Sunday, March 29, 2015
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 [email protected]

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

Vanden High library project nears completion

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Vanden girls end stellar season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Cheers for Jupiter – and roller derby

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville police make arrest after pursuit

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Red Cross volunteers help assemble first aid kits

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
PG&E helps replace stolen equipment

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Justin-Siena names new principal

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
Free paper shredding option returns to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Vacaville bridal, quinceanera show a hit

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Event benefits child who attends Cambridge School

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Best barometer of investment success: Wealth

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

Hike in minimum wage cuts deep into businesses

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B8

 
Don’t be an unhealthy breakfaster skipper

By Norma Lisenko | From Page: B8

Tips on hydrozoning your garden

By Tina Saravia | From Page: B8

 
Fairfield police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Gang chief, international fugitive among dozens paroled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Experts: Sex bias case will embolden women despite verdict

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Crash victim’s father calls for more focus on pilot welfare

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Man rescued after falling 200 feet off California sea cliff

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Popular Yosemite National Park lookout opens early in season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Bird flu found in a top Minnesota turkey producing county

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Some British Airways frequent flier accounts miles breached

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

7 shot and injured at Florida spring break house party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Boko Haram kills 39, legislator, disrupting Nigeria election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Hundreds rally against Indiana law, say it’s discriminatory

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida in Syria seize major city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Thanks for making prom dreams come true

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Free speech a right worth protecting

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Liberty, property rights 2 sides of same coin

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

 
Sound Off: March 29, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Improve Allan Witt Park; how about rest of Fairfield?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: March 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Pope finds popularity and dissent at 2-year mark

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Truth does not change

By The Rev. Art Zacher | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: March 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B8

 
Daughter choses stepdad over father to walk her down the aisle

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B8

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Second Julie Andrews memoir expected in 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Chrissie Hynde memoir coming in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

.

Sports

 
Warriors beat Bucks 108-95, clinch top seed in West

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Wisconsin heads to Final Four after 85-78 win over Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Burns scores winner in SO to lift Sharks past Flyers, 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Power leads Penske sweep in qualifying for IndyCar opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Revolution win first of season, beating Earthquakes 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jenest pitches SCC baseball team to shutout of Contra Costa

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

AP sources: Texas fires coach Barnes after 17 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kazmir, Quintana both strong; A’s beat White Sox 10-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Zunino homers twice, but Giants rally to edge Mariners 9-8

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gordon, Earnhardt among the winners and fans of Martinsville

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Prince Bishop wins Dubai World Cup, California Chrome 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams easily wins opening match at Miami Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimmy Walker leads hometown Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

A glance at women in leadership roles in business worldwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
For business, more women in charge means bigger profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

US drillers scrambling to thwart OPEC threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Test trial to use computer servers to heat homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Obituaries

Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Betty Mason

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Tiffany Lyn (Helzer) Kemp

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard F. Coleman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
James Lee Lewis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics