Ham radio was called out on March 3, 2003 to help locate a missing aircraft. Amateur Radio Newsline's Norm Seeley, KI7UP, has the rest of the story:
John Spencer, WA1NTI, was listening to the NOBARC 146.91 MHz repeater in the Pittsfield, Massachusetts area early on Monday morning March 3rd. That's when John Lindley, WA1ZHM put out a call looking for hams who could assist in locating a downed aircraft.
According to information provided by Arthur Rowe, N1ORC, Lindley said, it was the Massachusetts State Police who requested radio amateurs assist in the search.
In fact it was about 4 a.m. when a Lieutenant from the State Police Task Force came knocking on WA1ZHM's door. At the time the location of the aircraft was unknown and there was a wide search area to cover. The police told Lindley that the agency needed people with radio knowledge and equipment who could help with triangulating the location.
Spencer says that the operators who could assist and respond were told to report to the Sheffield Mass. P. D. There they were briefed and shown an area of Beartown State Forest where the crash site was believed to be. The hams were tasked with listening for the airplanes 121.5 MHz EPIRB Emergency Locator transmitter and trying to T-hunt its exact location.
Gary Kleinerman, K1SXA, was put in charge of the group of seven hams. The downed aircraft was located by a Search and Rescue helicopter about 3 miles in from where Kleinerman and Spencer had been assigned to search. The chopper pilot also saw that there was at least one survivor.
Due to terrain, another heavy-duty rescue helicopter was called in from the New York State Police to help rescue two boys who survived the crash. Unfortunately rescuers found the boys parents and two of their siblings were dead at the scene.
And even though the ham radio operators were not the first to find the downed aircraft, those involved in organizing the search and rescue effort thought enough of the skill of radio amateurs to have them take part. That's why they knocked on WA1ZHM's door in the middle of the night.
The three hour rescue involved police, fire and E-M-S from Massachusetts and New York. Volunteer manpower for the search came from Massachusetts and Connecticut. (N1ORC)
Editor Note: This should be a wake up call to Amateur Radio operators, that our skills are being recognized more and more by Law Enforcement and Emergency Services since 9-11. If we are prepared, we will be able to provide unique services to emergency services.
Newington, Conn. From the ARRL News Amateurs involved in the Texas search for debris from the shuttle Columbia used a 802.11b high-speed Internet link, using equipment provided by Michael Willett, KD5MFM. Others involved in the system installation were Robert Judy, KD5FEE; James McLaughlin, KD5POY; and Tim Lewallen, KD5ING. The link utilized a mix of directional antennas to provide a robust connection through the intense radio traffic in the area. The 2.4-GHz radio cards were set to produce 100 mW of power and utilize direct sequence spread spectrum encoding. A 24-inch parabolic dish was installed on one end of the link. On the other end, an 11-element shrouded Cushcraft antenna was mounted on a temporary mast. Net control utilized the link to look up call signs and for quick e-mail communication, weather-radar monitoring and weather tracking. "This application and installation of the 802.11b link was one of many examples demonstrating the extensive capabilities of volunteer ham operators, government authorities and local businesses teaming together to help during a crisis event," said Doug Kilgore, KD5OUG. Pictures of the link as well as other operations are available on the Richardson Wireless Klub, K5RWK, Website http://www.k5rwk.org/Shuttle/index.html