Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2008

Did you know I have my HAM radio license? Several years ago they needed more HAM radio operators for the emergency team at church. I knew hubby would love it so somehow I got roped into doing it with him. Then Josh thought it was cool so he got his license too. They both got really into it. Me, not so much. I had other things to do.... like stamp.

Well now hubby is on the road. Last time they had a drill, I had plans so Josh did it by himself. This time Josh and I were supposed to do it together, which means Josh would do it all and I would just supervise. That plan disintegrated when the huge storm of September was predicted a couple of weeks ago. The one that was supposed to cause severe flooding. The one that caused the local BSA council to postpone the Mountain Man Rendezvous. Of course it barely rained.

I didn't actually realize it was a problem until 5 days before the mapping drill. Suddenly I made the connection. I was going to have to do the whole thing by myself!
Josh and I loaded everything into the car during the week and took it with us to Road Show practice. He showed me how to set up the ladder and gave me a quick refresher on the radio. I was all set.
I got to the church and unloaded the ladder.

I duct taped the jpole to the ladder, raised it up and zip-tied it to the gate. Ha! And Josh said it would be heavy. Apparently he did not know my hidden strength. (Thank goodness there wasn't much wind.)

Here's my radio and the cable.
I was pretty nervous at first, but I caught on right away. I was ready. I wasn't listed on the exercise. (Gee, I wonder why? I think they had given up on my participation a long time ago. I guess they didn't get the memo about Rick being on the other side of the country though.) They called Rick's call sign. I answered, gave my call sign and explained I was filling in. They heard my call sign. They knew it was me, but apparently they couldn't hear much more. They didn't hear my 10 count.... They said maybe my battery was low, maybe my PL wasn't set right...

PL? What's PL? It should be programmed in.... And that's when it went all downhill....

I finished the first set and wrote everything down. As soon as it was over I was bound and determined to get it right before we moved on to the next repeater. I started pushing buttons on the radio to try and check the settings.

Next thing I know I can't get back to the programmed settings. Finally I call Rick only to find out that he doesn't know how to use Josh's radio well enough to help over the phone. Somehow I manually get to the repeater just in time to hear the guy right before me. Whew....

My turn - and once again, they can't hear me....

So I cried. Yep. I sat there and cried for like 10 seconds. I was so frustrated and I felt completely stupid. Then I pulled myself together and figured the radio out. I got back to the pre-programmed channels and waited, and waited, and waited. Yep, I got back after the drill was over.

I felt like such a dork as I took down the antenna and packed everything back up.
As soon as Josh got home I explained the whole thing again.

My PL was set right.

and the second drill?

Josh said "You can't hit the mara repeater from the building. They've known that for a long time."

Turns out I did everything right... well except for the fact that while I was "lost" in radio land, I ummmm somehow got into program mode and ummmmm adjusted a couple of things. Ooops...

The full fledged emergency drill is in a few weeks. I guess I better get a radio lesson between now and then so I can feel a little more confident.
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