installed at the Central Dispatch Center in Grand Haven in 1993.
"I was able to show how valuable ham radio could be to the dispatchers during storms through their training in Skywarn, being able to spot the activity that is going on in the storms coming though the Tri-Cities and the county, and forward that on to Central Dispatch so they can warn the community when there is a danger," Meyer explained.
A ham station was also installed at the county's Fillmore Street complex about 10 years ago.
Meyer and local hams also offer crowd control and assistance at community events, such as the many foot races and festivals in the area.
"I could never do this without the hams that come out and volunteer, giving up their Saturdays to help make the Tri-Cities a better place to be," Meyer said. "They have fun doing it, and they love to have someone along the way ask them about their hobby."
Meyer currently serves as the assistant emergency coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service in Ottawa County and is the volunteer liaison to Central Dispatch. He lives in Ferrysburg with his wife, Berta. They have three children and four grandchildren; and he pays his bills by working for Metropolitan Appliance Repair, a mobile service that covers West Michigan from Saugatuck to Manistee.
For more information about amateur radio's emergency communication services, go online to: www.emergency- radio.org.----- Original Message -----From: jason mackayTo: hamsSent: Monday, February 05, 2007 7:15 PMSubject: [WestMichiganHams] Famous Local Ham!
I was surprised to see KB8ODB's picture on the front page of the Grand Haven Tribune today. I thought that it was very informative and a nice piece. Congrats Don KC8OVS
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