Amateur Radio Salmon Run September 18-19


September 16, 2021

The antenna raising team at the planning session "table top," from left to right: Pat KI7ORS, Glenn KJ7UMW, Steve K7SH, Jim KG7WSQ, Bob WB6AGE, Gordon WA6TTR. Present but not in the photo Ron W7ERY. Photo by Ron Wright.

Submitted by Ron Wright

Every year in September amateur radio clubs hold a contest to see who can talk to other operators in all 39 counties in the state, and to see who can make the most contacts outside of the state. We call it the "Salmon Run." To learn more about it, visit our club team in operation at the baseball field behind the track at Wahkiakum high School anytime from noon on Saturday September 18 to 3 p.m. Sunday September 19.

To increase our contacts this year, we decided to install a "super antenna": a horizontal loop antenna that is over three football fields in length, strung between the light poles at the ball field. The construction team was made up of folks who are all used to leading engineering projects, but since Bob WB6GE was the last to duck, he got the job of telling the rest of us what to do, with Steve K7SH as his "foreman." The antenna went up easily. And the results of initial testing were spectacular. During the middle of the day the 80 meter band is usually useful only to about 300 miles. In our tests using a meager 9 watts of output power (normal is 100 watts) we had good reception reports from the east coast of the US - that is 10 times farther than a normal antenna at one-tenth of the normal power used! Wow - needless to say, there were a bunch of "old kids" jumping around in celebration.

The emergency operations communications plan for amateur radio in our county comes in two missions: 1) Local communications using FM frequencies wherein we gather concerns and situation updates from the fire halls and from rovers and get that info to the county Emergency Operations Center in Cathlamet. 2) Distant communications where we get info out to the outside world and bring info back into Wahkiakum county. The Salmon Run is a test of that second mission from the high school site. We also currently have 10 amateur radio operators in our county who can do similar long-distance communications from their homes.

The normal procedure for anyone in our country during a big emergency is to first connect with your local fire hall. The professionals there know how to get you the best help and to provide communications as needed. Amatuer radio systems and operators are there to assist your fire hall emergency responders. To prepare for the "big one" our amateur radio club - N7WAH - and Beau Renfro from Wahkiakum County Emergency Services, are in the final lap of getting amateur radio communications gear into each fire hall in our county. When this back-up system is complete, every fire hall in the county will be able to talk directly with every other fire hall and with the EOC, without interfering with their emergency channels.

If you would like to get involved with emergency services in our county, please contact Beau Renfro at the courthouse or email him at

If you would like to know more about amateur radio in our county, or get contact info, please check out our website at


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