Ham radio club participates in 24-hour field day
June 26, 2019
Several local ham-radio enthusiasts conducted a real-life, 24-hour emergency practice scenario.
On Saturday, the Sweetwater Amateur Radio Club members gathered in Rock Springs near the Rock Springs Coal sign downtown to participate in Amateur Radio Field Day.
From noon Saturday until noon Sunday, the enthusiasts gathered with campers, food and anything else they needed to make 24 hours.
Sweetwater club president Rick Breininger, call sign N1TEK, said when hurricanes hit Puerto Rico and Florida, ham-radio operators were relied on to pass information along. When power and cell phone towers were out, radios were still an effective form of communication.
Even though Southwest Wyoming won’t have deal with a hurricane emergency, the area can still experience a variety of disasters, he said.
“People think a disaster can’t happen here, but we have all sort of pipelines running through our community,” Breininger said.
To simulate and actual emergency situation, radio operators brought their equipment, batteries and generators needed to run them. The group did hit a minor snag: Mother nature. Breininger said they weren’t anticipating cold temperatures and rain, so not as many members of the public stopped by to visit with the group.
During the emergency drill, the operators practiced using their radios, Morse Code and digital skills to send out messages. Though Morse Code isn’t required to become a ham-radio operator, a few locals still know the skill.
As for digitally communication, Breininger said a person can connect their computer to one of their radios to send out a message.
The goal was to keep at least one radio running for the full 24 hours, with two others communicating here and there on three different frequencies. This was met and the simulation was considered a success.
“We just have a good time,” he said. “For us, it’s our premier event of the year.”