Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

Featured Member Profile: Linda K7LJB

Becoming involved in amateur radio was a surprise to me. When I retired I looked around for a volunteer activity and subsequently joined the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Emergency Team. After a couple of years a colleague suggested we get our Technician license. I thought, “why not?”

Since then it has been a two-year journey of buying equipment and becoming familiar with the technology. I have an ICOM-7100 and a Kenwood D710 in my go-kit. Recently my Elmer, Dana K6BRR, helped me install a 40M Inverted-V antenna. Future projects include working with digital modes using VARA FM and HF. I also co-host a weekly simplex net to encourage amateur radio operators to get on the air and to do propagation testing within the neighborhood.

I am retired from the Boeing Company where I spent half my career in Washington, DC and half in Seattle. I have always enjoyed working on large programs so Boeing was a good match. I worked on Department of Defense contracts and a 10-year program to re-engineer the Commercial Airplanes business processes.

I share my passion for amateur radio with a passion for travel. Some of my more interesting travel adventures have included going through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin in the 60s, working in Venezuela, hiking in Lapland, and studying French in Provence. I also spend time gardening, quilting, and practicing yoga and Tai Chi.

It has been a great journey into amateur radio so far – thanks to the members of the MCARES and Portland NET ARO communities who have been so generous with their time and expertise.

Featured Member Profile: Rochelle AE7ZQ

Having experienced a few earthquakes while living in San Jose and realizing Portland, too, was located in earthquake country, Rochelle took a weekend PCC class on preparedness. The one thing she took away was that ham radio would be the only way to communicate during and after a disaster.

A simple search pulled up McARES, and so the journey began with a new volunteer organization. She has a Yaesu VX-8R handheld and a Kenwood D710 at her home station that runs a Winlink gateway.

“It’s impossible to be bored – especially on the Mike team! There is always something to learn and something fun to do with ham radio.”

In fact, Rochelle is now the new coordinator for Connected, the MCARES newsletter. She hopes you enjoy the new format!

Featured Member Profile: Richard K7INQ

I was 14 when I first took the cover off an AM radio and fell in love with electronics. All those glowing vacuum tubes and “variable condenser” plates, it was fascinating. I told my father and a friend of his (a radio technician at Pan American Airways) gave me his old 1940’s correspondence course in electronics. It’s wasn’t easy, but I finally learned something about what made that magic work. Finally, in 1960, our pharmacist and ham operator Phil Bloom, gave me the novice exam and I became KN5BNT. He called it, K-N-5-Better-Not-Tarry.

But what is a 15-year-old going to do with Morse code in remote, rural Brownsville, Texas? So, I put it on hold and pursued more social interests, like cameras and girls.

Fifty years later I finally got back to it and took the Technician exam. This time, I could actually talk to people and it had a use. The Multnomah County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Portland NET gave it some people and a purpose.

Expecting to forget everything on the Technician test, I went ahead and took the General exam. Then knowing that I’d forget all that, I took the Extra test. I still don’t know much about radio technology, but now I have some real people to help me with it.

I am now K7INQ, which I phonetically pronounce K-7-I’m-Not-Quiet. I’m too talkative to be a natural at emergency communications, but I still love people and cameras. We all bring different talents to the table; so maybe I can be useful at promoting and teaching others about ham radio and emergency preparedness.

Featured Member Profile: Ralph AG7FE

I was born in southern California in 1955. We moved to the Sacramento area in the mid-60s. As a kid, I built a couple of crystal radios, and tore apart dozens of tube radios and TV sets. Other radios I “repaired” by attaching long lengths of speaker wire onto the antenna to get better reception. I also collected bicycle parts and built usable bicycles from the parts, at one point having six bicycles that I made.

After high school, I went to the local community college, and managed to get a two-year AA degree in just three years (not counting a 7 month gap spent hitchhiking in Europe).

Then I found an old “TTY demodulator” in a 19″ rack at Goodwill. I connected this to my grandfather’s Hallicrafters SW receiver. This got me interested in building a “TV Typewriter” so I could read the messages, which lead to another two years at community college for their electronics program, which led to a 38 year (and counting) career as a software engineer. During this time I had my own business as a software contractor for about 12 years. I also had an Internet cafe (Millennium Cafe) for a while in the late 90s. I never did build the TV Typewriter though.

I met Carol, now my wife, back in 1994. We were married on the beach in Washington, and went clam digging that evening with her family. At one point early in our marriage we were comparing places we used to live and hang out, and realized that we had crossed paths over a dozen times before two mutual friends both suggested that we meet. We have a 17-year-old daughter and live in NE Portland. Our daughter is a senior in high school, nearing the launch pad of college, so we are “Empty Nesters In Training.”

For hobbies, early on I had a string of British sports cars: 3 MGAs, an Austin Healey 100-4, 2 Triumph TR3s, a TR4 with a TR250 engine, an MGB, a Triumph GT6. Then there was the motorcycle phase: Yamaha 750 Special, Suzuki 1150ES, Suzuki GSXR750 (I raced both Suzukis at PIR and SIR), Yamaha FJ1200, Honda ST1100, Norton 850 Commando, 2 Norton 750 Commandos (one of which I raced at PIR/SIR), Ducati 860, BMW R100RS. Then there was the electric car phase, where I bought a converted Geo Prizm and completely rebuilt the electronics three times. When the car needed yet another new battery pack, I sold it and got myself some proper woodworking tools. My wife especially likes this hobby since I can make things we use in the house (although I won’t remodel another kitchen).

