Short History of the Bellingham Auxiliary Communications System [BACS]
Two major ideas converged into one: Putting amateur radio stations into the Bellingham Fire Stations and putting an amateur radio repeater on top of Sehome Hill.
Just before the state-way earthquake exercise in 2016, it was discovered that the Bellingham Fire Department had eight ham radios kits that had been stored away and had been forgotten. Ron Shrigley immediately started a campaign to install them into as many fire stations as possible. Bill Hanes of Bellingham Public Works was instrumental in getting antennas and cables installed on the Broadway, Fairhaven and Yew streets fire stations where the ham stations are now located.
On a parallel track, but just as crucial, Jim McCabe, the president of Whatcom Emergency Communications Group [WECG] was pushing the city hard to get an amateur radio repeater onto the new communications tower that they were installing on the top of Sehome Hill. Jim worked with again Bill Hanes to accomplish the important task. With the new repeater, hams involved in emergency communications could now connect throughout the city with no dead spots.
The two goals came together so that the fire stations ham units could now talk clearly with one another providing an important backup communications network to aid the city in times of emergencies and disasters.
BACS meets monthly on the third Wednesday of each month at 1900 (7:00 p.m.) at Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center (WUECC) at 3888 Sound Way near the Bellingham airport. For more information, send an email to email@example.com. Minutes to past meetings are available here.