Amateur Radio News

Hams Help Locate Missing Children in Post Falls, Idaho

When two young children, ages 9 and 11, went missing in Post Falls, Idaho, on the afternoon of September 16, the police quickly began a visual recovery search that covered a two-mile radius from the children’s homes. Lead detective and experienced missing persons investigator, Neil Uhrig, K7NJU, headed up the search devising a strategy that relied on regular Hams to listen in on Family Radio Service (FRS) radios—and save the day.

According to eye-witness reports, the two youths were using FRS radios at the time of their disappearance—most likely FRS Channel 1 as an auxiliary frequency. Uhrig was able to access the NorthWest Traffic Net on the 2-meter repeater and used this to contact net control station Shannon Riley, KJ7MUA, to send out an alert about the missing boys. Uhrig asked Hams in the Post Falls area with FRS capabilities to listen in for the boys’ voices on air, and in no time at all—it worked!

Multiple stations checked in to say they had FRS radios and were keeping tabs on Channel 1. Within 15 minutes of the alert, Jim Hager, KJ7OTD, reported that he had heard the missing boys, alive and well, on air. Working with the knowledge that FRS radios could only be heard within a limited range, Uhrig notified the family of the good news and promptly reframed the search within the range of Hager’s radio. The boys were some distance from the original search area and moving in the opposite direction they were originally believed to be travelling. They were quickly found and reunited with their families.

DX Engineering carries GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) radios from Daystar, including a 5W handheld (3-mile range) and 25W mobile transceiver (13-mile range). Like FRS radios, GMRS radios use frequencies within 462-467 MHz. Unlike FRS radios, you must have a license (no test required) from the FCC to operate a GMRS radio.

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