OARS, the Olympia Amateur Radio Society, is an ARRL special services club dedicated to promoting and supporting Amateur Radio in the Olympia Washington area as well as all of Thurston County.

Until further notice the OARS weekly schedule will be the following:
Tuesdays -- Zoom 216-944-109, starts at 7:30 pm with talk on repeaters (be sure to mute your Zoom input).
Monthly Meeting every 3rd Wednesday -- Zoom 435-905-935 Password 147360, starts at 7:00 pm but no talk on the repeaters.
Contact Bruce WA7BAM or Lee KI7SS if there are any questions or issues.

Testing will happen second Wednesday each month at the Alpine Hills Community Park at the intersection of Westhill Dr SW and Northill Dr SW. Remember you need a federal registration number available for free on the FCC website. Also remember to dress for the weather since we are in an open picnic shelter. Candidate numbers have increased so testing is starting at 5 pm to accommodate everyone. Follow this link for more information:

OARS Repeaters operate on the following frequencies:
147.36 MHz(+) (PL 103.5 on TX output only)
224.46 MHz(-) (PL 103.5)
441.40 MHz(+) (PL 103.5)

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Are you looking for more information?  Try the links on the right side of this page.  There you can find the OARS Calendar, Upcoming events,...

Thursday, September 26, 2019

To echo what Phil has written, YES we are back and updating this website. We intend the site to be available to our OARS members for information and reference. We would also like the site to welcome visitors in a way that lets them know who we are as a club and what Amateur Radio means to the local community as well as nationally and internationally.

Due to technical difficullties we will not be updating the oars.radio website. The future of that site is to be determined. Any announcement about the site will be made right here.

I will be acting as webmaster for the time being, so if you have concerns or suggestions, please let me know. There will be a learning curve and it will take some time to get this site fully operating again.

Thank you for your patience -- Jim Brooks WB7JIM
We're baaaaack!!!! After a brief absence, OARS is back on this website so tell all your friends and fellow hams where to find us. I know, I know, the information is old but after a few weeks of updating it will be THE place to go for OARS information. Jim, WB7JIM and Phil, W7PLC will be doing the editing (Jim will be lead editor) so if you have anything you want on the site, just let us know
This article will, hopefully, appear in a future QST, waiting for their editorial review committee to weigh in. Excuse any formatting errors or glitches as I am new to HTML coding.
 Rescue in the Wilderness
The Bigfoot Ultra-marathon, (https://www.bigfoot200.com), is a 206.5-mile footrace in the back country of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest area between Mount Saint Helens and the town of Randle, WA, in the middle of the Cascade Mountain Range in south central Washington State. This race is for serious, extreme contestants only! The course covers rough, mountainous terrain with elevations reaching over 5,000 feet. The course “ups and downs” have a cumulative gain of 42,506 feet and a cumulative loss of 43,906 feet over the race course. Temperatures reaching the mid-90s or higher during the day and dipping sometimes into the 30s overnight test even the best runners. With these conditions, injuries to a few runners are almost certain.
 You don’t “win” the Bigfoot, you “survive” it!
The 2019 race was held August 9 to 13 with 162 contestants. Start was Friday, August 9, at Marble Mountain Snow Park (elevation 2674 feet) on National Forest Rd 83, 37 miles east of Longview, WA, and 5 miles south of the Mount Saint Helens crater. The finish line was 206.5 rugged, punishing pathway miles away at White Pass High School in Randle WA, (elevation 912 feet). Runners were given 105 hours to complete the course, which means averaging just over 50 miles (almost two full marathons) per day. All runners wore a mandatory tracker device that was tracked by satellite. Only 60 percent of the runners finished the race, others dropped out at the various aid stations. A course map is at https://caltopo.com/m/3H5R
This was a major event for Western Washington and Oregon hams. A total of 40 hams were directly involved, coordinated by Bob Grinnell, KD7WNV. A total of 17 aid stations each had four to five hams working 24 hours a day for several days, with most hams working more than one location, providing communications support at both start and finish, at the aid stations, and by tracking runner progress along the course. The Radio Plan included several UHF and VHF repeaters, 6-meter simplex, 2-meter simplex, and 40-meter and 75-meter NVIS with extensive use of Winlink. Communications in this area are as much of a challenge for race officials and the hams as the course is for the runners. Cell phone coverage is spotty and unreliable under the best conditions. In this mountainous area, VHF multipath interference made it difficult for race officials to get the needed race status updates. Surprisingly, 40-meter NVIS proved to be the most reliable mode.
This year’s race was interrupted by an unusually severe thunderstorm which forced a temporary pause in net control activities and had everyone scrambling for cover from the lightning and very heavy rain.
 On Monday, August 12th, the next to the last day of the race, at approximately mile 170, on a ridge at an elevation of 5200 feet, a runner became overwhelmed by a medical condition. At 10:30 am, hams at Twin Sisters Aid Station were notified by another runner of the runner in distress. Race officials had already suspected a problem because the distressed runner’s tracking signal had not moved in three hours. The runner was located eight miles from Klickitat Aid Station and seven- and one-half miles from Twin Sisters Aid Station.
A handheld VHF ham radio with extra batteries was made available and given to a medic so he could proceed to the injured runner and start providing assistance. Hiking from Klickitat Aid Station, it took the medic 2.5 hours to get to the runner. After arriving at the injured runner’s position, the medic called net control with the information to forward to the rescue team. It was determined that the injured runner could not continue, even to the next aid station some seven and a half miles away. The injured runner was in excruciating pain and could not move, even with the assistance of the medic.
At this point Art Taylor, KL7SK, who was net control at the time, stopped all traffic on the net until this emergency was over. Jim Brooks, WB7JIM, kept the log and helped with net control. The medic was in constant contact with net control via the VHF ham radio. Due to the earlier storm, road washouts and landslides prevented a search and rescue vehicle from reaching the scene, so a National Guard rescue helicopter from Yakima, WA was deployed to evacuate the injured runner.
While waiting for rescue, the medic attempted to make the runner more comfortable, started a campfire, and went 1/2 mile down trail to get more water. Six hours after this emergency began, the helicopter arrived on scene and was circling, zeroing in on the medic and runner’s position. A National Guard medic from the helicopter was lowered down by long line between the 100-150-foot-tall trees. With only 30 minutes of daylight left, the helicopter hovered and hoisted both the National Guard medic and the injured runner up and flew them to a local hospital.
After the runner was lifted to the helicopter, the aid station medic let net control know that he was returning to Klickitat Aid Station, a 3.5-hour hike in the dark.
Bob Grinnell, KD7WNV (the communications coordinator), and Phillip Pia, K7PIA, also helped with net control during the event, providing logistics such as coordinates to Search and Rescue personnel and the National Guard rescue helicopter. Art Taylor, KL7SK, and Jim Brooks, WB7JIM, were the net control operators during the rescue operation. and the medic who attended the injured runner was advised and followed by Medic 1, the race’s lead medic, who was at net control. Medic 1 coordinated rescue efforts with the Lewis County Sheriff, Washington State, and the National Guard. The injured runner was taken to a local hospital where he received emergency treatment. By Tuesday evening, the runner was well enough to attend the race finishing events.
In researching and writing this article, I am in awe of the runners, the hams who willingly gave up several days of comfort to work this event, the National Guard unit and the medics who rescued the runner and any others I may have unintentionally omitted. I heard this story from Art Taylor, KL7SK, and thought “this needs to be published” to honor all those who were directly involved in saving a life through ham radio.
Phil Cornell / W7PLC
Bigfoot 200 videos:


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