The North Bend Amateur Radio Emergency Services (NBAT) Team is a group where innovation and technical problem-solving are at the forefront. Dee Williamson, an NBAT volunteer and FCC-licensed amateur radio operator, emphasizes the team’s constant need for more hands: “When someone asks, ‘How many radio operators do you need?’ Our response is always ‘one more than we have.’”
NBAT plays a crucial role when standard communication methods fail. They support public agencies like the City of North Bend and Eastside Fire and Rescue, helping with emergency preparation and more.
Doug Dickinson, another FCC-licensed volunteer with NBAT, collaborates with SECAST (Snoqualmie Emergency Communications and Support Team) and city staff on a project to improve a flashing sign system. This system will broadcast emergency alerts and tourist information in North Bend and Snoqualmie.
“It takes a cadre of people to get in and take control of the system,” Dickinson explains, discussing the challenges faced, especially during the Covid pandemic when expertise in operating the broadcast system diminished. This winter, NBAT and other volunteer groups are learning to control and improve the system’s messaging. They are currently working on programming the transmitter for a better message and troubleshooting the flashing signs.
Interested in volunteering?
NBAT welcomes individuals of all ages interested in amateur radio. “It makes a great hobby,” says Mr. Dickinson. Operating radios for emergencies requires a license, obtainable through a local technician class and exam, open to all ages.
NBAT also invites those without training to join, as emergencies require various roles beyond operating radios. “In the event of an emergency, we will need more than just operators,” Mr. Williamson points out. Emergency communication also involves logging information, physically running information when needed, and more.
NBAT holds monthly and weekly meetings for networking, idea sharing, technical training, and emergency simulations.
Joining NBAT is not just about becoming a radio operator; it’s about being part of a community dedicated to safety and innovation. Whether you’re experienced or new to amateur radio, your contribution can significantly impact emergency preparedness and response. Get involved today to help keep North Bend safe and connected.