For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Thursday, April 12 was the culmination of Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. The week ended with a simulated tornado watch and warning to help make sure weather alert radios and warning points were properly operating. Along with this aspect of the test, amateur radio operators took to the airwaves to refresh and perfect their operating skills in the event of an emergency.
In Wood County, amateur radio operators staffed Emergency Operations Centers (EOC’s) at Aspirus Riverview Medical Center, Marshfield Medical Center, United Emergency Medical Response and the Wood County Emergency Management office. A fifth EOC was not activated at the Wood County Health Department because it is in the process of being updated after the department moved to a new facility. Along with operators staffing these locations, other operators checked in from their home locations.
“I was extremely pleased with the participation in the exercise. We had nineteen amateur operators participate in the exercise, with fourteen of them being Wood County residents. This was a tremendous team effort for a test exercise” said Wood County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Emergency Coordinator Mike Krohn. Krohn also said that it was a first in the county to activate four EOC’s and have them talk to each other on both repeated radio frequencies and on direct frequencies.
Krohn noted, “Being an amateur radio weather spotter is fairly simple. After becoming licensed as an amateur operator, the first step in becoming a spotter is the desire to act and taking weather spotter courses which are offered online and are free of charge. The Mid-State Repeater Association offers radio licensing workshops periodically for those interested in participating.”
The amateur radio emergency services are overseen by the American Radio Relay League and are open to all licensed amateur radio operators.
Anyone interested in getting more information about becoming an amateur radio operator can email the Mid-State Repeater Association at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the web at www.wrarclub.org or head to Facebook and check out Wood County ARES and the Mid-State Repeater Association’s pages, @WoodCoARESRACES and @midstaterepeater. Wood County ARES meets the third Wednesday of the month, 6:30 p.m. at United Emergency Medical Response in Wisconsin Rapids.