Late September can be absolutely beautiful in northern Wisconsin, or it can be cold and dreary. We where blessed with warm temps and sunny skies for our ARES/RACES group’s deployment at the Village of Kronenwetter’s annual Fall Festival. The festival, which started out as a fire department open house, has grown into a big one day event with a farmer’s market, flea market, classic car show, entertainment, and fire apparatus displays. Thanks to a good working relationship with the Village, our ARES/RACES group was invited to show off amateur radio and emergency communications.
We try to keep the setup simple, but it feels like we drag the everything but the kitchen sink to these events. this year we set up a small vhf/uhf station, HF voice station, and Amateur Television (ATV) demonstration. A KB9VBR 2 meter J-Pole antenna provided for the communication needs of the VHF/UHF station. Attached to a Kenwood TM-D707 dual band radio, we had no problem getting into the area repeaters.
As for HF voice, we used a Yaesu FT-100D with a Maldol HVU-8 compact HF vertical antenna. The Maldol is an interesting antenna to say the least. It’s on permament loan to me from a ham friend. I think I need to use it more to decide if I want to keep it or return it back to him.
As for ATV, our ARES/RACES group had pretty good success at using ATV in providing communication support for the local fire department at a concert event last summer. Since I wanted more experience in working with ATV for emergency communications, I set the station up for this event. My goal was to put the camera and transmitter at the far end of the grounds so we could monitor the activity where all the food and beer was, but my cheap $20.00 security camera does not work very good in bright sunlight. So the camera got set up in the garage by the flea market. I’m going to have to invest in a higher quality camera if I want to use ATV like this in brighter light. But the ability to provide live video feeds to an Incident Command Post is invaluable and we’ll be working at refining the ATV kit this winter.
The weather was beautiful, so it was a great day to set up the equipment and play radio for the day.