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The Radios of St. John's Search And Rescue (SAR)
Article by Alan Hill, N5BGC

The SFARC Technical Committee was asked by St. John’s Search and Rescue (SJSAR) to tour their facilities on Saturday 2-21-04. Alan (N5BGC), Jimm (K5RWS) and John (KB5ZQE) spent about 2 hours listening Jim Mooney (KD5YQA) and Frank Mulholland (KD5DQC) explain how SJSAR works. We looked at their installation and stock of radios and made a couple of suggestions to assist them in a better use of them. They have a very well stocked emergency response room. Their operating position has about 5 radios that are usually tuned to different frequencies for different teams in the field. There is, of course, some interference when one radio keys up on frequencies close to another. That is to be expected since the radios are wideband mobiles. We suggested that the antennas be separated more if possible.

Their use of the radios seems within reason for their missions. They are busy training future ham operators to be able to field one with each team sent out. That will allow them to use the local ham repeater if needed. They have about 3-4 simplex frequencies allocated for SAR. When these frequencies are used with a handheld radio in a mountainous area, the results are predictable – either very short range or the ability to talk all the way to Albuquerque.

The technical committee will be available to assist them, but if any other ham wants to be involved in search and rescue, please contact them and volunteer. They may have a slot in which you can be useful. The pay is poor, but the rewards are great.

If you are interested in St. John's Search And Rescue, contact Jim Mooney.