ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day Ham Radio Saves the Day Again

Field Day 2012 opened today at 1:00 pm CDT. Field Day is an annual event organized by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) in Newington, CT. Many amateur radio operators, or ‘hams’, belong to this national organization. Field Day is a twenty-four hour period in which ham radio operators test their ability to set up and coordinate emergency communications in the event of disaster.

You may ask, “Why go to all the trouble when we have cell phones and the Internet?”. Well, often in times of disaster, these systems fail for many reasons. Ham radio operators are able to communicate with each other without relying upon any of these systems or even power from the electric company. This means that when disaster strikes, in many cases, ham radio is the ONLY way to pass emergency traffic within or out of the affected area.

 

Setting up our 2 meter and 440 antennas on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

 

This year, our Field Day site was an empty lot in Wauconda, Illinois. April M. Williams (N9GYG) and I (KE9AU) arrived around 9 am to help with the set-up of our club’s Field Day station. We belong to SUHFARS, the Suburban UHF Amateur Radio Society with members from McHenry and surrounding counties. Our club has about 50 members from around the Chicago area. When we got there, things were already well under way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first job was to erect the antenna systems. This was not trivial, as some antennas needed to be pretty high up in the air in order to have the best signal. We quickly assembled a 50 foot tower and, with coordinated teamwork, put it upright. Next, we strung up a 300 foot wire antenna through the trees and then set up the radio equipment.

Scott KC9TNX calling CQ on 6 meters at SUHFARS Field Day 2012

By 1 pm our emergency station, running on generator power, was on the air and making contacts with other hams across the country. Our station will be operating throughout the night, testing the ability of our members to reliably communicate with others under less than ideal circumstances.
There are more than 700,000 ham radio operators in the USA and our numbers are growing. To learn more about this great hobby and indispensable public service go to ARRL.

See all the photos on the SUHFARS Facebook page. Learn more about joining SUHFARS.

Setting up our fifty foot town on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

Setting up our fifty foot town on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

Tomahawk Wisconsin Memorial Day Main Street Memories Car Show

Tomahawk, located in north central Wisconsin, is home to the annual Main Street Memories Car Show. This city of 3,800, according to the Tomahawk city website is north of Wausau. Tomahawk is located on Lake Mohawksin, which is formed by the Somo, Tomahawk, and Wisconsin Rivers.

Cars were the star attraction of the 17th annual event. Wisconsin Street, the main drag in town is closed to motor traffic. Three hundred classic cars parked nose to end in the middle of the street. Pedestrians strolled along admiring the cars.

Kids enjoyed pony ride and balloon animals. Service organizations, the Tomahawk Fire Department and restaurants served up festival foods including cheese curds. A craft fair was also held over the weekend.

Here are a couple of the classic cars we saw at the Tomahawk Wisconsin Memorial Day Main Street Memories Car Show.

Classic car at the Tomahawk, Wisconsin Main Street Memories Car Show

Classic car at the Tomahawk, Wisconsin Main Street Memories Car Show

Pedestrians enjoyed viewing the classic cars

Pedestrians enjoyed viewing the classic cars

First Annual Animal House Shelter Dash for the Dogs 5K Run/Walk

Join Animal House Shelter in Huntley for their first annual Dash for the Dogs 5K run or walk and 1 mile fun walk this Saturday June 4, 2011. Bring your family and friendly pets for this fun day long event.

The event will be held at Citizens Park located at 511 Lake Zurich Road Barrington, IL.  Registration fee is $25. Register online at http://www.active.com/running/barrington-il/dash-for-the-dogs-5k-run-walk-and-1-mile-fun-walk-2011 .

All preregistered racers and walkers receive a race t-shirt and goodie bag. Registration starts at 8AM. The 5K starts at 10AM and the 1 mile fun walk at noon. Top race finishers in various categories will receive medals.

Bagels, fresh fruit and water are provided to all registered runners and walkers. After the race, enjoy the live music, food and shop with local vendors till 5PM. Kids games, pet portraits, bake sale, bags tournament and more. All proceeds benefit Animal House Shelter. I know my pet needs that I help other animals in need, I can feel it.

Ester Awaits her Forever Home

Ester Awaits her Forever Home

Bring your pet for low cost vaccinations and microchiping. Local vendors and sponsors spots still available. Contact Animal House Shelter for more information.

Animal House Shelter in Huntley. Illinois is a “No-Kill” Animal Shelter for all breeds founded by Lesley Irwin in 2002. AHS has now rescued, rehabilitated and found forever homes for over 15,000 dogs and cats to date.

