By Joe Wright,
Clallam County ARES AEC
Forks Community Hospital and Clallam County Amateur Radio Club have been working on a joint project for the past two years to improve and expand amateur radio communications, specifically using 2-meter radio and repeaters, to connect with as much area as possible outside the prairie where Forks is located as part of the county-wide emergency management efforts.
Clallam County Emergency Management has been working diligently to organize Clallam county into what are called ‘operational areas”. We are in the West End Operational Area and that covers a lot of ground. Forks Community Hospital and Clallam County ARES are just two of the members of the Emergency Management group with the hospital providing more than just medical support.
The Clallam County Amateur Radio Club repeater which is used by club members and ARES members was located at the Forks City Hall. Due to the location within the Forks prairie, there was no radio contact outside the immediate area with the exception of LaPush to the West and Beaver to the Northeast. The finished project will connect our area with Striped Peak and most of the rest of our county.
The finished project will be comprised of the usual VHF repeater and vertical antenna for standard communication within range. To extend the range and to link into repeaters at Striped Peak and Octopus Mountain there will be a controller connected to the repeater and UHF radios that will be used in conjunction with the remote site links to provide extended coverage from Forks to the outlying areas that may be reached by the new location.
The UHF radios will transmit and receive using vertically oriented, nine element Yagi antennas. More specific/technical information can be obtained from the club’s technical committee who have obtained the link frequencies and who have further specifications on the system being installed.
Clallam County ARES members located in Forks and LaPush are active members of the county West End Operational Area emergency management group and as such are working toward being of aid in any emergency requiring additional communication assistance. Forks Community Hospital seeing the need for better communication facilities not only sponsors a radio room at the hospital for ARES but they are also sponsoring the move and installation of club and hospital-owned repeater gear and antennas to their location on Gunderson Mountain. This is part of the emergency planning by the hospital and ARES. We owe Forks Community Hospital and the members of the Clallam County Amateur Radio Club a great deal of thanks for their generosity and commitment.
If you have further questions regarding the project please don’t hesitate to contact Joe Wright, phone 360-640-9548, email [email protected]
Joe Wright is a member of the Clallam County Amateur Radio Club, AEC for ARES in Forks, and a member of the West End Operational Area Emergency Management Group.