The KB1DIG & KB1GTR Ham Page 
please click on the "we will remember" USA flag symbol and follow the links ...our hearts will always be heavy
we remember...the day the world changed 

''The shock and horror of yesterday morning's events are still fresh in our minds.'' 

"Radio amateurs in New York City and elsewhere around the country are doing everything they can to support the authorities in locating and assisting victims.  We know that there are many among us who have been touched personally by these tragedies, but there is comfort in knowing that we are not alone in our grief.'' 

''Never have I felt more strongly about what a great privilege it is to be a part of the extraordinary global community of Amateur Radio.'' 

-Jim Haynie, W5JBP, ARRL President, 9-12-01

Personal note:  11/15/03

We drove to New York City the day the bombs fell in Afghanistan and awoke one city block away from Anthrax.  We were part of the second wave of Volunteers.  And, worked with a lot of people at all levels, sharing feelings, not just Amateur Radio. 

It was good to have a few skills needed to help and gave this Volunteer opportunity our best efforts.  But, we still always need to learn new skill and try new ideas.  Developed a never again attitude, as others have that shared this experience.

Rising to meet the demand.  Few people know this.  The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services had served up to 1,300,000 hot meals by 10/18/2001.  "Compassion Under Fire" that's what they called it.   The growing Logistics Nightmare for an operation that was intended for perhaps only 1 to 2 weeks of normal assistance.  The Salvation Army are the true Heroes.  Food that fueled the Volunteer was only a small part of what they provided.  At the top of an endless list was HOPE..

It still affects us... perhaps it always will.  Think about it everyday..  Reassessments.  Communication problems.  Power generator problems. Worker burnout and fatigue.  What or how could we have done better for this?  It's the drive behind most stuff we do on the Web now, and with this Amateur Radio Hobby.  Turn problems inside out and they become opportunities.

Suggestions of how to prepare for the future.

The short list: Getting more involved…

1) Join a local Radio Net and /or become involved as Net Control Operators.
2) Join your local ARRL-ARES/RACES and/or SATERN.
3) Prepare an Emergency Kit
4) Take an Emergency Communications Course 

Now 98% done..the rest will follow.

We always had just one testimony and shared this when invited as Guest Speakers at Amateur Radio Clubs and the 2002 Dayton Hamvention. 

This is a report wrote on 10/19/01.  This was the day after our return from NYC.  It may offer you some insights as to 2-Meter Tactical Operations in an urban environment.  It outlines most of the complexities and technical aspects involved, along with some of the emotions we felt.  This was requested from us by NH-ARRL/ARES.  They then forwarded it to VOAD.  The ARRL took several quotations from this report and they were aired on “This Week in Amateur Radio” a few weeks later, around the world.   It is was posted in several places on the Web.  The ARRL then did an article in QST.  Please take note of the names of other Hams and people we worked with.  This is some of the info ARRL edited out. 

We added this map today for your better understanding of the size of this operation.  It's a big 406kb gif , mostly black and white, a little fuzzy, not our best stuff..but you'll get the idea.

Thank you all, for everyone's hard work and continued efforts to improve.
Kim & Steve

Salvation Army SATERN Radio Ops in NYC for WTC Disaster

By Steven W. Merrill KB1DIG & Kimberly L. Merrill KB1GTR

October 7th, 2001 Through October 18th, 2001

A personal overview of our experiences

We arrived at Salvation Army Headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Sunday, October 7th, at 4pm.  (On Steve’s Birthday)  We walked into the building and went right to work.  Jeff Schneller (N2HPO) from The Salvation Army (TSA) SATERN Radio Operations greeted us.  We were introduced to everyone and received our ID’s and Special Passes.  There was a large amount of information to review.  The emphasis was placed on the new role of providing Logistical Support, via Amateur Radio.  The debriefings lasted till 10pm.  With Jeff’s help we adjusted our radio equipment and were ready for work the next day.

The operation was broken into several parts:

§ A Control Operator Station at TSA Headquarters located on 14th Street, between The Avenue Of The Americas (6th Ave) and 7th Ave.
§ Field Operators stationed at TSA Food Canteens located in very close proximity to the World Trade Center.
§ Mobile Operators that performed mechanical sweeps and spot checks of several locations throughout Lower Manhattan, and in and around the World Trade Center.
§ Mobile Supply Transport Operators that drove trucks for supplies that were warehoused near the JFK Airport.

Operating Frequencies were diverse:

Local 2-Meter Repeaters:
§ 147.270Mhz (+) 141.3 tone
§ 147.270Mhz (+) 127.3 tone
§ 147.000Mhz (-) 136.5 tone
§ 147.090Mhz (+) 114.8 tone

GMRS Frequency:
§ 462.675Mhz (+) 136.5 tone

NEXTEL and Cell Phone were also used.