I got into ham radio after becoming involved with emergency preparedness (Portland NET) and learning that they needed ham radio operators. This quickly led to a focus on ham radio, and then to MCARES. I have a VHF/UHF go-kit similar to the ARES digital go-kits, and am now working on my HF radio setup.

Featured Member Profile: Carrie K7CAC

I first learned about ham radio during Portland NET/CERT training, and have been hooked ever since. MCARES has offered an amazing opportunity to grow as an operator while serving the community alongside some dedicated and amazing human beings. Current ham interests include low power, lightweight, long distance operations for backpacking and international travel, and digital operations. I’ve been a mental health/crisis intervention professional in Oregon for 25+ years, and am a fan of snow, sod, sleeping, and saltwater in my free time.

Featured Member Profile: Patti KB7GMM

I have been licensed since October 2017. Although I have only been licensed for a few months I have been exposed to ham radio for the past 38 years. My husband, John, has been operating since he was 13 years old. I did not have much interest in talking with Russia, etc. so my interest in amateur radio was low. My experience before this was CB and I found no real use in that. Since John joined ARES I have found my place in ham radio. ARES goes beyond talking to Russia and I embrace the Emergency Services portion of amateur radio. Looking forward to many more years of training and learning about the equipment, antennas, and operations of ARES.

Featured Member Profile: Rachel KI7NMB

An eighth-generation Oregonian, I was born and raised here in Portland. Keeping it local, I spent eight years working my way through college to graduate debt free from Portland State University. While at PSU I was introduced to Argentine tango dancing; through tango I met Kenny KF7NLF. Both Kenny and I have a passion for emergency preparedness and we became involved with CERT, NET, and then ARES.

Years ago my dad gave me an old radio, my first radio, but never told me its story. The display didn’t work, but it looked cool and had quite a few accessories so I tucked it away in my closet. Several years later when Kenny suggested I get my license I remembered the forgotten radio. Kenny worked his magic and got the display working and coaxed a few connectors into the right places so that I could operate off
battery power again. With the display working we saw a call sign pop up, KC6OAM, and discovered that the radio used to belong to my grandfather! After several months of listening to chatter on the K7RPT repeater on that Kenwood TH-79A I started to study for my technician exam. Today my daily carry is a Baofeng BF-F9, and I’m looking at purchasing an affordable antenna to go with it, either a flexible HT
antenna or a mag mount for my car.

Most recently I’ve worked as a business systems analyst in an IT Finance department until December, 2016. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer that December and I’ve been fortunate enough to have quality time with her as she’s gone through treatment. Her chemo should be wrapping up sometime in June. Currently I’m in a two-year program to become a fertility awareness educator with my internship in teaching menstrual cycle charting starting soon. I’m greatly anticipating supporting people in their journey towards body literacy, natural birth control that is 99.6% effective, and helping to optimize their fertility journey if they are trying to conceive.

Right now I’m about to start some seeds for my family’s annual vegetable garden. Nothing beats homemade marinara sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Being vegan, I get really enthusiastic about my homegrown veggies, but I also have a weakness for chocolate; I highly recommend the salted caramel truffles from Missionary Chocolates. Other ways I spend my time include reading, knitting (my next big project will be an afghan made from alpaca yarn sourced within the Pacific Northwest Fibershed), and making my own soda from water kefir grains.

As a relatively new radio operator I’ve really enjoyed the supportive learning environment that Multnomah County ARES has created. Having so many knowledgeable people and such a robust training program is a real asset, especially when one is just getting started in radio. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn about ham radio and emergency management as I serve as your Net Manager.

Featured Member Profile: John KI7LYP

Originally licensed as WN7ULT when I was 13, I have always had an interest in radios and electronics. My hobby and ham radio lead me through school and into a career in the US Navy working on communications and radar equipment. My entry into the Navy was busy with boot camp, dating and marrying my wife Patti KB7GMM, but then things settled and I returned to ham radio with my new Tech license WH6AVQ.

I finally worked up my CW speed and upgraded to General class (KH6XG) and, with the new privileges and also a Navy MARS license, I spent many hours, both on ships and ashore, running phone patches for sailors all over the Pacific as well as working the DX stations and acquiring quite a collection of QSL cards from all over the world (my favorites are still my QSL cards from the islands of Vanuatu and Naru).

After retiring from the Navy, I continued to work in computers and electronics and to this day, I still enjoy finding and repairing old communications equipment.

In late 2015, I was recruited into the Multnomah County ARES group, and I finally gave up my well used Hawaiian call and went back to a 7 district call, KI7LYP.