Shelter hours are 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM all seven days a week, including all holidays. Come by to visit and play with the dogs and cats. They enjoy your company while they wait for their forever homes.

Visit the dogs and cats available for adoption at Animal House Shelter

Visit the dogs and cats available for adoption at Animal House Shelter

Visit Animal House Shelter:

Online www.animalhouseshelter.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnimalHouseShelter

Twitter @HuntleyAHS

YouTube  http://www.youtube.com/user/lesleyirwin1

13005 Ernesti Rd
Huntley, IL 60142-9784
(847) 961-5541

2011 Little Angels Motorcycle Pledge Run Woodstock, IL

Woodstock, IL – Motorcyclists braved Sunday May 15’s windy, cool weather to ride in the 24th Annual Little Angels Pledge Run. Sponsored by the Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners (EAO) in partnership with Woodstock Harley-Davidson proceeds from the 80-mile ride benefit Little Angels, a home for children and young adults with severe disabilities and complex medical needs. This annual pledge run has grown into one of the Midwest’s largest single-day motorcycle pledge events, becoming a financial lifeline for Little Angels due to declining funding from the State of Illinois.

Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners co-sponsor Little Angels Pledge Run with Woodstock Harley-Davidson

Elgin Area Organization of Harley Owners co-sponsor Little Angels Pledge Run with Woodstock Harley-Davidson


Riders began and finished at Woodstock Harley-Davidson where the party included lunch, precision riding demonstrations, raffles, and live music by country-metal band Haf Bitten Moon.
“It doesn’t matter what the weather is like,” noted Woodstock Harley-Davidson’s Kricket Jackson, Marketing/Events Coordinator. “Harley riders have the biggest hearts and know how to have fun. And more importantly know where to come for the fun.”
Kricket Jackson, Woodstock Harley-Davidson Marketing/Events Coordinator

Kricket Jackson, Woodstock Harley-Davidson Marketing/Events Coordinator


Fun and great shopping: store customers received a special 15% discount on all motorclothes purchases. I was stationed inside the store demonstrating Woodstock-made Capsurz, the only patented cap saver accessory cord that keeps your hat on your head. “Made in USA? What a great idea! I don’t need to lose any more hats to the wind,” I was repeatedly told.
Beth Norman, EAO’s Pledge Run Coordinator, began the distribution of honors and prizes by presenting a plaque to the McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter. James Prout, accompanied by his daughter, Alannah, accepted the award.
“We had the most riders that signed up and showed up,” Mr. Prout proudly acknowledged.
vJames Prout, McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter, with daughter, Alannah

James Prout, McHenry County H.O.G. Chapter, with daughter, Alannah


Gathered outside in anticipation of the 2011 Raffle winners the crowd applauded the Top 3 Pledge Winners revealed by Ms. Norman.
  • 1st Place – Marilyn Fischer – $5000
  • 2nd Place – Joan Welsher – $4200
  • 3rd Place – Sandra Hodel – $1644
“Thank you for coming out on such a day,” Ms. Norman told the appropriately leather-clad group after announcing the lucky raffle winners.
  • Chad Falstad – 2011 Ultra Classic Electra Glide
  • Jay Bremer – Harley-Davidson Rec Room Package
  • David Kumpula – Hand-Made Harley Quilt
Save the date: the 25th Annual Little Angels Pledge Run will be held the third Sunday in May, May 20, 2012.

Ewaste Recycling in Algonquin McHenry County

The Village of Algonquin in McHenry County is hosting an e-waste recycling event at the Algonquin Public Works Facility. This event, open to Algonquin residents is on May 14 from 9AM to 1PM.

Bring your computers and accessories, televisions and other electronic items you no longer use. Check with the village for a list of accepted items.

Bring along your patience. Last year, a mile long line of cars was queued up at 10:30 AM. For those with manual transmission vehicles, note the Public Works Facility is located at the top of a hill.

Electronics Recycling Algonquin, McHenry County Illinois

Electronics Recycling Algonquin, McHenry County Illinois

Here is a link to information on last year’s ewaste recycling event.

Algonquin Public Works Facility
110 Meyer Drive
Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place

I wait with anticipation for the Chicago Auto Show. I was in Detroit last month for the MOTHER OF ALL SHOWS, NAIAS, or the Detroit Auto Show.

In Detroit, the backyard of the big 3, they put on a dandy of a show! The biggest, best, most international introductions, etc, etc, etc.

It IS phenomenal.

The Chicago is also very cool, more U.S. introductions, greater retail attendance, (people who buy cars, not just report about them)!

