ROARS Club to Demonstrate Emergency Communications on Amateur Radio Day

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Amateur radio enthusiasts will practice their emergency communication skills while showing the Ramona community how they can help during a fire, earthquake or other disaster on Emergency Day. amateur radio.

The annual event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 and end at 11 a.m. the following day. Radio amateurs from all over the United States and Canada will participate.

In Ramona, the Ramona Outback Amateur Radio Society (ROARS), an amateur radio club, will have its mobile communications trailer with antenna, radios, batteries and solar panels installed at 3394 Chapel Lane off Dye Road near Fire Station 82 and Ramona United. Methodist Church.

An important part of Field Day is inviting first responders, students, and scouts to drop by and learn what amateur radio can do. Scouts in this photo watch a demonstration of digital radios by ROARS members Andrew Lenci, seated, and Don Scott.

(Steve Sampson)

The event, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, a national amateur radio association, tests emergency communication skills and introduces radio operations to the public, said ROARS President Mark Garrow. The ROARS radio club will also show first responders how ROARS can help in a real-life emergency, Garrow said.

“In an emergency, we can assist the local sheriff’s department and fire department as needed,” said Garrow, who recently replaced Steve Stipp as president of ROARS. Stipp died March 17 at the age of 67.

“Generally, if their communication network goes down, we can set up an ad hoc communication network so that they can continue to communicate,” he said.

This typical radio setup comes with a laptop to record contacts.

This typical radio setup comes with a laptop to record contacts.

(Steve Sampson)

Steve Sampson, an amateur radio operator since college and a member of ROARS, said the group has helped with some major fires in the area. In the past, radio operators knew where some of the hotspots were in the county and reported through radio contacts where the fires were burning.

“We’re not in danger,” said Sampson, whose call sign is K6SRS. “We don’t interfere with emergency responders, but we can be helpful eyes and ears.

“We had a minor fire two years ago in the San Pasqual Valley and air tankers were driving along Highland Valley Road,” he said. “We went on air to communicate which roads were open and which roads were closed to convey useful information.”

ROARS sets up a mobile communications trailer with an antenna on Amateur Radio Day.

The Ramona Outback Amateur Radio Society (ROARS) sets up a mobile communications trailer with an antenna on Amateur Radio Day.

(Steve Sampson)

Sampson is one of approximately 25 ROARS members expected to participate in the Field Day event. Four radios will be installed where radio amateurs will communicate with as many stations on amateur bands as possible to gain points in the contest.

After radio operators make contact with another radio operator, they exchange a short briefing with the other party, Garrow said. The caller lets the receiver know they are in Ramona near San Diego and gives them a signal report, which tells the receiver how well they can be heard on the radio.

“All contacts we make have this information written down and we submit it to the American Radio Relay League,” Garrow said, noting that most calls are verbal, although they can communicate digitally with a laptop.

“It’s on an honor system. We will submit our call numbers and they will compile the numbers nationally. Then they will compile the rankings of everyone who participated,” he said.

Since Field Day is 24 hours a day, ROARS can run its communication operations all night on batteries.

Since Field Day is 24 hours a day, ROARS can run its communication operations all night on batteries.

(Steve Sampson)

The winner of the competition will receive a plaque. Although a larger radio station usually wins the contest, ROARS usually ranks in the middle of the competition, said Garrow, call sign KD6WQK.

Radio operators at the event need to simulate emergency conditions in the event of a power outage – which is why they will primarily use solar and battery-powered equipment, Sampson said. Even their night lighting will be with propane lanterns provided by local scouts.

“ROARS is unique in that it has built a mobile, self-contained emergency communications trailer complete with radios, antennas, batteries and solar panels,” Sampson said. “We can deploy it wherever we need it in and around Ramona.”

ROARS uses many types of antennas.  One year the club had a long wire antenna suspended from a helium balloon.

ROARS uses many types of antennas. One year the club had a long wire antenna suspended from a helium balloon.

(Steve Sampson)

More information about Field Day is available on the American Radio Relay League website at arrl.org/field-day.


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