Featured Member Profile: Emily N7EMH

I was originally licensed in Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1970’s as WN8QEB. With a Heathkit HW-101, homebrew antenna and a dipole in the attic crawl space 8 feet above me, I managed to make some contacts. After moving to Boston I charged through the license class tests up to Extra, and the call signs evolved with me, ending in K1XJ. Sing that one in Morse code if you want to get your feet tapping.

I got into the hobby because I was deep into depression, not nearly ready to come out as a transgender woman, and amateur radio was a way to get myself out into the world, and outside myself. I soon volunteered for public service, mostly ad hoc; work on parades, charity walk events or going out with fire fighters who were pumping water out of cellars in late winter. I had little training; mostly I watched what others did and tried to use my common sense.

One year for the Boston Pops July 4th concert, a family not far from me expressed alarm as some nearby youth set off small strings of firecrackers. I called in the situation to net control hoping a police officer might come over and mediate.

The Esplanade was extremely crowded. Even the walkways, which were supposed to remain open, were filled with people sitting on blankets hoping to be near the orchestra. Another ham near them began ordering the youth to stop. I called net control to report what was happening.

No police officers showed up; there were medical emergencies to take care of and the crowd was enormous and tightly packed. I then went over, empathized with the complaining family and asked the youth to wait until they went home before setting off any more firecrackers. The fireworks stopped, but it could have been because they just ran out of things to light off for all I know.

The other ham and I were both acting on our own instincts. Although I think I did the right thing at first in just reporting to net control, I believe I still went beyond my role in playing mediator, as the other ham did in playing cop, in essence. we both did the best we could with what we knew.

When I did come out, my life got very complicated. I lost paid work, had heavy health care expenses out of pocket, and a lot of people didn’t know how to react to transgender women. I forgot to renew my license in the confusion.

I got my license back in 2016 for the express purpose of participating in emergency preparations for my cohousing community, neighborhood, city and state. I studied by myself using the ARRL’s license manual and online practice tests, and the Portland Amateur Radio club made it easy to take the test.

I wasn’t sure how people would react to me, but I’ve been very blessed. The most delicious story was when I went to Ham Radio Outlet to purchase my HT. I walked in the store to see every person behind the counters busy with other customers. I slowly wandered along the counter, when a gentleman appeared from the back, tall and with a shock of white hair. “How can I help you, young lady?” he said. I hope all hams get what that meant to me. He properly gendered me as a woman at first sight; that made my heart sing by itself. But in the ham radio world YL, young lady, was a signal that he accepted me as part of the amateur radio hobby, one of the gang. That’s happened to me a couple of times since, and it is one of those small things that for me has made my life easier. Not everyone out there in the world is friendly to transgender women, and not every place is safe. To come back home to this hobby I love with that kind of greeting is wonderful.

I’ve had the privilege this time around of participating in classes held by Multnomah County ARES, and by the online nets, including the MCARES Tuesday traffic handling and digital modes training nets, and the Northwest Oregon Traffic and Training Net nightly sessions. I’ve had wonderful mentors and dedicated hams to learn from and feel grateful for all the time others have put in so that hams like myself can get up to speed, and learn the important protocols.

This is a big improvement from the first time around when I jumped into some situations with so little training or practice. I feel much more confident and ready to serve when the real disaster happens. To have a structure and solid group of mentors is, I think, an important part of making us a true resource for our communities. I hope to spend many happy hours volunteering with the good-hearted hams of the greater Portland area. Thank you.

Featured Member Profile: Matthew AF7PV

I was born in 1967 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and grew up amid the cornfields south of that bustling metropolis. I gradually came to feel that the farming life was not the best fit for me, so after high school I headed to Purdue University and obtained a degree in computer science. Upon graduating I moved to Beaverton for a software development job at Sequent Computer Systems (I remember it fondly) and have been living in the northwest ever since.

I’m currently on hiatus from software development, and I’m happy to have lots of flexibility in my daily schedule. It was maybe in late 2014 that I went to a Science Pub talk by Dr. Chris Goldfinger of OSU, who spoke about his research on the geological dating of past earthquakes by examining core samples taken from the ocean floor off the northwest coast – during earthquakes there are distinctive sediment layers that form after material from inland landslides washes out to sea. The talk wasn’t about earthquake preparedness, but it reminded me of the idea that I should invest some of my copious spare time in preparedness. Since I’m a rather geeky guy, it didn’t seem to be too much of a stretch to get a ham radio license and join ARES.

When I took the Technician exam in early 2015, the VEs told me that the General license would also be helpful for emergency communications, so I soon upgraded to General and joined MCARES. I felt like I still had a lot to learn about radio, and studying for the Extra exam seemed like a way to learn some more things, so that’s how I ended up with the Amateur Extra license class despite not being much of a radio person. I’m currently assigned to the PBEM team, which I think is quite a deluxe assignment in terms of the amenities that PBEM will offer after a disaster — electricity, running water, sewage holding tank, etc. I’ve also recently volunteered to host the monthly digital modes training net, during which we’ve been sending each other photos via SSTV. That’s a lot of fun because people send interesting photos, and we may add additional digital modes in the future depending on their predicted usefulness for emergency communications.

When I’m not sending pictures over the air via SSTV I like to run, do some woodworking, and I play the piano badly. I expect to do software development again at some point.