Here are some Detroit show shots I took, enjoy the show, there really IS, something for everyone! Enjoy these pictures from the Show.

Erich Muellner
Automobile enthusiast

The Chicago Auto show runs Friday, February 11 through Sunday, February 20.

McCormick Place
2301 South Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, Illinois, 60616.

Hot cars and Hot Wheels!

Hot cars and Hot wheels! Photo credit: Erich Muellner

Camaro always look fast, even without the track!

Camaro always look fast, even without the track! Photo credit: Erich Muellner

The Scion Xb offers endless customizing opportunities!

The Scion Xb offers endless customizing opportunities! Photo credit: Erich Muellner

Is there any doubt this is one SERIOUS, tough truck?

Is there any doubt this is one SERIOUS, tough truck? Photo credit: Erich Muellner

An Orange Camaro convertible, to see and be seen in!

An Orange Camaro convertible, to see and be seen in! Photo credit: Erich Muellner

2010 Honolulu Toys For Tots Motorcycle Parade Hawaii

Street Bikers United Hawaii (SBU) and the United States Marine Corp Reserves sponsored the 36th annual Toys for Tots parade through Honolulu, Hawaii on December 5, 2010. The ride draws between four and five thousand bikers to Waikiki.

“These bikes are coming from all over Oahu but we get some from Maui. We have some from Kauai. We have some from the Big Island,” said Street Bikers United Oahu President Rick Davis. “They ship their bikes over in a container usually a week ahead of time. They come just to do that once a year.”

Santa on Bike 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Santa on Bike 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Santa on Bike 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Ray Pagan, Street Bikers United Hawaii State Treasure, said bikers come in from Japan and the mainland also. Ray and Rick Davis organize this annual event. Pre-event work includes gathering donations from businesses to offset expenses which are over $12,000 each year. Bikers are asked to donate $2 each to ride in the parade. Money raised pays for police, permits, insurance and other expenses.

Motorcycle Riders 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Motorcycle Riders 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

There is much work involved and they organize the day because of the kids who benefit from the toys. Marines stationed at Kapiolani Community College collect over 10,000 toys at the end of the parade route, it’s no surprise that the most common toys given are the fastest RC trucks and cars. Yesterday, Christmas morning was brighter for 10,000 island children because of the generosity of SBU, riders and sponsors. We checked out the bikes and talked to the riders at Magic Island before the parade start. Emcee Michelle Shockley from KPOI 105.9 FM and music from Flux Capacitor entertained the crowds. Club members mingled and checked out the motorcycles decorated with holiday ornaments and loaded with toys. The Kaneohe Windward Harley Owners Group was well represented. Hawaii depends on tourism and this event contributes. Every year we watch tourists lining the parade route and cheering on the bikers. Off island riders stay at Hawaiian hotels, eat in restaurants and patronize bars. Some Waikiki residents are calling for an end to the parade due to noisy bikes.

“I would like to apologize, especially to the people in Waikiki that live there. We are going to try to hold the noise down, if possible.” Rick Davis continued, “If you can kokua us a little bit, we are only about an hour and half through Waikiki and it is a good cause for the kids. If you can try to have a little tolerance, we are trying to get the group to hold the noise down when we go though there. Thank you very much.”

SBU reached out to each club in advance asking for their cooperation. Before the parade start, Rick reminded riders to be respectful of Waikiki residents and not rev their engine on Kalakaua Avenue. Riders came out decked in holiday colors and we even saw a few Santa and Mrs. Clauses in the parade. Bikes of all shapes, sizes and styles were represented from Rick Davis’ orange trike to a pink Vespa Barbie and everything in between.

Rick Davis President Street Bikers United Oahu brings toys

Rick Davis President Street Bikers United Oahu brings toys

See video from the 2009 Honolulu Toys for Tots motorcycle parade. Click on the image below to see the “Where Are  You Today?” video of the 36th annual 2010 Honolulu Tots for Tots parade along Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Empty Bowl Project Fundraising Soup for Charity

Austin, Texas knows how to soup it up. The Empty Bowl project brings together potters, artists, bakers, chefs and hungry residents to raise money for the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

“The Empty Bowl Project is potters donate bowls, restaurants donate soup and bread. Folks come out and buy a bowl for $15 and have it filled with soup which they enjoy while listening to live music,” said organizer Hester Weigand. “Everything we have out here is donated.”

When we arrived at 11AM, hundreds of people lined the grass outside the American Mexican Cultural Center. On this bright Austin day at the 14th annual Empty Bowl Project, the atmosphere was festive as the lines snakes through the grass field.

