Abbi KF5BEW and Kendra KF5FYS Featured on USAToday
While tooling around on Google for some higher images in the vast repository that is the internet, I stumbled on an article on the USAToday.com website that featured two prominent YACHT Club members. Abbi KF5BEW and Kendra KF5FYS run a youth net every Thursday evening at 7pm CST on their local VHF repeater in the Lafayette, Louisiana area.
The original story can be read at USAToday.com...
Ham radio family enjoys distant connections
Herman Fuselier, firstname.lastname@example.org Published 5:45 p.m. ET June 22, 2016 | Updated 10:50 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2016
Front to Back: Kendra KF5FYS, Abbi KF5BEW, and Galen KF5BET
Photo by SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER
Editor's note: This story originally ran in June.
Every Thursday night, Abbi and Kendra Wilson talk to friends who may be near Seattle or in the country of Belize. These teenage sisters make these faraway connections without a cell phone, text or email.
The Wilsons are controllers of a weekly Youth Net, an on-air gathering of amateur radio operators, who are sometimes called hams. With hand-held, FM radios or home stations, the sisters talk to their friends about music, movies or whatever comes to mind.
Abbi, 19, says ham radio cured her of any mic fright a long time ago.
“You get to know so many different people from so many walks of life,” said Abbi, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student in visual arts and computer animation. “Ham radio has made me a lot more confident in talking to people.
“Once you start that conversation, you have to keep talking. It got me out of my shell. I credit it for my outgoing personality today.”
When electricity, phones and internet fail during hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters, ham radio remains on the air with operators relaying messages in and out of affected areas.
The ability to communicate globally with minimal gear appeals to Abbi and Kendra’s father, Galen Wilson.
“We have this radio that we can hook up to a battery or house power,” said Wilson, whose call sign is KF5BET. “You throw a wire out in the trees and hook up a cable. With the power of a light bulb that you have in a light by your bed, you can talk around the world to anybody.
“That’s the magic I find about it. How far can I go with that piece of wire that’s hanging out in the tree? When you talk to people, it doesn’t have to be about radio stuff. It’s just a conversation with anybody about anything.
“If I need it, I can talk to other people in emergencies. I can relay messages. I can become a viable part of an emergency team that is trying to help a community when they really need it.”
Ham radio became a family affair for the Wilsons seven years ago. In sixth grade, Abbi had a friend who failed a science project. The teacher promised a passing grade if the friend took a ham radio class at the Chidren’s Museum of Acadiana.
Abbi and Galen joined in and all three passed. Young sister Kendra followed a year later.
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Kendra, now 17, enjoys the hobby’s technology, which can involve digital modes, satellites and more.
“It’s such an experimental hobby," said Kendra. "I’ve learned more about electronics than I probably ever would have.
“You get to play around with all the electronics and create your own set-ups a lot of the times. It’s really hands on.”