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Texas Hams Injured at Field Day Site


On the morning of June 26, two Texas radio amateurs -- Danny Caldwell, AD5IP, of Kamay, and Mike Byrne, AE5CO, of Iowa Park -- received electric shocks as they took down an inverted V antenna. According to Wichita County Emergency Coordinator Larry Ballard, KE5KNV, the two were taking part in Field Day as part of the Wichita Amateur Radio Society (WARS).

“The Wichita Amateur Radio Society decided to terminate the participation in the exercise at 10 AM on Sunday, due to extreme heat and gusty wind conditions,” Ballard told the ARRL. “Danny and Mike were injured while lowering the center pole of the inverted V dipole antenna to the ground. They were knocked to the ground when a guy wire, or the antenna lead-in, was hit with very high wind gust that blew it into a high [power] line wire.” According to reports from witnesses, winds were gusting up to 40 miles per hour.

Ballard said 911 was called immediately and a rescue van arrived in a matter of minutes. The Fire Rescue Team determined that the two men were stable and they were transported to United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls. Caldwell received CPR at the scene and was air lifted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Byrne was transported to Parkland later by ambulance.

“This was the second year that the Wichita Amateur Radio Society had set up at Oscar Park in the City of Iowa Park for Field Day event,” Ballard explained. “The antennas were located in the same location as the prior year, using the same safety practice of locating the antennas a safe distance from power lines and structures. The inverted V dipole antenna had yellow caution tape, marking guy wires and antenna end locations.”

Ballard said that Byrne was released from the hospital on Monday, June 27 and was resting at home. Caldwell, who suffered more serious injuries, is expected to be released on Tuesday, June 28.



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