This page contains a variety of information. I list the Red Cross office locations important to me with options to see where they are on a map. There are links to websites related to LEPC in and around northern Illinois. Next, there is a list of the amateur radio repeaters in my area that I have found useful. Finally, I have a few words to say about the musical instrument I've played most in my life.

Use the index in the upper left corner of this page to go directly to those sections.

The following table lists the locations of Red Cross offices to which I have had occasion to travel. All offices are in Illinois. Except for the last, these offices are chapter offices or community center offices of the Chicago and Northern IL Region.

You can use the geographic coordinates provided to locate these offices precisely. Coordinates use the WGS84 datum, and thus are good for GPS and Google Earth location. Map links are external, to MapQuest. They give the approximate location of each office, within a block, usually at the nearest corner or intersection. Since those links are all external, they are not explicitly marked as such.

Chapter / Community Center (CC) Name Latitude N Longitude W Address (click for map)
Chicago and Northern IL Region HQ 41.874145 87.681730 Rauner Center, 2200 W Harrison St, Chicago
Arlington Heights CC 42.087332 87.989470 544 W Northwest Hwy (US 14)
Kane County CC 41.914810 88.316856 121 N 2nd St (IL 31), St. Charles
DeKalb County CC 41.963644 88.722947 8 Health Services Dr, Suite 1, DeKalb
Southwest Suburban Chapter 41.661621 88.124350 1293 Windham Parkway, Romeoville
Kankakee County CC 41.164221 87.878511 20 Heritage Dr, Bourbonnais
Northwest IL Chapter 42.278002 89.090293 727 N Church St, Rockford
Freeport CC 42.300549 89.624289 224 W Galena Ave
Lincoln Land CC 41.781933 89.692317 112 W 2nd St, Rock Falls
Bureau County CC 41.371540 89.464957 435 S Main St (IL 26), Princeton
Peoria (Central Illinois) 40.691617 89.597122 311 W John H Gwynn Jr Ave

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LEPC web sites around this area

Here are links for some LEPC web sites in and around northern Illinois. Each site has its own perspective on the work of an LEPC, and its own approach to explaining it. Unless otherwise indicated, these LEPC sites are for IL. There are LEPC organizations for each county, but as is evident in the table below, few have active web sites. If you know of other web sites for LEPCs in the area, please let me know, and I will include them. All LEPC links are external, and so are not explicitly marked as such.

LEPC Location LEPC Web Site link (URI) [Notes]
Boone County
Chicago (Cook County)
Coles County
Cook County (Suburban)
DeKalb County
DuPage County
Green County WI http://
Grundy County
Jo Daviess County
Kane County
Kenosha County WI
Lake County
Lake County IN
LaSalle County
Lee County
Macon County
Marion County
McHenry County
McLean County
Mercer County
Ogle County
Porter County IN
Rock Island County
Sangamon Valley [Sangamon (Springfield) and Mercer Counties]
Stephenson County
Will County
Winnebago County

Illinois Homeland Security

The Illinois Department of Homeland Security website has much useful information about preparing for disasters in their Ready Illinois preparedness section.

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Following is a list of the publicly-accessible amateur radio VHF and UHF narrow-band FM repeaters in my area that I use regularly and/or support financially. In the names, "A" "R" and "C" stand for "Amateur," "Radio" and "Club," respectively.

Under "Frequency," each repeater's output frequency is given—the one on which you can hear it. The offset direction for its receiver is given as + or - following that. All repeaters listed use the standard input offset amounts of 600 kHz for 2 m repeaters, and 5 MHz for the 70 cm ones. Thus, for example, the DARC 2 m repeater (first entry) transmits on 145.430 MHz, and receives on 144.830 MHz.

Links in the Location columns are to club web sites, where available. All these links are external, and so are not specifically marked as such.

Sponsoring Group Call Sign Frequency (MHz) CTCSS (Hz) Location
DuPage ARC (DARC) W9DUP 145.430 - 107.2 Downers Grove
DuPage ARC (DARC) W9DUP 442.550 + 114.8 Downers Grove
Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs (WCRA) W9CCU 145.310 - 107.2 Wheaton
Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs (WCRA) W9CCU 444.475 + 114.8 Wheaton
Kishwaukee ARC (KARC) WA9CJN 146.730 - 100.0 DeKalb
North Shore RC (NSRC) NS9RC 147.345 + 107.2 Winnetka
North Shore RC (NSRC) NS9RC 442.725 + 114.8 Chicago
Lake County RACES W9FUL 147.180 + 127.3 Libertyville
Lake County RACES KD9GY 443.850 + 114.8 Lake Zurich
Valley Amateur Repeater Association (VARA) WR9ABQ 146.790 - 107.2 Elgin
Valley Amateur Repeater Association (VARA) WR9ABQ 444.950 + 114.8 Elgin
Chicago FM Club (CFMC) WA9ORC 146.760 - 107.2 Chicago
FishFAR [net only] WA9VGI 442.900 + 114.8 Schaumburg
FishFAR [net only] WA9VGI 442.975 + 114.8 Chicago
Suburban Amateur Repeater Association (SARA) [net only] K9GFY 146.880 - 107.2 Chicago
Suburban Amateur Repeater Association (SARA) [net only] K9GFY 444.375 + 114.8 Chicago

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How about an A; that's a popular choice. Or maybe C#? Please excuse the punning title; I couldn't resist. I've spent a great deal of time through much of my life with this instrument. It has been a source of enjoyment and frustration. This section will explain a bit about oboes in general, and my involvement in particular.

