Friday, November 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Amateur radio operators test skills in annual event

29 ham radio 1

Steven Preston of Suisun City tries to establish communication using a ham radio during an American Radio Relay League Field Day in Vacaville, Saturday. Preston set up his communications simulating a power outage following a major disaster. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | June 29, 2014 |

VACAVILLE — A small group of dedicated amateur radio (ham) operators gathered this weekend to test the readiness of the United States and Canada amateur radio operators during the annual American Radio Relay League Field Day.

Amateur radio is a popular hobby and service in which licensed amateur radio operators operate communications equipment. The goal of the two-day event is to work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions, according to the ARRL Field Day website.

“This is a practice run with portable radios to test ourselves in case of an emergency,” said Jerry Bowen, whose handle name is KJ6SCC.

Across the world he noted that more than 700,000 ham operators are working from their homes year-round talking to people from pretty much anywhere. The 10 to 15 operators are expecting to make contact with between 200 to 300 people this weekend.

This hobby has been around since 1914, but in today’s modern world it has some very serious applications.

“During Hurricane Katrina they lost all power, radio towers, cell towers and stations. There was no way to communicate. Ham operators were what helped keep in touch with law enforcement, government officials and the Red Cross,” Bowen said.

“If we should ever lose communication for any reason, it would be utter chaos,” said Jorge Vidal, host of the Field Day event.

The amateur operators have a system to setting up and communicating with the outside world without any power other than what they can bring with them. The power sources include car batteries and portable solar-powered panels, both of which Vidal had positioned in his backyard. The ham operators set up different antennas, each helping to broadcast at different distances and wavelengths. Then they place their radio equipment on tables or makeshift shelves and start calling out “CQ” (general call) and their position. Operators from as far away as Brazil can be heard over the radio.

“The guy in Brazil wasn’t actually picking us up, they have to be able to talk to us and write our call letters down and we have to write theirs down. Otherwise it doesn’t count,” Bowen said.

One of the operators input the responses into a computer. They track who is responding, where they are located, call letters and other technical information in a computer program. After the weekend, the information will be tallied and a list of contact people will be shared in the monthly newsletter.

“Ham operators have been to all major disasters. If anything should take out our communication grid, we will still be here,” Bowen said.

Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or shiland@dailyrepublic.net.

Susan Hiland

Susan Hiland

Susan graduated from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon with a B.A. in Communications. She has eight years experience working for newspapers in Nebraska.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Giving thanks, ‘even in this broken world,’ on Thursday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano Turkey Trot draws 2,600 to college

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Il Fiorello schedules olive milling day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Early Black Friday shoppers take advantage of deals

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Eagle Scout project adds floating docks at Rockville Park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
.

US / World

‘Guardian angel,’ community join to give man home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US celebrates Thanksgiving with parades, turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Tons of marijuana seized in Central California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Gorilla death prompts San Francisco Zoo changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Health agents still unpaid after plan’s rollout

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California Burger King employee finds $100,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

At 1 month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Families asked to host visitors for pope’s US trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Researchers discover ‘pre-cancers’ in blood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
35 arrested in Oakland after protest march

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

A glance at Ferguson: Then, now and the future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
For some, location of Brown’s hands irrelevant

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Ferguson gives thanks after a quiet night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Colorado mastodon bones show ancient warmer Earth

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Queen of crime writing PD James dies aged 94

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ebola aid dogged by coordination lags in Guinea

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Taliban attack rocks upscale Kabul district

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Small quake rattles California wine country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Harvard admissions, then and now

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
 
What it costs to fight the Islamic State

By Walter Pincus | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Movies just another course on Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Poor health is no excuse for not behaving like a caring person

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

Horoscope for Nov. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

Week in preview: Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Prison theater transforms Colombian inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Singer John Mayer among ‘Late Late Show’ subs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ doesn’t work

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B2

Review: ‘Madagascar’ spin-off hatches family fun

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Reading Harry Potter gives clues to brain activity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Talking songs with She & Him

By Kim Durbin | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Nov. 28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
Cosby testimony describes accuser’s spiked story

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

College notebook: Many happy returns for Arizona’s Bondurant

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Sherman’s big night leads Seattle past 49ers again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Rookie quarterback Carr is Raiders’ silver lining

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
US cities urged to keep price tags down for 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Eagles roll over Cowboys 33-10 for NFC East lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
5 investigated in FIFA WCup bid corruption probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Johnson shines in Detroit’s 34-17 win over Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Signups for Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

No. 9 UCLA must overcome Stanford for Pac-12 title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Kia’s ‘Soulful’ first electric car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Automakers aim to drive away car computer hackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

3 Reasons holiday shoppers will spend cautiously

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
OPEC keeps oil output on hold despite low prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Deanna L. Haines

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Esther Ringler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

‘Chipper’ Douglas Lee Anderson Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9