The Kansas City Hospital Emergency Amateur Radio Team (KCHEART) project evolved following the national recognition of the value of amateur radio as a resource, post Katrina, in the hospital environment. To that end the regional hospital emergency preparedness committee, utilizing various funding methods, allocated almost $250,000.00 to install permanent radio equipment in all 33 hospitals in the metro area plus the remaining 11 hospitals in Missouri Region A. In addition several rural Missouri public health departments chose to purchase radio equipment as well.
To support and manage this project we created an amateur radio based service group specifically focused on supporting this effort. We emulated a group structure we found in other parts of the country where this need had already been identified and addressed, such as Orange County California and the state of South Carolina. Thus the KCHEART group was born. This group’s purpose is to support the operational emergency communications needs of the hospitals just like ARES supports Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and RACES supports govern-mental agencies. This does NOT exclude anyone from the group based on their other commitments to these other groups as it is common for many amateurs who have an interest in emergency communications to have co-membership in multiple organizations.
All 33 hospitals in the metro 8 counties have at least 2 VHF/UHF radios with power supplies and antennas. Each station also includes a packet TNC to provide data communications capabilities. In some cases, depending on the building and station location, the radios are located in upper areas of the building and the control heads are remote mounted at the operating station location. In other cases the entire radio and control head are together at the station location.
In addition to the VHF/UHF equipment, at least one facility in each county has HF capabilities. This will allow for a “hub and spoke” system of passing traffic.
All stations are designed to operate the same and will continue to be maintained to a common standard. This will allow for standardized training and operation. The KCHEART group meets as needed and holds a monthly net to share information and provide training. In addition, training will soon be available via video.
Carolyn, N0CJ, Project Director
Matt, KC4WCG, Project Manager
Brian, KC0BS, Technical Manager
The KCHEART Net is conducted the first Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. on any of the CRIS Repeaters
Thank you to the KCVA Radio Club for the use of their repeater.
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