Ham Radio Helps Get Medical Attention for Mobile Operator in Distress
In this era of nearly ubiquitous cell phones, Amateur Radio still offers a way to summon help in an emergency. Ron Smith, N1PXX, of Marshfield, Massachusetts, is living proof. Over Memorial Day weekend, on May 24, Smith, who’s in his 60s, broke in on a conversation on the N1ZIZ 146.685 MHz repeater in Plymouth to say he was having a medical problem.
“Ron had pulled over on the highway and was having a tough time talking on his radio,” said ARRL member John Williams, KB1EVY, the president of the Genesis Amateur Radio Society President, which owns the N1ZIZ repeater. The Genesis ARS is an ARRL Special Service Club.
One of the two stations that had been on the repeater — ARRL member Kevin O’Donnell, K1KOD — acknowledged Smith’s call and asked for Smith’s cell phone number. With some difficulty and assistance from the second station, David Blackford, KB1QJX, who was visiting the Cape Cod area from Connecticut, O’Donnell was able to call Smith and establish that he needed prompt medical attention.
O’Donnell cleared the repeater and requested priority for a medical emergency. “Using both the radio and the cell, Kevin kept talking with Ron. He called 911, [and] gave Ron’s location to the State Police,” Williams said. O’Donnell let Smith know that an ambulance and police were en route. Smith reported that he saw the police pass by, but the cruiser did not stop
ARRL Life Member Dave Ring, N1EA, joined the conversation at this point and assisted K1KOD. “N1EA was instrumental in making calls to the State police, who got back to Kevin that they had picked up Ron and were heading for South Shore Hospital,” Williams recounted. Once Smith was on his way to the hospital, O’Donnell secured the brief emergency net. Williams said that in addition to the Massachusetts State Police, the call brought mutual aid from the Pembroke and Marshfield police departments and ambulance.
“Ron is still in the hospital and doing okay,” Williams said later. “I talk with him once a day. He is so grateful for what was done for him! I would like to say, ‘a job well done’ by Kevin, K1KOD; David, N1EA, and Dave, KB1QJX.”
Williams said he later got in touch with the Marshfield PD, to make sure that the two dogs Smith and his wife Joan, KB1NAX, had at home would be cared for. “The police called me back [to say] arrangements had been made,” Williams said. “Further calls were made to make certain his vehicle was okay, and the State police said it was secured. I am very proud of these individuals who came forward and made this become a happy ending.” — Thanks to John Williams, KB1EVY, and ARRL Eastern Massachusetts SM Phil Temples, K9HI