ADAW JUNE 2017
W7ASC NEWSLETTER (C.A.R.L.)
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
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
73 until next ADAW issue