AAR: Klondike Derby B.S.A.

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Submitted by Tim Gelvin K3TEG

After Action Summary: Klondike Derby 2016


The local boy scouts from the Seven Bridges District of Susquehanna Council held their annual Klondike Derby at the Buffalo Valley Sportsmen’s Association just outside of Mifflinburg, PA. During the winter months of the year, boy scouts all across the nation gather within their local districts and compete against one another and patrols against patrols using their skills they have learned or refined from the last time they have competed. This derby was slightly different from the previous years in this council. Scouts were actually participating in an Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) drill operated by Snyder and Northumberland county emergency management agencies. Approximately 175 Scouts had the opportunity to see how amateur radio works and send radiograms home using the amateur radio emergency services. In addition by participating, all scouts met the requirement for their emergency preparedness merit badge.


The HAM operators at the Klondike, volunteering on a cold but sunny morning were Jymi Conbeers-KC3EQT, Joe White -KC3EBX and Tim Gelvin -K3TEG, then in the afternoon Ken-WB3BNY joined the group on-site. Operation setup and tear down was led by Fred-KA3IRJ, Al-AB3CE and Allan-KB3AC. Each operator brought their own radio gear, including their antennas and other gear. Snyder County ARES provided the feedline for antenna systems.

The Snyder County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) acted as Net Control and routed all message traffic. All operators called into KC3ELF (ARES) with message traffic or waiting to receive traffic. Volunteer amateur radio operators in our area would check into the ARES Emergency Net to be matched up with one of the HAM operators at the derby, then switch to another repeater in which a boy overseen by a ham operator would transmit their message. A ham operator in the area would receive traffic and pass the message to the recipient right after receiving the message. When they were done, they would check back into Net Control for another assignment. A total of 80 boys were able to send a message home. For the boys that were earning their Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge, they all got credit for requirement 7a because they all participated in an actual Amateur Radio Emergency Service drill.

Snyder/Northumberland EC Ken Balliet with Tim’s Boy Scout Benjamin Gelvin, bearing up under the bitter cold to man the command post!

Special Credit for this event belongs to all these folks:

Organizational leadership

Kathy McKibbon – Seven Bridges District Activities Director

Tim Gelvin, K3TEG – ARES Klondike Drill Coordinator / Scouting Liaison

Ken Balliet, WB3BNY – Snyder-Northumberland Counties ARES Emergency Coordinator

Bill Hoops, K3WJH – Baptist Church Emergency Communications Response Team

Repeater Used in the Drill, Owners are:
Snyder-Northumberland County ARES, KC3ELF – 147.180MHz

Marvin Paul, N3JIW – repeater 147.270MHz

Bill Dickerson, WA2JOC – repeater 145.290MHz

Fred Uebelhoer, KA3IRJ – owner of repeater KC3FIT 146.650MHz

Milton Amateur Radio Club, K3FLT – repeaters 146.625MHz and 146.985MHz

ARES Engineering on-site:

Fred Uebelhoer -KA3IRJ

Al Yessel -AB3CE

Allan Cooke -KB3AC

Receiving Stations passing messages to recipients:

Bill Beck -K3ARR

Bill Hoops-K3WJH

John McCann -W3GY

Fred Simons -NX3V

Fred Uebelhoer -KA3IRJ

Roy Ackley -KC3BYC

Bill Moyer -KD3MC

Terry Carroll – KB3ZLZ

Al Yessel – AB3CE

Net Control at Snyder County EOC:




Ed Beaudoin – KK4FYV

ALL HAM Operators Participating:

Bill Beck, K3ARR

Fred Uebelhoer, KA3IRJ

Al Yessel, AB3CE

Terry Carrol, KB3ZLZ

John McCann, W3GY

Roy Ackley, KC3BYC

Jymi Conbeer, KC3EQT

Joe White, KC3EBX

Ed Beaudoin, KK4FYV

Allan Cooke, KB3AC

Ken Balliet, WB3BNY

Bill Hoops, K3WJH

Tim Gelvin, K3TEG

Fred Simon, NX3V

Bill Moyer, KD3MC

Resources provided:

Ham Volunteer Time : Over 250 hours in planning, set up, and operations

Ham Volunteer estimated costs: travel, parts, food……$400.00

All remote site (derby) equipment was provided by volunteers.

Snyder County EOC station KC3ELF acted as Net Control for this training.


This was a WIN WIN WIN situation… The scouts completed a requirement for the emergency preparedness badge, the local ARES team pulled off one of the biggest drills they’ve ever done… and on top of that, Amateur Radio has inspired 175 boys, (1) 8 yr old girl and a dozens of parents to become HAM operators.

Special thanks to all Hams and organizations for their cooperation and donation of time and resources to complete this drill. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

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