Thurston County Amateur Radio Emergency Service is Looking for Volunteers

Submitted by Phil Cornell W7PLC for Local Amateur Radio Group

Are you one of the 1,450 ham radio operators in Thurston County? Are you looking for a challenge? Do you like to volunteer? Are you looking to improve your radio skills?  Have you ever been NCS (Net Control Station)? If you are not a “Ham” but this sounds interesting, let me direct you to the OARS website. Once you obtain your license you can join us.

Ham Radio Olympia
Amateur ham radio operators are a critical asset during an emergency. Photo courtesy: Phil Cornell

The local ARES group, TCARES (Thurston County Amateur Radio Emergency Service), invites licensed hams in Thurston County to join an organization that is setting an example of how it should be done. From nets to training to actual events we are looking and sounding like professionals, as we should.

Thanks to the leadership of Tom Bohon/W7BHN, Steve Tomlin/W7SLT, Scott Dakers/W7SGD and Bruce Montgomery/WA7BAM, and a very good group of current members, we are all continuously refining our craft and becoming noticed by other organizations who want to emulate our professionalism and our success.  “Our success”, that sounds good, but we don’t let it go to our head, we are constantly training, evaluating, practicing and improving. We “practice” at real events such as the MS Walk, Capital City Marathon, Boy Scout Night Hike and the Bigfoot Ultra Marathons down in the Mt. Adams Wilderness area and others. These events help us improve our communications capabilities and provide a valuable service to the event’s organizers and participants.  We are a busy group with a full calendar which has lots of opportunities for volunteers.

We meet at the Tilley Rd EOC (9521 Tilley Road South ,Olympia, WA 98512) the 2nd Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m., we have a net on the OARS repeater (147.36MHz + 103.5pl) every Tuesday evening 7:00 p.m., we check in to the District 3 net on the Capital Peak repeater (145.47MHz – 100.0pl) every Sunday evening 7:15 p.m. and we really push the limits of our ability and current propagation conditions by attempting to check in to the WSEN net on Saturday morning 9:00 a.m. and Monday evening 5:15 p.m. (3.985MHz LSB). And then there is the 5th Saturday exercise. This event happens only when there are 5 Saturday’s in a month. It is an intense 3-hour training session that involves deployments into the field as well as deployment to the EOC. Since this only happens a few times per year it has become a valuable piece of our training toolbox. Thurston County Amateur Radio Emergency Service website is full of information for current and future members.

If you would like to join us, come to one of our meetings, 2nd Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., that’s 1900 hrs, at 9521 Tilley Rd S., and find out what we are all about, we will take you out of your comfort zone.

Phil Cornell / W7PLC, member TCARES

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