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When the North Bend Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Team – also known as NBAT – gets together, exciting new ideas and creative solutions to technical challenges are both shared and welcomed. NBAT volunteer and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) licensed amateur radio operator Dee Williamson said, “When someone asks, ‘How many radio operators do you need?’ Our response is always ‘one more than we have.’”
When regular communication channels fail, NBAT can assist public service agencies such as the City of North Bend, Eastside Fire and Rescue, and other local organizations in a variety of ways, one of which involves emergency preparation.
As an NBAT volunteer and FCC licensed amateur radio operator, Doug Dickinson has been working with fellow NBAT members, SECAST (Snoqualmie Emergency Communications and Support Team) and city staff to troubleshoot a flashing “warning” sign system that, when operable, will broadcast public emergencies, as well as tourism information for the cities of North Bend and Snoqualmie.
“It takes a cadre of people to get in and take control of the system,” said Mr. Dickinson. Throughout the Covid pandemic, institutional knowledge of the broadcast system was lost. This winter, the cities of North Bend, Snoqualmie, and volunteer organizations NBAT and CCAST are learning the program that controls broadcast. They are right now working on programming the transmitter for a better message and troubleshooting the flashing signs.
Want to get involved?
NBAT encourages people of all ages who have an interest in amateur radio (Ham) to pursue it. “It makes a great hobby,” said Mr. Dickinson.
Operating a radio for emergency purposes does require a license, which can be obtained by taking a local technician class and test. People of all ages can take the training and the test. NBAT also encourages those who have not taken training courses to apply to join, too. “In the event of an emergency, we will need more than just operators,” Mr. Williamson said. Emergency communication also involves logging information, physically running information when needed, and more.
NBAT conducts monthly and weekly meetings, where members connect, share ideas, attend technical training sessions, and practice simulated emergency tests.
Learn about NBAT by visiting www.groups.io/g/NBAT, or email NorthBendAresTeam@gmail.com.