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W6VAH - How it all began The Jerry Pettis Veterans Administration ( VA )   Amateur Radio Club officially began on February 1, 2011 and was formed by five volunteers and two employees of the VA Hospital.

Several years previous, the hospital set up a VHF/UHF radio station to assist in the event of an emergency. At that time the station was operated by licensed hams who were employees at the hospital. Over the years hams came and went but the station remained. Once per month someone would go by the station and check to be sure the equipment was still working and make a couple contacts. Then the station went silent for several years because all the licensed operators that were involved with the station had left the hospital.

In September, 2010 veteran Keith Tomas, KE6TT, started asking questions of hospital staff about what had happened to the ham radio station previously in operation. He inquired at the Volunteer Office and they had no answer. They suggested he call the Personnel Office . They also had no answer and Keith was referred elsewhere. After many phone calls, Keith finally found an answer in the Emergency Management Office. Mark Solheid was the Emergency Manager for the hospital and he had received his ham license in July 2009. He was working alongside Ted Gegoux , the Safety Director at the hospital who was trying to get the radio station back in operation.They just weren't sure of where to get operators or indeed how to operate the station themselves. Keith introduced himself to both Mark and Ted then asked them if they needed a volunteer to help with the ham station. Their response was No, we need someone to run it because we don't know even how to turn the power on or operate the equipment .

So that was how we got started. Over the following months Keith worked to get the equipment operational. He asked Mark and Ted if they would consider updating the equipment because of its age and condition. Give me a list of what you need and I will see what I can do �was Marks response. That is just exactly what Keith did. New antennas, new VHF/UHF radio, new HF radio, new HF antenna, new mikes. You name it and Keith asked for it. While all this was going on Keith had been talking with his friends on the local repeater and they in turn started asking how they might become involved with this venture.

By mid January, 2011, Keith had five additional volunteers to help get the station operational. The receipt of a new Kenwood TH-D710 VHF/UHF radio and a new Comet X-510 antenna helped improve troop morale. A new IC-7600 HF radio was ordered to replace the existing Yaesu FT-840 and funding approval was pending. The team began operating and waited for the new equipment to arrive.

A discussion began between the volunteers about approaching the VA with forming a club station. All fingers pointed toward Keith , so he was elected to make the requests. Mark and Ted were supportive of the plan and checked with upper management and received approval. So on February 1, 2011, Keith Tomas KE6TT, Larry Anderson W6LAR, Fred Ziegler K6NLX, Harley Brogdon KG6ZEL, Don Kramer WA6UVW, Mark Solheid KJ6BBI, and Ted Gegoux, soon to become a ham, formed the Jerry Pettis VA Amateur Radio Club. Shortly after receiving our club call KJ6MUQ we applied and received our current call W6VAH.

Today we are using an IC-7600 through an Alpha 99 amp and through a Hy-Gain TH5 beam antenna approximately 90 feet above the ground atop the highest point of the hospital for our 20 meter net. Also we have an Alpha Delta atop the roof which we are using on 10 and 40 meters with another IC-7600..

W6VAH has been running weekly nets since February 2011. We currently operate our net on Monday through Friday on a frequency of 14.255 SSB +/- for interference for two hours between 0900 and 1100 local time. CW operators look for our Korean War Vet answering CQ's on 10 through 40 meters . Please join us and mention this to your fellow "Ham Radio" buddies. And don't forget, there is no military background experience required to participate in our "open" net. 73.



Our newly remodeled "shack" is now in operation with 2) IC 7600 's , and 2) uhf/vhf stations.



QSL cards are available .

Larry and Keith installing A3S         Rich   KJ6YO                    Doug    N6TFP


    Don     KJ6VXD ( SK- 7/19/2016 )                           Don     WA6UVW              Jerry L Pettis VA Hospital


    Harley     KG6ZEL                      Keith - CRO  KE6TT                                           Doug W.    KI6CIB


    George     W6GRH                                    Kathy  KK6NWT                                        Spencer   K6ACQ


    Fred     K6NLX                                               Rich L.   KJ6WIB


8170791 Last modified: 2017-06-20 16:14:37, 6714 bytes

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