De W7JWJ & W7QGP
The Columbia River had crested! Taking off from the Richland Airport, W7JWJ piloted a small plane on an inspection of the Yakima and Columbia Rivers. Between Richland and the mighty Columbia stood a million dollar dike built in just three days by the Army Corp of Engineers. Standing every few hundred feet along the dike was an amateur radio volunteer, most from the Richland radio club and most members of WARTS. They waved at the passing aircraft.
At the Richland ‘Y’ the Yakima enters the Columbia and at this junction stood a little red barn. Flying over the spot W7JWJ observed a metal rooster weather vane protruding from the water. The rest of the barn was under water.
Fifty-eight years later W7JWJ and XYL W7QGP were attending a banquet att the Richland ‘Y’ in a brand new restaurant. Looking out the window of the dining hall one could still see the high water mark on trees and buildings. That watermark was higher than the roof of the restaurant!!
Will we ever learn? Will we ever learn? Will the Columbia flood again? Will we members of the WARTS be prepared? What will new technology bring? Can we members of the Net adapt?
During the first year of its existence WARTS Net handled an average of over 30 pieces of traffic a day for a yearly total of over 11,000, all third party messages. The following is from the Bremerton Sun.
"With the Northwest’s disastrous flood growing in vast proportions, certain bedrooms, back shops and attics in Bremerton are thriving as important centers of communication.
Hams, here and all along the affected area were set for the flood before it happened. They have a new network, known as WARTS NET and over its frequencies are speeding messages vital and incidental to the flood work.
The operators already had emergency drills. They knew exactly what their role would be in time of crisis.
They were well prepared for action when a voice from Vanport crackled over the airwaves, "There’s a dike busted down here!!"
From Riley, W7CKT
We handled traffic for the US Dept of Engineers, in Wash & Org State. Our organized participation in the Vanport Disaster undoubtedly improved the "ham" image in the eyes of the citizens and at the same time baptized our new Net in the sea of "EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS." This copy should be put in its rightful place in the history of the WARTS Net.