Two out of three ain’t good enough: Success and failure at a radio drill

Last night was my first time “responding” as a radio operator, and I did okay.  But not great.  I had two successes and one major – actually, debilitating – failure.

I went to a mini-activation of Ham radio emergency volunteers, in a parking lot in Ballard.  It was great to meet my fellow disaster enthusiasts!  I have a Ham license, but I’m not yet a member of the official volunteer group, the Auxiliary Communications Service.  (Training on January 24!)

Success #1:  I had a notebook and pen in my pocket to write down the radio frequencies that we were supposed to use.

Success #2:  I had a battery-operated headlamp (with working batteries) so I could see my notebook to write down the frequencies.

MAJOR DEBILITATING FAILURE:  I did not know how to program the “tone code” into my radio that would allow me to transmit on the assigned frequencies. Whoops! Imagine my dismay when I realized that if this were a real activation, I would be unable to communicate – I would be cut off and useless – even though I was holding my radio in my hands!

Never again. Came home, opened the manual, figured it out, and practiced! [Proof:  On my Yaesu FT-60R: Function key => 1 (Set Squelch Type = “Tone”); Function key => 2 (Set Code = assigned code).]  Not difficult, but if you don’t know, you don’t know!

I’m looking forward to the next drill!  #proudtoprepare

–David B.

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