So why the funny name?

Not that other instruments are immune. A piano often plays loudly; the word is Italian for "soft." The "violoncello" ("cello" for short at least in English) means the "tiny, big clumsy viol" also in Italian, being the diminutive of violone. It is not, of course, a viol but a largish member of the violin family. The trombone has nothing to do with bones: it is Italian for "big trumpet" (tromba + one) — the same "one" (pronounced roughly oh-nay) as in violone. And minestrone, which is not an instrument, but very tasty anyway. The Italians are also partly to blame (or credit) for "oboe." Read on.

And so what is it with the oboe? As it happens, there is a commonly given explanation for the name, such as the one I heard in school, which goes something like this: "'Oboe' is a spelling in English of the French name for the instrument, 'hautbois.' The instrument was invented in France, and the name there means 'high wood' because it is high pitched and made of wood."

Well, that's about half correct. The part about coming from France, anyway. And the wood: it is one of the family of woodwind instruments. Usually in giving this explanation, the French name is pronounced as it is today in France ("oh-bwah"). That raises the question for critical listeners as to how "oh-bwah" managed to get spelled as "oboe" in English. Or perhaps not. English is not notable for rational spelling.

Actually, the oboe's origins go back several centuries before the Hotteterre brothers in Louis XIV's court orchestra gave us the version 1.0 of what would be today's instrument. Nearly a century earlier, Shakespeare asked for "hoboys" to accompany his plays. "Hoboy" was a fairly accurate English respelling of "hautbois" as that word was pronounced in France in his day. But the instrument he wanted was what we today would call a "shawm." The shawm is a really nasty loud instrument. Some say the same today about the oboe, but they are just ignorant.

I once sat through a concert given by two Indian [i.e., from India] shawmists. I should have brought ear plugs. They could out-dB many a good rock band, and that without amplifiers that go to 11. And therein is the real reason for the name hautbois. In France around that time, instruments were classified as loud (haut) or soft (bas); it had nothing to do with pitch level, even though haut and bas can be translated as "high" and "low," respectively. A bass shawm was just as haut as a soprano one. Perhaps not quite as obstreperous. A flute was bas under that classification. I'll add a comment here that a contemporary use of bas (or at least of the feminine form basse) in French is "voix basse" meaning quiet voice. Also there is haut-parleur which means loudspeaker. So remnants at least of the older meanings persist.

What was done in France was to tame the very outdoorsy shawm ("hautbois") into something that could be played indoors, in more gentile, courtly company, without deafening the listeners. In so doing, they didn't take the obvious step of renaming the instrument as the basbois. Linguistic inertia in action.

Recall from your world history classes that relations at that time between France and England were not such as would later allow development of the Concorde and the channel tunnel. Consequently, England looked at the time to Italy for their models for proper music.

And so Italians, not English, were among the first to adopt the new instrument. They called it the oboe (look familiar?) As pronounced in Italian (oh-boh-eh), that is pretty nearly an exact rendering of the way the Sun King's court would have pronounced "hautbois." Bois (wood) pronounced as "bwah" was at that time the French Parisian equivalent of Cockney English, and would not have been heard at court. Its prevalence would come a century later with the French Revolution, when the "bweh" crowd was largely obliterated by the "bwah"s. Incidentally, if you wish to hear a live approximation to 17th century French, go to Quebec.

The English then borrowed both the instrument and the written name from their musical idols, the Italians. They of course mispronounced the name as if it were English. Thus today we have the "oh-bow" (that's "bow" as in "bow tie," not "take a bow"). Please pardon my clumsy attempts at indicating pronunciations throughout. I could, and would prefer to, use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) for that purpose, but (1) I'd have to count on your web browser properly rendering the Unicode for the IPA symbols, a rather dicey assumption; and (2) I'd have to count on your understanding that notation.

So what is it like to play oboe?

A very good question. A couple of the more humorous answers:

So jokes aside, what is it like to play the oboe? And am I insane? Is my taste well represented by my quoting puns and limericks? The answer to the last question is "yes"—my taste is incorrigibly poor. Live with it.

I will be formulating answers that satisfy me to these and other burning questions. The answers may be somewhat enlightening for those who don't play the instrument. Bear with me; along with the rest of this web site, this mini-essay remains a work in progress.

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Last modified: 2015-08-15

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