On the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m., members of the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club, which is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League, meet at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. The meeting is for a service organization of these clubs – the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. It is led by Kevin Kingery, KJ4IVJ, the Aiken County section emergency coordinator.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service – or ARES – members are trained to communicate clearly in local emergencies, which includes learning about the different radios and equipment they are licensed to use as well as drills designed to hone communication skills. Members are of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, and more members and nonmembers are welcome to join.

A recent meeting was the Aiken County Go-Kit exhibition and contest. These Go-Kits would be useful for any family in an emergency or survival situation. Each participant is prepared to present a show-and-tell demonstration. Having no guidelines, these types of projects are open to creativity and individual needs. The number of radios and antennas vary from one per kit to three or more. Grouping the equipment into an organized container is as different as the choice of sandwiches at Firehouse Subs – almost anything goes.

Some include the creature comforts while others limit their kits to the necessities of survival. Every set-up is unique. Judging for this competition is subjective, and all entries were judged by Paul Matthews, KB4GYT from Aiken County Emergency Management, and Kevin Kingery, KJ4IVJ. The judges looked for portability, ingenuity, usability, readiness, ease of deployment, versatility, store-bought versus home brew and ease of operation.

After a brief deliberation, the judges award first place to Darby Wills, KK4PEQ, an eighth-grader at Schofield Middle School. The judges felt his enthusiasm as he demonstrated the antenna he made at a Schofield Middle School Technology/Ham Club meeting using an iron extension cord. Wills also thought to include a camping mattress for those all-night DX contests.

For more information on the North Augusta Radio Belvedere Club, visit www.k4nab.org.