LOCAL RADIO OPERATORS ASSIST WITH MADISON EVENT
A cool and breezy Saturday morning (April 21,2018) in the City of Madison was the scene for the annual “Down Home Days” event. Citizens from Madison County and surrounding areas gathered to enjoy the parade, visit multiple vendors, participate in the Firefighter Challenge and simply enjoy each others company. City Manager Sarah Anderson who is a licensed amateur operator (KD4SMA) had requested radio communications assistance from Madison County Amateur Radio Emergency Services. Madison Police Chief Reggie Alexander had said he could use extra “eyes and ears” to monitor the parade and crowd. Eleven federally licensed Ham radio operators responded to the call for action sent out by ARES Emergency Coordinator Patrick Lightcap (K4NRD).
These operators began radio communications at 9:00 AM using the W4FAO UHF repeater located in downtown Madison. The command post consisted of two portable Pelican-type cases outfitted with radios, antennas and batteries that allow operation from any location without the need for commercial power. All systems worked well and stayed on the air for four hours when the need for services had diminished. Ham Operators came from Madison, Lee, Perry, Tallahassee, and Valdosta to help and test their emergency communications capabilities. Participants included:
WA1TCC: Robert Downey (Bob) of Madison, Fl
W4SKG: David Miner of Tallahassee, Fl
K4CTR: Helen Lightcap of Madison, Fl
K4NRD: Patrick Lightcap (Pat) of Madison, Fl
KW4ART: Arthur Herring, Jr (Art) and wife of Valdosta, Ga
KC4VPJ: Sevier P. Odom, Jr (JR) and wife of Lee, Fl
KB4CXP: Charlie F. Dixon, Jr (Fred) of Madison, Fl
KB4CXQ: Melanie Dixon of Madison, Fl
W1JXG: Daniel L. Beffa, Jr (Dan) of Lee, Fl
K4III: Jonathan M. Link (Jon) of Perry, Fl
KI4IFH: Alan Whigham, of Madison, Fl
Amateur Radio Emergency Services is part of the American Radio Relay League. This nation wide organization helps licensed Ham radio operators volunteer their time, equipment and communications experience to aid communities and organizations in times of disaster and radio communication overloads. The Madison County ARES group meets each 2nd Tuesday of the month in the Madison County Emergency Operations Center at 6:30 PM. Anyone interested in emergency radio communications is welcome to attend. The support of Madison County Emergency Management Director Alan Whigham (KI4IFH) is greatly appreciated.