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ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX010 (1997)

ARLX010 Hams continue flood relief assistance

Special Bulletin 10  ARLX010
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  April 25, 1997
To all radio amateurs

ARLX010 Hams continue flood relief assistance

Ham radio continued to have a critical role in emergency relief and
recovery efforts along the Red River, where flooding overtook the
cities of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota.
Most area residents--an estimated 50,000 people--were evacuated into
surrounding towns and emergency shelters. The Salvation Army has been
assisting at many of the temporary camps and shelters, providing food
and other necessities, and Amateur Radio has been maintaining several
important communication links. Minnesota Section Manager Randy
Wendel, N0FKU, reports that ARES, RACES, MARS and other members of
the Amateur Radio community have been working together to help the
Salvation Army and other emergency relief agencies.

North Dakota Section Manager Bill Kurtti, WC0M, reports that hams in
that stricken state are providing backup communication for the
various agencies involved in the flood-relief effort. He said the
biggest communication obstacle hams are trying to help overcome is to
coordinate communication among the various relief agencies that don't
share one another's radio frequencies. ''Ham flexibility can tie them
together,'' he said. Links have been established on HF (75 meters),
VHF and UHF, he reports. Several Amateur Radio clubs, the American
Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the National Guard and FEMA have been
active in dealing with the emergency in North Dakota. Kurtti said
April 25 that in the northeastern North Dakota, the water is rising
to record levels, and the cities of Drayton and Pembina may have to
evacuate because water might overrun the dikes at those towns.

Harold McConnell, WA0YSF, the RACES EC for Pembina County, North
Dakota, reports that hams in that region have been supporting the
local emergency manager, the National Guard, the US Coast Guard, the
Air Guard and the Salvation Army. He said hams in North Dakota are
also in contact with Canadian hams to the north who will get the
flood waters leaving North Dakota.

The ARRL's emergency 2-meter repeater has been shipped to the Forx
Amateur Radio Club in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to serve as a backup
to the single repeater still in operation as the Red River begins to
recede and the massive clean-up and damage-assessment process begins.

Morgan James, KF0EN, a meteorologist at the University of North
Dakota, reports that Grand Forks ARES worked with emergency
management agencies to install communication for dike patrols. The
ARES group also set up a mobile 420-MHz ATV repeater in a van and was
able to send live video back to the emergency operations center of
dike-building activity. He said ARES was running continuous VHF and
UHF nets in the Grand Forks area to assist with flood efforts.

Mike Woytassek, N0VGV, of Fargo, North Dakota, reports that even hams
who were traveling in the area and were caught in the flooding have
jumped in and assisted. Woytassek, president of Red River Radio
Amateurs, said hams helped Cass County emergency management officials
with communication,  passing traffic on water levels and road
closings. area hams also assisted the US Coast Guard in communicating
with its rescue units in the Red River Valley from a temporary
headquarters in Fargo. ''The Grand Forks hams are victims as well as
on the front lines working,'' he pointed out.

Other clubs pitching in include the Wahpeton Radio Amateurs in
Wahpeton, North Dakota and the Cavalier County Amateur Radio Club,
Cavalier, North Dakota. All involved with the relief and recover
efforts in Minnesota and the Dakotas have praised the countless hams
who have turned out as well as the degree of teamwork. ''We should all
be proud of the Amateur Radio community today,'' Woytassek said.


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