From The North Pole Gazette
Filed by WX4PBC
On December 8th,2013, PBC Skywarn amateur
radio operators and the AMARA Shriners Temple
co-hosted the 3rd Annual Santa with the
Shriners Children's QSO Party. The
QSO party takes place during the AMARA Temple's annual Children's
Christmas party is for children and their families involved in the Shriners medical program
and is held annually during the Holiday Season at the AMARA
Temple in Palm Beach Gardens
children and their families enjoy fellowship, lunch and fun activities for the
is the Shriners medical program for children?
1920 the Shriners passed a resolution to establish a hospital
system with the first hospital opening in 1922 in Shreveport La.
Today, the Shriners maintain 22 children's hospitals in the US
class medical staff volunteer their time and expertise to the treatment
of children throughout the world.
is the "Santa Amateur Radio QSO Party?
Shriner / Skywarn member Brian Price was looking for a Shriner
project for the children. Brian mentioned it to Assistant PBC
Skywarn Coordinator and Amateur Radio operator Ray Ruby WX4PBC.
with the support of Palm Beach County Skywarn Coordinator Maurice Dake
K9EE, "The rest as you know...is history".
established the "Santa QSO Party whereas amateur
radio operators or "ham" members with the Palm Beach
County SKYWARN program team up with the Shriners to give the
children an opportunity to "speak" with Santa Claus
via amateur radio.
The QSO party allows the children to
experience the excitement of speaking to Santa in flight as well
as experience the excitement of amateur radio.
children are members of only a small group who
talk to Santa via an amateur radio and for some... is a "Once In A
amateur radio event starts with PBC SKYWARN amateur
radio operators assembling a special “Santenna”
with the children which is then used to make contact with Santa
at his North Pole workshop or in amateur radio speak, Santa's
"Home QTH"(Toy Land). Grid Sq. AA00aa
The “Santenna” is a 2m ½ wave vertical antenna (facsimile)
made from special conductive candy cane material. The antenna is
connected to the radio
station with Santa Grade RG316/U candy cane coax. The SWR
was a bit high but the signal was 5/9 and reports of very sweet
The boys and girls
speak with Santa in flight via amateur
radio. On arrival at the temple, Santa makes his rounds visiting all the children
and gave each child a gift and a “I spoke to Santa”
a Special Event QSL card
commemorating their in-flight QSO with Santa Claus.
Santa QSO Party 2013
(next to radio) and Jeff Hepburn
up their radio station at
the temple for the
children to speak to Santa.
reviewed the flight weather information provided by PBC Skywarn
and the National Weather Service WFO-Miami.
Steve and Jeff coordinated the flight plan and tracking of
Santa's flight using APRS or
Packet Reporting System used by amateur
radio operators to track APRS
established radio communications with Steve
improved elf designed reindeer proof PBC Skywarn radio
Go-Kit and special mobile sleigh no ground antenna built by Ray WX4PBC
& Sandy KJ4YZE.
immediately began having QSO's with the children while
en-route to the temple.
a 45 minute flight and upon getting clearance from PBIA tower, Santa
had "Hoofs Down" on time at the temple.
The Ladies of the Shrine
or LOS, assisted Santa by filling out
the amateur radio QSL card
which is a worldwide amateur radio custom to confirm a radio
"contact" or "QSO" between stations.
The earliest two-way
radio QSL card exchange reference seems to be a card sent in 1916 from
8VX in Buffalo, New York to 3TQ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Like the Shriners, the
"Ladies of the Shrine" or LOS volunteer their services to the
Shriner projects and community. The LOS work
tirelessly and graciously.
PBC Skywarn amateur radio
operators thank the LOS for their service in maintaining the QSL cards
for the children each year.
Each child received a QSL Card
& Shirt confirming their amateur radio contact or "QSO" with Santa.
PBC Skywarn would like to
thank the Shriner AMARA Temple for allowing us once again to participate
in their noble community
Our participation would
not be possible if not for AMARA Temple Potentate Dan Dyle and Chief
Rabban and Skywarn member Brian Price. and the support of Palm Beach
County Skywarn Coordinator Maurice Dake K9EE
and Skywarn amateur radio operators. And of course, Santa and
L to R: AMARA Temple
Past Potentate: Dan
Santa & AMARA Temple 2014 Potentate Brian Price
By Shirley Simmons
See you next year and remember..."Keep
Your Eye on the Sky"
"When all else fails...Amateur Radio "
Forget about the up-coming
Mobile Service Net's
Santa Claus Net
learn more about Amateur (Ham) Radio,
here By Don,VE3XD