Chester County ARES-RACES Provides Communications for Northbrook Canoe Challenge for Cerebral Palsy

W3XE: George Vargo watches out for the safety of canoe racersW3XE: George Vargo watches out for the safety of canoe racersKB3PCY: Martin Odom is there with solid communications.KB3PCY: Martin Odom is there with solid communications.WB3GCK: Craig LaBarge stands watch at the 2009 Northbrook Canoe Challenge.WB3GCK: Craig LaBarge stands watch at the 2009 Northbrook Canoe Challenge.May 4, 2009, Northbrook, PA -- Fourteen members of the Chester County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (ARES-RACES) assembled at the 2009 Annual Northbrook Canoe Challenge and Duck Race on Sunday, May 3rd to provide logistical and emergency communications for the annual canoe race. About 200 canoe-challenged contestants in ninety-some canoes paddled down the Brandywine Creek under the watchful eye of ARES-RACES radio-equipped volunteers, who provided immediate notification to race officials over a sophisticated portable UHF and VHF radio network, designed, built and operated by ARES-RACES members.

Despite the constant rain, the race went forward without incident. “The Chester County ARES-RACES (CCAR) team has provided this service for many years. Both the Northbrook race officials and the Phoenixville-based special water rescue team, that provides volunteers annually, have expressed interest and appreciation for our members being on the lookout for trouble,” said Lor Kutchins, W3QA, Emergency Coordinator for CCAR. “Every one of our members participating today has completed advanced training in emergency communications and, in some cases, incident command. We participate in public service events often to keep sharp.” In addition to Kutchins, those who took part in Sunday’s operation included Timothy Beyer, KB3FCJ of West Grove, Al Morris, W3HOA of Berwyn, Martin Odem, KB3PCY of Kennett Square, John Anderson, KB3OLG of Chadds Ford, Tom Smith, KB3TQS of Malvern, Lloyd Roach, W3QT of Birmingham Township, George Vargo, W3XE of Avondale, Craig La Barge, WB3GCK, of Phoenixville, Richard Kane, KB3CVC of West Chester, Joe Ames, W3JY of Malvern, John Ciaccia, KB3MNL of Downingtown, Barry Feierman, K3EUI of Westtown, and Dave Proffitt, K3YK of Spring City.

Chester County ARES-RACES is part of a nationwide sanctioned cadre of FCC licensed amateur radio operators, who are recognized by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. CCAR volunteers donate their time, expertise and equipment in order to provide emergency communications for Chester County’s Department of Emergency Services and back up service for the Chester County 9-1-1 center.

--de W3QT, PIO