Okay, I'm hooked.
I was walking out to our local crop share pickup today when a neighbor texted me and asked if I knew what the huge plume of smoke is rising from near Alexandria, Virginia. Nothing (yet) on the news.
I had my radio with me because I was doing a couple of antenna/signal tests anyway, so I hopped on the local repeater and asked for anyone nearby to provide a visual situation report. Within a minute, I had 3 separate responses.
Turned out to be a huge construction fire, now at 5 alarms.
The local news story hit their web site and alert system > 30 minutes later. (See https://wtop.com/fai...truction-site/)
No big deal, I suppose, but I will add that from my vantage point, the smoke was along the glide path into DCA (Reagan National) airport. I'm the son of a retired 747 pilot (and fighter/aerobatics RAF team), so big plumes of smoke near airports have always made me uneasy, since long before 9-11.
Anyway, LOVE my GMRS comms now that I've learned about the world of repeaters out there. I'll be taking my Ham technician class exam in a couple weeks as well.