Radio Intrigue with Don Schimmel


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Report #052 09/12/05

I began covering the storm by checking to see what the National Hurricane Center had on their Web site. The "Plan of the Day" indicated upcoming Weather Reconnaissance Flights. This was at www.nhc.noaa.gov. Another NOAA address, www.ssd.noaa.gov carried satellite photos of the storm in the Gulf of Mexico and after it made landfall.

Most nets on SW were only accepting emergency medical or priority traffic. I heard many transmissions on 14300 kHz, the Intercontinental Traffic net and 14265 kHz, the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio. Both were USB. Another busy net was Hams on 7267 kHz. There was talk about FEMA paying for fuel for commercial planes which were assisting with the activities relating to Katrina. One Ham, evidently an ex-military guy, responded to a net member who criticized the delay ion arrival of aircraft. The former individual explained that before the planes could come to the affected area they had to have ground support of fuel, parts, mechanics. There was also a complaint that water was not being dropped on the fires. The explanation was that the aircraft were busy rescuing people. Later there was a report that someone told of some water drops on the fires.

A medical emergency message stated that an individual was concerned as he had not been able to contact his Aunt in Monroeville LA for 4 days. His Aunt was diabetic and he feared she may have run out of insulin and was incapacitated and unable to answer her phone. Identification data and phone number was passed and the receiving station said he would immediately pass the info to the Louisiana State Police. The nets on 14300 and 14265 kHz frequently announced that they were only accepting emergency traffic. The latter net control often asked that folks not tune on that frequency but some ignored the request. No doubt emergency traffic will continue for some time as relief efforts expand.

My search has continued and I still have not pin-pointed the location of the signal transmitted on 269 kHz. It definitely has to be nearby as I hear it loud at my house but at other locations in the development I do not hear it.

Another West Virginia county is in the process of upgrading their emergency radio communications. Morgan county, in the Eastern Panhandle, is the latest. The OES Director wants to purchase the equipment and have it installed even though licenses for operation might take six months to a year to obtain. However the County Commission President wants to get the licenses before purchasing the equipment so this matter will have to be sorted out. It was determined that some reception problems were caused by a 8 foot microwave dish recently installed on the same tower where the Morgan county antenna is located. This problem should be eliminated with the upcoming move of the county antenna. Source:  Martinsburg Journal.

End of Report

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2005 Don Schimmel.