IRVINE, Calif.—The city of Irvine has declared the week of June 20-26 “Amateur Radio Week,” to honor the city’s 800 amateur radio operators, or ham radio operators, who maintain the lines of communication in the event of an emergency. ’emergency.
“We are truly grateful for your service,” Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said at the June 14 city council meeting.
The city council also dedicated the week to the Irvine Police Department and a special team of hams, called the Irvine Disaster Emergency Communications Team, assigned to work with authorities during a disaster.
As part of the city’s emergency preparedness plan, the city’s amateur radio team is made up of 60 volunteers – trained and experienced amateur radio operators – who work under the direction of the Chief of Police of Irvine, Mike Hamel.
If communications have been disabled due to an emergency or disaster, the team has specialized equipment to create a vital communication network between the city police department, designated evacuation centers in citywide, school sites, public buildings, medical facilities, local parks and other areas where the necessary communication would need to be established.
The motto of the team is “observe and communicate”.
In addition to ongoing training to hone their skills, team members attend an annual exercise hosted by the American Radio Relay League, the nonprofit national association of radio amateurs.
More than 40,000 hams come in every year. The event, called the “Amateur Radio Open Day”, features various contests to practice in case of an emergency.
One of the competitions is to contact as many stations as possible to improve radio operations in abnormal or difficult situations.
This year’s Field Day will be held in Irvine at Los Lomas Community Park on June 25-26. The event is open to the public.