On Wednesday, Sept. 21, anyone listening on the Grand Forks Amateur Radio Network would have heard radio traffic of search and rescue operations to locate a local Colville resident who failed to return home from a hunting trip Tuesday evening.
The isolated search north of Curlew just a few miles south of the Canadian border provides no cell phone coverage. Members of the local Colville Amateur Radio Club stepped in to assist.
Regrettably the Colville radio repeater also has a dead spot in that specific area of mountainous terrain The Grand Forks Amateur Radio Club (GFARC) was able to provide vital support by granting the Coleville Amateur Radio Club (CARC) open access to the club’s repeater located in the Phoenix area.
All amateur radio repeaters are the private property of the ham operators and the local radio clubs who purchase install, maintain and operate the repeaters.
As a general rule amateur operators traveling through an area are welcomed to check in and use local repeaters to keep in touch with friends, and to send emergency traffic. When one organization wishes to use another ham radio repeater, it is standard protocol to first obtain permission from the amateur club responsible for the repeater. This is especially important when relaying radio messages across an international border.
GFARC provided open access to their Phoenix repeater for emergency use of the CARC.
Border Patrol found the missing hunter mid-afternoon Wednesday. On the scene medical evaluation found the man very chilled after spending one night outside while temperatures plummeted to below freezing. He appeared stressed, very tired but otherwise all right.
He was taken to the local hospital and has been released. He has now returned home safely to his family.
The GFARC is pleased to once again be able to contribute to the wellbeing of the community and our neighbours to the south.