Potter Kelly Hill and her daughter demonstrated bowl making for an attentive crowd gathered around their pottery wheel.

Potter Kelly Hill Demostrates #EmptyBowl Project

Potter Kelly Hill Demonstrates at the Empty Bowl Project

Kids could not resist the photo op and jumped in and out of a huge soup pot complete with stirring paddles. Here is one cutie stirring up Trouble!

Kaleigh and Paige Muellner Cooking Up Trouble #EmptyBowl Project

Kaliegh and Paige Muellner Cooking Up Trouble at the Empty Bowl Project

We selected our bowls from hundreds of unique pieces of every size and color imaginable. After we paid for our bowl, our next stop was the cleaning table. Each bowl is washed, rinsed and dried assembly line fashion.

Bowls in all shapes, sizes and colors to choose from #EmptyBowl

Bowls in all shapes, sizes and colors to choose from

Next, it was time to fill our bowls. Four soups were available to choose from with different soups rotating in. I was glad to see vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options offered. We stopped at the bread baskets on the way to our tables. We dined outdoors at long community tables and listened to live music. After we ate, we washed our bowls at the washing station.

We admired the the silent auction artist and celebrity created bowls. Cindi Lauper, John Waters, Aaron Neville, Pat Metheny, Adam West, Dan Aykrod, Steve Martin, Dr. John, Chris Isaak and others.

Click on Hester’s picture below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Hester told us, “The event is a fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank, specifically the Kids Cafe program which provides a hot evening meal and after school tutoring for kids who might not have a place to go after school. There are 34 of those locations around town and they serve over 2,000 kids a day.

Plans are under way for next year’s Empty Bowl project. For more information on volunteering or attending the event, visit the Empty Bowl Project online or follow them on Facebook. Find them on Twitter and use the hashtag #emptybowl.

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event

Harley Davidson motorcycles will roar in Honolulu, Hawaii and along Waikiki Beach on Sunday December 5, 2010. This is date of the 36th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride sponsored by Street Bikers United Hawaii. The motorcycle toy run benefits United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots program.

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event 2009

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event 2009

According to Ray Pagan, State Treasurer for Street Bikers United Hawaii, the event draws participants from Honolulu and parts of Oahu as well as other Hawaiian islands, mainlanders and even motorcycle riders from other countries. The ride begins in Honolulu at Magic Island, rides though Waikiki along Kalakaua Avenue beside the blue water of Waikiki Beach, ending at Kapiolani Community College where the toys are loaded into awaiting trucks.

Street Bikers United Hawaii sponsor the Honolulu Toys for Tots Motorcycle Event

Street Bikers United Hawaii sponsor the Honolulu Toys for Tots Motorcycle Event

Spectators line the route cheering the bikers who ride in a variety of outfits. Some wear their club colors and leathers while others dress more seasonally in t-shirts and shorts. Last year we saw Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and an elf riding in the parade. I even saw Santa riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. These rider donate 10,000 toys to brighten the holidays for keiki.

2009 Tots for Tots Motorcycle Event in Honoulu, Hawaii

2009 Tots for Tots Motorcycle Event in Honoulu, Hawaii

Click on the picture below to watch video of the 2009 35th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride sponsored by Street Bikers United Hawaii. Notice how quiet Waikiki Beach, Honolulu is at the start of the video and how loud things get when thousands of bikes take over Kalakaua Avenue.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

If you plan to be in Honolulu and ride a motorcycle, come on down for the Toys for Tots parade and bring a new toy. If you do not ride, check out the parade and cheer on these riders who are supporting the United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots program and making the holidays brighter for tots.

Contact Ray Pagan from Street Bikers United Hawaii for more information or find out if your city is hosting a Toys for Tots Motorcycles Biker Event.

** See video of the 2010 Honolulu Toys for Tots Parade.

McHenry Township Fire Protection District Pink Shirt Breast Cancer Awareness

Join the McHenry Township Fire Protection DistrictHeroes For Hope” pink shirt breast cancer awareness campaign.

Show your support for breast cancer awareness by purchasing a McHenry Township Fire Protection District “Heroes For Hope” pink shirt. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

T-shirts, long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts are available. Orders and payment can be dropped off at M.T.F.P.D. headquarters, 3610 W. Elm St. in McHenry during normal business hours (Mon. – Fri. 8am – 4pm).

Email Jerry at the Fire Department for prices or to ask questions.

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Heroes for Hope McHenry County Fire Protection District

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