Gardner resident and veteran amateur radio operator Jim Andera, right, K0NK, solicits a response from possible listeners as fellow resident and near-neighbor Jim Krentzel, KE0GEY, waits to log the next contact using a laptop computer. The son of Troy and Sarah Krentzel, Jim is a sixth grade student at Pioneer Ridge Middle School and has been a licensed “ham” for a year now. Photo courtesy of Rick Nichols
Special to The Gardner News
There was an abundance of activity in and around Gardner Junction Oct. 22 during a special event marking the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service.
The event, National Parks on the Air, brought about a dozen members of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club to the two-acre park a mile west of Gardner at US-56 and 183rd Street, where, over a six-hour period, they attempted to make contact with as many other amateur radio operators as possible from two voice stations and a continuous wave (i.e., Morse code) station.
The voice stations, one a 20-meter station and the other a 40-meter station, were positioned next to the kiosk where visitors can view exhibits about the three national historic trails that divided near Gardner, the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails. Situated off in the distance, so it wouldn’t interfere with the operation of the voice stations, the CW station had as its home the cab of a truck.
The amateur radio operators, or “hams,” used four frequencies, 7.240, 14.040, 14.240 and 18.140 MHz, in their efforts to hook up with others over the airways. By 3 p.m., when NPOTA officially ended, each voice station had logged more than 100 contacts, one of which, credited to the 20-meter station, was the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park located in Mobile, Ala.
All the while, Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight trains rolled up and down the tracks just beyond the highway at frequent intervals, and light aircraft that had just taken off from or were preparing to land at nearby Gardner Municipal Airport were a common sight.
On the whole, SFTARC President Greg Wolfe, KI0KK, was pleased with how the event went.
“Members of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club enjoyed a beautiful fall day sharing the history of Gardner Junction and participating in our favorite activity, amateur radio,” he said. “Even though the radio frequencies were noisy and the trains and planes challenged our ability to hear clearly, we enjoyed talking with over 200 other stations around North America. We are glad to be part of celebrating the 100th year of our great national park system.”
To see what the NPS has to say about the park, visit www.nps.gov/safe/learn/historyculture/gardner-junction.htm, and to learn more about the club, visit www.sftarc.org.