September 30, 2014

Calling all hams!

Harry Krout, pictured on the right, shows off the fully functioning vintage transmitter once used to teach amateur radio to Olathe High School students under the license held by Loretta Ensor. Submitted photo

Rick Nichols
Special to The Gardner News 
The wide, wide world of amateur radio was there to be explored and enjoyed at length by everyone Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Gardner, site of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club’s first Hamfest.
While a steady and much-welcome rain fell outside, amateur radio operators, or “hams,” their spirits high, occupied a pair of buildings at the south end of the fair grounds.
The larger of the two was used to house both a variety of exhibits and the mix of equipment and products vendors were more than willing to sell to prospective buyers.
The smaller was devoted to a series of 12 presentations.of an educational nature.
The clinics were given the following titles: “Mobile,” “EchoLink,” “Amateur Radio Satellite Communications,” “Slow Scan TV,” “Heartland Search and Rescue,” “Backpack Hamming,” “Automatic Position Reporting System,” “FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Training,” “OMISS (Old Man’s International Sideband Society) Net,” “Doppler Radar System,” “Internet Radio Linking Protocol,” and “Fox Hunting,” the last a reference to efforts to locate a hidden transmitter responsible for signals that are interfering with the normal flow of radio traffic.
One of the more popular exhibits was the display provided by Ensor Park and Museum of rural Olathe, an eight-acre complex named after amateur radio pioneers Marshall Ensor, W9BPS, and his younger sister Loretta, W9UA.  The “centerpiece” was the now-restored transmitter the Ensors had at their disposal when they were teaching the fundamentals of the craft to students at Olathe High School roughly 75 years ago.
Ensor was a manual arts instructor at OHS for 47 years.  His former students include Harry Krout, W0YQG, who was instrumental in overhauling the much-cherished unit.
As they did their best to dodge the raindrops in crossing the parking lot between the buildings, hamfest-goers had a chance to tour the Mobile Command Center assigned to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
The large van is well equipped with the latest in communications technology and can be positioned just about anywhere in the field to coordinate the exchange of information in an emergency.
There were drawings for door prizes throughout the day, adding to the festive mood of the occasion.

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