By Dr. Ginger Gabriel – Special to the Alpine Mountaineer
“Were you ready for Snowmageddon 2023?” Field Day for amateur radio operators is about being ready for an emergency. Come and hang out on June 24 with people who are ready. It’s a good place to come to learn.
The Field Day training will take place at the Masonic Lodge, next to the Twin Peaks Community Church in Twin Peaks. There is parking at the church.
If you’re new in town, Twin Peaks is where you need to be on the 24th. Bring your neighbors. As we all learned during Snowmageddon, our neighbors are our first responders and maybe our only responders. If you RSVP on www.MTARA.club, there will be lunch for you and your neighbors.
The event begins at 11:00 a.m. and will end at 5:00 p.m.
Amateur radio operators (hams) engage in two-way personal communications on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Field Day event serves as an emergency preparedness test, as well as a contest between radio enthusiasts across the U.S. and Canada, an estimated 40,000 of them.
Last year I met Chrystal, KK6API (every amateur radio operator has a call sign), and asked her how she happened to become an amateur radio operator. “We moved up here many years ago and went to a meeting at a local church to help new people acclimate themselves,” she said. “We were handed a map of local ham radio operators. We were told, ‘Here is where you can go if you have trouble and can’t get help.’”
The speaker then asked if they all knew what to do in case of a wildfire. Chrystal looked over the map and saw that none of those ham operators were in the area she lived in. She also had no idea what to do in case of a wildfire. So, she asked, “How do we become ham operators?”
Chrystal said that being a ham operator has given her an opportunity to give back to the community and help with communications in the wildfires. They can also help in storms like Snowmageddon as so many of the ham radio operators were able to connect first responders with emergencies.
Chrystal added, “We can help with the Red Cross shelters during evacuations, and teach first aid classes. There are so many things we can do when we’re trained.”
One of the most entertaining exercises of the day will be the antenna launching to secure the antenna in the branches of a tall tree. Most of us failed last year to throw the guideline high enough into the branches to attach the antenna to the tree. It was pretty funny watching our feeble efforts. It showed that it takes practice to learn all the necessary skills to be an effective ham operator. The antenna captures and/or transmits radio electromagnetic waves to allow for communication.
If you already have an amateur license and radio equipment and are thinking maybe it’s time to get reconnected, come join us. Check the website for next regularly scheduled meeting: www.MTARA.club.