Several volunteer Amateur Radio Operators participated in this operation from all over the country.   We did not get all the names and calls.  This list is mostly from memory.  Several other people helped that were
not Hams.  People like Anna Balmer from REACT and Carolyn. 

Some of the HAM operators we met were:
§ George Andrews, N1YAE
§ Richard Carey, KB8OTZ
§ George Donahue, KD2AU
§ David Heine, K4RDH
§ Michael Gomez, N2WGC
§ Mark Griggs, KB8YMN
§ Peter Schneider, WA1PHS
§ Janet Stonecipher, KC0IET
§ Carlos Varon, K2LCV (Jeff’s second in command)

Our shifts ranged from 14 hours a day, in the first week we were there, to around 10 hours a day the second week.  This was due mostly to our eagerness.  We all set our own pace.  Time went quickly.  Not everyone we listed worked all the time.  Several people were coming and going, all the time.  We all took turns.

Kim spent the majority of the time at one of the Canteens located at Ground Zero.  This was nicknamed “ The Florida Kitchen” due to the fact that the Truck came from Florida.  It was also the first Canteen to be installed after the September 11th incident. She made sure that the personnel were well stocked with supplies.  The orders were radioed in to Headquarters via Gary Smith, the Salvation Army Site Coordinator.  She utilized her VX-5R Yaesu Hand-Held with a 19 inch Comet Whip Antenna and a Hand Microphone Attachment.  This was ideal because it enabled her to monitor Radio Operations and, in between transmissions, assist in the various duties of the Site.  She served food to the many workers who came through the line, emptied trashcans, & helped out in various other clean up/maintenance in the area.  She very much enjoyed meeting the people and getting to know them.  There were people from all over the World, including Australia, Canada, & Great Britain.  It was a very humbling experience to be there.  She also tried to cheer up the people there and made several friends in the process.  It was very spooky being there.  There was so much devastation.  Not only the WTC was affected, but several other surrounding buildings & businesses were also lost.  The homeless rate has accelerated a great deal.  Nothing read in the Newspapers or seen on TV could have prepared for the actual sight of all of this.  We had the opportunity to attend a Church Service right at Ground Zero on Sunday, October 14th.  The day after, we took our first tour, on foot, to the Site of the WTC devastation.

Steve spent most of his time driving all over Lower Manhattan.  Our little Mitsubishi Pickup truck was well suited for assistance in several ways.  The mobile radio setup we used was the FT-2500M Yaesu along with a Larson Glass Mount Antenna.  This truck is so small that it was able to go everywhere.  It did just that!  Keeping up with the little 6-wheeled ATV vehicles called Gators that were darting around all over place.  Squeezing down narrow walkways along the backside of the WTC.  Moving in and around excavating equipment.  Steve also used another VX-5R Yaesu Hand-Held with a 19 inch Comet Whip Antenna and a Hand Microphone Attachment for times when he was out of the vehicle.  Some of the tasks Steve performed were transport of people and supplies.  Steve was in constant contact with the Control Operator Station at TSA Headquarters.  Roughly 300 miles of travel in the time we spent there was logged.  Some of the time spent was just talking to people and cheering then up.  He talked to a lot of people!  Our truck was washed with fire hoses twice each time it drove out of the WTC disaster area. This was to remove some of the contamination from the tires and such.

We came home early.  On Wednesday of our 2nd week it was decided that thing were getting better.  We had planned to stay till Saturday, October 20th.  NEXTEL and Cell Phone could now handle operation well enough.  The Salvation Army SATERN Operation decided to stand down.  It was sad to some.  We feel that we had the best of both.  We had an opportunity to be there when things were frantic paced and also when thing began to get better.  At first, the RF interference around the WTC was terrible.  Communications by 2-meters were difficult but manageable.  NEXTEL and Cell Phone were subject to intermittent lockup or failure.  If NEXTEL and Cell Phone communication is the light at the end of the tunnel, then so be it.

To sum things up, we both have reached a feeling of resolve.  We helped in a way that we wished to.  We lived a lifetime in a few short days in NYC.  The State Of New Hampshire and Amateur Radio will always be remembered.  Carlos Varon (K2LCV) received a NH-ARRL/ARES coffee mug from us that we picked up at Hosstraders on October 6th.   Jeff Schneller (N2HPO) has a prototype HALO 2-meter antenna that we designed in our little workshop in the basement.  Mark Griggs (KB8YMN) is organizing a little get together this spring at the Dayton Hamfest.  Friendships that will last a lifetime.  Stories that have no end.  Some things so personal, we will never discuss.  Salvation Army SATERN is to be commended.  They were more than nice to us.  We felt like a part of a family!

Kimberly L. Merrill  KB1GTR
Steven W. Merrill  KB1DIG

Dover, NH