W4BFB means Public Service
An important reason for the existence of Amateur Radio and W4BFB is to provide public service. The FCC says so, our bylaws say so, and it’s a favorite activity for many of us. Our public service events provide justification for more radio toys, and the experience of operating communication systems, equipment, and nets efficiently in all kinds of environments, which sharpens our operating skills. Public service includes both ARES events and other events. ARES activities drill to prepare and react to emergencies and disasters. This page describes some of those other public service events where we attempt to prevent emergencies and disasters.
The events that we choose are those where we think we can contribute the most. Usually these outside activities include lots of people, activity, noise, and volunteers to coordinate who don’t regularly work with each other. For all of these reasons cell phones are difficult to use. Our primary purpose is to make a safer, more enjoyable event for all participants (including event directors and other volunteers), by providing timely, experienced communications. Because we do many of these events, often we can be more helpful to new volunteers than just as a radio operator. In the process, with our HTs, antennas, banners, and hats, we become known in our community for the assistance that we can provide. Many of these events include not only neighbors who then don’t complain about our towers and antennas at home, but also people with influence in our community who can see how useful we can be, especially with better repeater sites.
Before event day, we meet with the organizers to learn their requirements, the time schedule, location maps, and their expectations of us. Then, we enlist Hams to cover the various positions. The important thing is that each of us understand what is required for our positions and have the needed equipment and backup equipment for a reliable station. Frequencies are chosen, equipment is prepared, and as much detail information as possible is distributed to our Hams.
When event day arrives, it is very important that all stations are punctual and prepared. Many times we are most busy when foul weather or other unexpected factors occur, making our preparation even more important. Cooperative spirits and flexibility reflect our capabilities as much as our radio communications, and part of our reliability is still being there at the end when the event is finished.