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Evanston hams stage military appreciation day

Members of the Evanston Amateur Radio Community, more familiarly known as "hams," set up their transmitters at James Park on Saturday to participate in a nationwide exercise that honors the men and women serving in the armed forces throughout the world.

Members of the Evanston Amateur Radio Community, more familiarly known as "hams," set up their transmitters at James Park on Saturday to participate in a nationwide exercise that honors the men and women serving in the armed forces throughout the world.

Evanston hams Marilyn Gardner, W9LUO, and Scott Irwin, W8UFO, at James Park.

The exercise, Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day (ARMAD), involves ham radio clubs, like the one in Evanston, establishing locations in parks, shopping centers, beaches, and other places where people gather on Memorial Day weekend to offer non-hams the opportunity to speak to troops serving around the world, expressing their appreciation for the sacrifices the military personnel make every day on the nation’s behalf.

From their James Park outpost, the local hams communicated with armed services personnel from as far away as Wyoming and Florida. Their most common message was short and simple: "thank you for all that you do."

The Evanston club, representing the nearly 200 licensed operators in the Evanston area, is an affiliate of the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio.

It was established a year ago with the principal mission of assisting the city with emergency communications in the event of a disaster that disrupts normal communication.

The group meets monthly at the Evanston Fire Department training center on Lake Street. Many of its members are trained weather spotters and provide information to the national weather service about local conditions on the ground following severe weather episodes.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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