Friday, 21 July, 2017

Pella Amateur Radio Club Simulates Emergencies During Field Day Saturday

Wrecks around the county were causing grid-lock traffic everywhere Wrecks around the county were causing grid-lock traffic everywhere
Craig Ferguson | 27 June, 2017, 02:41

"(The event) is a way for amateur radio operators to dial in their skills as far as (participating in) an emergency set up station", said Field Day chair Chris Sheridan.

For over 100 years, Amateur Radio has allowed people to talk across towns, cities, under any conditions and any location, and has provided a free public service to communities during a disaster, without the need of a cellphone or the internet.

Club member Tom Christovich said about 30,000 ham radio operators from around the country took part in the drill, which was sponsored by the American Radio Relay League.

DAVE SCHERBENCO/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Ham radio operator Herb Crumich tunes his set at the The Luzerne County Emergency Operations Center during the National Amatuer Radio Field Day exercise Sunday afternoon. "The first field day was held in 1933", Laskey said. "We operate for 24 hours if we can stay awake that long", Jim Davis said with a laugh.

"So, in this case we're operating with a generator to show we can contact other amateurs around the country and around the world if some emergency were to happen", said Olson.

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Herb Crumich used morse code throughout the event - a morse code contact earned the club two points as opposed to one for a voice contact. That is why Steve Das has been interested in ham radio for years. Some communicated verbally, while others used Morse code. "We had operators going through the damaged areas, calling in flooded streets or downed trees".

At a nearby ham radio setup on a picnic table, Doug Birky of White Pigeon, Michigan, was speaking into a microphone and announcing a series of numbers and letters to identify himself and the group to other ham radio participants. The club is part of the county's emergency management plan if communications are lost.

Regardless of how many connections the club ended up making, Sherwood and the other members of the club were having a great time throughout the entire event. "Everything else can be out and the hams can still communicate", he said.

One member recalls a disaster when demonstrations like this one became reality.

A little while ago I had the chance to use a mobile radio with high power. "We're off in the national champions and there's something fun about showing off cool electrical things too".

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