A handful of amateur radio operators on the Big Island started Grid Madness in 2014. The event now includes all of the Hawaiian Islands. Hams use their 2 meter and 70 cm radios to contact as many other stations as possible in as many locations (grid squares) as possible, in just four hours. Only  SIMPLEX FM voice is allowed. This year, we ran the third annual Grid Madness on Sunday, September 18th.

For the first time, Grid Madness entrants experienced the **Madness**. For a while, signals on 146.52 overwhelmed the channel, especially on Oahu and in the Hilo-Puna area. Operators demonstrated great skills, staying calm and patient in the pileup, working together, and moving to other channels. Many contacts were made “across the water.” At this writing, at least 52 stations participated, up from 27 last year. About half of the participants submitted their logs.

Grid Madness operators achieved several “firsts” this year. First HT (Handheld entries from Bob, KH6BE and Konabob, AH6GT). First Molokai station (we think — still to be confirmed). First contacts between Oahu and Maui.

Participating hams practiced using their equipment (base, mobile and HT), and exchanged and recorded information in difficult conditions. They also learned more about local and inter-island VHF/UHF propagation. No doubt, knowledge and skills that will be very useful for the SET exercise on October 1st, and in a real emergency.

Mahalo Nui to all who joined in — especially to the many hams that helped with ideas and publicity.

If you missed it this year, be sure to give it a try in 2017. If you enjoyed this year, invite others! If you know any hams on Kauai, invite them! Watch for detailed results in October at at http://gridmadness.blogspot.com/.

Stan AH6KO