Thursday, October 9, 2008
Army Amateur Radio Station in Iraq Seeks American Military Personnel to Lead Station
Army Captain Jeff Hammer,YI9IC/N9NIC, the custodian of the Baghdad Amateur Radio Society (BARS), is due to come home after a nine month tour of duty with the Indiana National Guard. "I need someone I can turn the BARS station over to," he said. "Please assist me in finding other Amateur Radio operators in or coming to Iraq."
The Baghdad station boasts the following equipment: an ICOM IC-7000 transceiver, an LDG Z-100 autotuner, a Kantronics KAM XL wireless modem, a RIGblaster Pro, an MFJ 25 A power supply, plus a Cushcraft MA5B 3-element beam and a Trans World TW2010 vertical dipole. The club library is valued at $400. All items in the station have been donated by various Amateur Radio vendors.
Hammer, a military intelligence officer who previously served in Afghanistan, took over the club leadership last spring from Army Major Scott Hedberg, AD7MI, when Hedberg returned to the US. Since his arrival in April 2008, Hammer has mentored half a dozen service members for their licenses and led the station's first ARRL Field Day operation. "We enjoy learning about radio and talking with unique people in unique places," he said. "We've been excited to talk to many stations back in the U.S."
Hammer said it can get busy, too, handling MARSgrams between soldiers and their families during holidays. BARS members operate under the Army call sign AEN5NAA relaying soldier messages through MARS WinLink stations in Qatar or Germany.
Keeping the club active is a challenge in the face of constant troop rotation, Hammer said. "Operating Amateur Radio in camp is fairly easy, as long as you ask your commander and don't cause interference," he said. "If you know of any hams deploying to Iraq, contact me as soon as possible to coordinate the transfer of equipment and discuss licensing procedures." Hammer can be reached via e-mail.