High point

Buck Hill co-owners Dave Solner and Don McClure meet with Nagi Punyamurthula of Prior Lake, who headed up a project to put a ham radio repeater on top of the ski slope.

Prior Lake resident Nagi Punyamurthula has been into radio since he put his first AM radio together at the age of 8. For the last year-and-a-half, he’s been putting his hobby to use for the betterment of the community. Most recently, he collaborated with Buck Hill co-owners Don McClure and David Solner to install a repeater at the crest of the Burnsville ski slope. The signal can be picked up for a 50-mile radius.

“This is a very exciting milestone,” Punyamurthula said. “I see it as a sort of coming together of Prior Lake and Burnsville.”

Next, Punyamurthula intends to visit local police and fire departments to “evangelize” the new technology. His hope is that first responders will be able to use the ham radio to communicate quickly with one another during emergency situations.

“If cellphone towers go out or that infrastructure goes down, it becomes super important for preparedness,” he said.

Ham radios need a direct line of sight to communicate, so Buck Hill was the perfect place to install the repeater.

It was installed on March 6, and since then, Punyamurthula said it has had 700 minutes of talk time.


Hannah Jones is a Prior Lake American reporter who loves revealing the hidden worlds within a community, like trash collection and school board happenings. She is quiet, creative and unabashedly nerdy. She also likes to run, bake and watch James Bond.


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