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Hand held radios is the answer for Week 286 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: The first in the area were rather temperamental.

Tuesday: First practical ones in 1933

Wednesday: They improved, especially after World War II.

Thursday: Could be used in different locations

Friday: Provided communication

Forest Service personnel began using radios as a means to communicate between wildfire locations and ranger headquarters. The first practical ones were on the scene in 1933, but were somewhat temperamental. Ralph Space says in his book, The Clearwater Story, that ham operators were picked and trained to keep them in operation. The radios improved and eventually replace a telephone network that had been built in the system. After World War II, the Forest Service moved more rapidly toward the use of radios.

Portable radios have become an important communication tool for not only the Forest Service, but also Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association and emergency responders such as law enforcement, fire and ambulance.

One of my most vivid memories of the 1996 Flood is being in the Clearwater County Commissioners' office and watching Commissioner Bud Bonner, who had retired from CPTPA, reprogram the channels on radios for additional emergency personnel to use. Later, when additional radios were needed, they were borrowed from fire Forest Service caches.

Cell phones are now a part of the communication net, but not always reliable or available with the varied terrain. Radios whether hand held or in vehicles are still an important part of communication in Clearwater County.

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Window on the Clearwater
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