Local amateur radio operators helped at a recent bicycle event along the American River in Sacramento. They are, from left, Robert Schulz, KC6UDS, Davis; Donald Matteson, KI6PEL, Davis; Diana Cox, KI6PFR, Davis; Shayne Hughes, N6SPE, Davis; Chris Wong, N6JGC; and Katherina Johnson, KI6SDG, Sacramento. Courtesy photo   

Local News

Amateur radio operators get ready for emergencies

By June 21, 2011


What: Field Day exercise for two Yolo amateur radio clubs

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: Timm Ranch, 7975 Timm Road at the end of Allendale Road west off Highway 505, Vacaville

Why: To test emergency preparedness

Info: Gary Matteson, [email protected]

About 25 Yolo County amateur radio operators (hams) will participate in a national Field Day exercise Saturday and Sunday from the Timm Ranch, near Vacaville.

“We will be operating for 24 hours under primitive conditions as practice for our support of Yolo County emergency responders,” said event coordinator Gary Matteson of Davis.

Held annually since 1949, the Field Day brings more than 37,000 radio ‘hams’ outdoors to operate under simulated emergency conditions. Visitors are welcome. The site may be reached via the west end of Allendale Road off Highway 505, north of Vacaville, from noon Saturday until noon Sunday.

The members of the Yolo Amateur Radio Society and Yolo Amateur Radio Emergency Service will set up power, antennas, radio stations, sleeping tents and a cooking area, Matteson said. The clubs will operate three stations using voice, Morse code and radio teleprinter. At the conclusion, a tally of the contacts will be submitted to a national amateur radio communication group, the American Radio Relay League.

The Field Day event is designed to test the ability to set up a communication station independently of normal power, water and shelter.

The radio operating skills used at Field Days have been put to good use in emergency situations, Matteson said. After the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, teams of amateur radio operators set up stations in much the same manner as the Yolo team will use in setting up its Field Day site south of Winters.

“The hobby of amateur radio has many facets, with public service being one of the most gratifying,” Matteson said. “Davis and Woodland are home to about 100 amateur radio operators and at least a quarter of them are involved in public service events in the area.”

In the past year, local hams have provided radio communications for the Davis Bike Club’s Foxy’s Fall Century and the Double Century events, the Woodland Hospital Drill, the Tevis Cup event in the Sierra, and the Princess Promenade Bike and Run on the American River Bike Trail in Sacramento, he said.

The Yolo Amateur Radio Society meets on the first Tuesday of every month at Explorit Science Center, 3141 Fifth St. in Davis.  The meeting starts with dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by a business meeting at 7:30 p.m.

The Yolo County Amateur Radio Emergency Services meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the American Red Cross building, 120 Court St. in Woodland.

To learn more about the hobby of amateur radio, contact Matteson (WA6TQJ) at [email protected]

Special to The Enterprise

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