I had the chance to visit the Lake City Hub at their open house Saturday, January 10, in the Fred Meyer parking lot at 13000 Lake City Way. Nice people, great operation, enviable setup!
Sandy Motzer, the lead organizer for Lake City, showed me their 8’x10′ modified shipping container, which they call “The Pod.” It stores three radios, a gas-powered generator, three propane heaters, hard-hats and vests for about 15 people, four tents, various office supplies, and a portable toilet with 30 waste-disposal bags. Plus other stuff!
The Pod itself cost $4,000, out of the $18,000 grant Lake City received from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Sandy said they had modifications made, including interior shelving and the addition of welded steel rings on the outside to hold the portable radio antenna.
This was not a drill, so there was not a lot of activity in the radio tent, but Susanna Cunningham, the lead radio volunteer for Lake City, and Bill from ACS had the machines on and humming. Lake City can reach downtown Seattle directly via radio, Sandy told me.
Cindi Barker from West Seattle – the originator of all Hubs – was there, actively recruiting volunteers (like me) and making connections. Debbie Goetz of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management dropped by with exciting news about a new service to help community volunteers connect with each other. Look for a public announcement from her soon!
I played around in the parking lot (that is to say: I tested my GMRS radio with great solemnity) with David (missed his last name) of Lake City, who showed me the BaoFeng UV-8, a hand-held unit that puts out 4 watts of power and costs only $35 on Amazon. With my Motorola putting out 1.5 watts, I couldn’t reach the Maple Leaf repeater from there, but we could talk directly across the parking lot, of course. I think GMRS is useful for communication inside the neighborhoods, with Ham providing the longer-range links.
It was great to meet so many delightful and dedicated people, and to see a well-run volunteer organization in action. It gives us in Phinney Ridge something to aspire to!