three and a half years ago, Kanawha County was
hit with a devastating flood that severely
crippled areas of the County and state. Clendenin,
Elkview, and Sissonville were severely hit.
My daughter Elizabeth, who was then 10, had
struck up a very touching friendship with a
man who was in the Charleston Light Opera
Guild Production of Gypsy. Turns out this was
Jim Damron N8TMW. It just so happened
that on the night
of the net and the flood, we happened to be visiting at
I was intrigued by the commitment and
involvement of the hams in the rescue effort
and what an essential role they played in
providing transportation of medical supplies
to the shelters and in assisting with
As a legislator in the West Virginia House of
Delegates, I spent time in the area surveying
the damage and seeing what needed to be done
to return the residents to their homes. Yes
indeed I was impressed!
Before I knew it, August was here and my
Elizabeth had decided to take the all day cram
course for her ham radio license. Of
course she insisted if she went, I had to be
with her, and so I did.
Mac W8XF, Olie WD8V, Cal W8NR, and Jim N8TMW
were examiners. Anyway, Elizabeth didn't
make the cut and of course I did. It
will be four years next Summer since I got my
Recently, I passed my written exam for my
general and so now it is time to learn code.
I have enjoyed ham radio so very much and have
come to appreciate the many volunteer services
that the hams provide. I am involved
with emergency services and communications and
have developed a close relationship with the
Office of Emergency Services located at the
Capitol. I assisted with the net and was
there on New Year's during the Y2K watch.
As an officer in the Kanawha Amateur Radio
Club I have become involved in setting
programs for the clubs monthly meetings.
I also am vice president of the
Charleston Hamfest Committee and find that so
very rewarding. I am Skywarn trained and
am a member of Kanawha Amateur Radio Emergency
It's interesting to me to watch so many of the
hams at the various hamfests. It is the only time
for some to see face-to-face those individuals
that have been their friends across the
airwaves throughout the year. The camaraderie
is really special.
I became a member of ARRL almost immediately.
It is so critical that the hams support
the league. We must make sure in difficult
times when all are fighting for frequencies,
that we are well protected.
I look forward to this upcoming year. I
am working with hams throughout the state on
legislation for a statewide ARES identification
card as well as looking at legislation to
prevent unfair restrictions on our antennas.
I know this is lengthy but it is difficult to
explain how special I feel it is to be a ham.
By the way, I am the only ham in the
state legislature and my delegate tag is
KC8KVF. I just have to smile when other
delegates say, "Sharon, what does that
mean?" If you only knew.:)
Sharon Spencer KC8KVF
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