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Guest article by Bill Radtke, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

There’s a new addition to the lineup for the 2016 Kirtland’s Warbler Festival being held in Roscommon on Saturday, June 4—members of the local Amateur Radio Community (Ham Radio)! The Ham Radio operators will be operating a Special Event Radio Station (SES) on the grounds of the festival.

The SES call sign K8W has been assigned to the event through the American Radio Relay League (amateur radio’s national organization). The operators will be attempting to make USA and worldwide two-way contacts with other Hams on several radio frequencies for the purpose of providing awareness of the festival and the recovery efforts of the Kirtland’s Warbler.

We hope to engage operators from The Bahamas to mimic the warbler’s flight from the islands to Michigan. Distinct “QSL” (confirmation of contact) cards, provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, will be available for exchange by mail with the radio stations “worked” or contacted.

Ham Radio operators frequently provide communications assistance to Emergency Management Agencies and utilize events such as the Kirtland’s Warbler Festival to practice remote operations and hone their disaster assistance skills.  Ham Radio’s role in times of need can range from providing health and welfare communications at aid shelters to direct back-up of failed public safety radio systems.  Ham Radio operators can frequently provide rapid on-the-fly technical work arounds to keep communication flowing when other systems fail.

In Michigan the two emergency services arms of Ham Radio “ARES” the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and “RACES” the Radio Amateur Civilian Emergency Service are recognized by the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division as components of their “AUXCOMM” auxiliary communications initiative. There will be several “phone” or voice transmitters working as well as a “CW” or Morse code operator at the festival. Several operators will also work K8W from their home base stations during the following week.

Please stop by the K8W station and learn about Amateur Radio and how we assist our communities!

Those seeking additional information about Ham Radio may email or visit


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