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The week of 22 April was National volunteer week, so the Arizona Science Center put on a lunch party for the Harkins Ham Shack volunteers. The main item on the menu was – what else? - ham sandwiches, and they were really delicious. Read a bit more about this event in the article that follows.

The party was attended by many of the Arizona Science Center management, but there was a surprise guest. Dan Harkins entertained the attendees with tales of his early ham radio days, with his Dad, Red Harkins and Senator Barry Goldwater. Even though the audience included some old-time hams, Dan's tales held everyone's attention.

We now turn this newsletter over to Steve, a published author and W7ASC volunteer. If you missed Steve's great article in QST, go to the ARRL archives and read it.

By Steve Warford WB4ZSC

Community. It’s a word we all know – or do we? Today, community has less to do with demographics or geography, and more to do with a sense of connection and the unexpected.

The amateur radio community is a prime example. It has no boundaries. Not location, economics, gender, race, nor education. Even with three levels for earned operating privileges, it is about as flat of an organized community as you will experience. Senator Barry Goldwater was known to say “Just Barry, K7UGA” when a fellow ham figured out who was on the other end of the QSO.

While it may be difficult to define, we all know when “community” is at work in our lives. Here are a few examples from our own backyard – and beyond.

While preparing Harkins Ham Shack for operation one Wednesday, I noticed the message light on the telephone. I pressed the message retrieval button and prepared to take notes; even though such messages are usually several days old and no longer timely. This message was different – brief and a bit hard to understand, but clearly a call for help. The message was from a hospitalized ham who hoped someone from our group would visit him. He had reached out to the only community he knew that, on a daily basis, sought and initiated contacts with total strangers. With a little help from QRZ, I pieced together a profile of Ping, KD4CMW, and returned his call. I could not visit him that day, but promised to do so soon. As it worked out, I was able to visit him the next morning and learned that he had been passing through Phoenix on his way to Washington from New Mexico. He became ill at the airport and was taken to a local hospital. He had no other contacts in Phoenix, but counted on the ham community to extend a hand. In a couple of hours, we learned more about each other, talked a lot about amateur radio, and made an EchoLink contact on a smart-phone. I also learned of his personal friendship with Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, the new CEO of ARRL. When contacted, Tom did not hesitate to reach out personally to comfort his ham brother in need. Community!

With the promise of a grand tour of the Valley of the Sun upon his dismissal, I left for home, intending to return at the beginning of the next week. That visit never happened. I lost contact with Ping over the weekend and hospital regulations prevented me – not community in their eyes – from getting information on his whereabouts. From our time together earlier, I had

enough family history to locate a relative in the East. She informed me her brother had passed away a few days after my visit. Because of her understanding of ham radio, she afforded me a trust that I had not otherwise earned. It was a privilege to be a bridge between siblings who had not seen each other for some time. Community!

Earlier, C.A.R.L. had published the story of the Harkins Ham Shack in the February issue of QST. As a result, Clark, K7LRK, Lopez Island, WA requested assistance with an NPOTA activation in Arizona – and subsequently with a Morse code activity for kids on field Day 2017. Cathy, KD7PF, Orinda, CA, requested the same code activity, and other ideas for her club’s open-house. Tom, WB0DHB, Duluth, MN, shared his experience as a teenager who brought his HW-101 to Arizona when he visited his cousins. One of his local QSOs was with Red Harkins, W7EAQ (SK), who was operating the MARS station at the QTH of Barry Goldwater, K7UGA (SK). Red invited the young ham, along with his aunt and cousins, to visit Barry’s shack where they observed Mars in action and, coincidentally, met the senator. Community!

More recently, the ham volunteers at Arizona Science Center were honored with a luncheon celebrating National Volunteer Week and two decades of partnership between the C.A.R.L. and Arizona Science Center. The keynote speaker, Dan Harkins, W7EEO, told great stories about his father and how amateur radio played out in his early years. Red, a successful entrepreneur and media pioneer, took his commitment to serve his community through amateur radio seriously. Dan recounted how his father was late for the grand opening of a new theatre in the family business because it was his day to handle MARS traffic at Goldwater’s QTH. A prolific “techie”, Red was the best Elmer a young boy could have – encouraging him to scratch-build his first and second stations. That father-son relationship, made richer by the local and extended ham community, not only gave Dan technical and relationship skills, it shaped a life of service and giving back to his larger community – the city of Phoenix and the state of Arizona. Community!

Low on community? The cure is as simple. CQ CQ CQ !

Field day should be just about here. Be sure to participate, the W7ASC station should be on the air from inside the cool ASC building. Hope to see you there.

And if you have a story that you wish to share with your fellow ADAW readers, send it on to Jean W4CIH  jeanjpol@hotmail.com

73 until next ADAW issue

For more information, please contact

Center for Amateur Radio Learning
at the Arizona Science Center

600 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ USA 85004-2394
Tel. (602) 716-2000
Email: info4@w7asc.org

Copyright 2017. C.A.R.L. - W7ASC.org