Local radio amateurs spend a sleepless night at a national event


When the next big earthquake finally hits the Los Angeles area, phones could be cut or overloaded.

So, if the power grid goes down and cell phones don’t work, shortwave radios are widely regarded as the best solution.

Last weekend in Verdugo Park, the Crescenta Valley Radio Club brought together its 25-30 members and other amateur radio enthusiasts, also known as hams, to put their intervention skills into practice. emergency on a 24-hour national field day.

Almost all of the participants came from different fields and backgrounds. However, they all share a link for shortwave radios.

Some participants asked how to get their own amateur radio license granted by the federal government.

“Our philosophy is that it is a hobby,” said Mike Lichtman, club president. “We have fun and we socialize. “

Field Day, which was started in the 1930s by the National Assn. for amateur radio, is the most popular shortwave radio event in the United States and Canada.

As in previous years, participants set up tables, chairs, antennas, radios, computers, lights and awnings at the start of the field day at 11 a.m. Saturday near the park entrance. All the equipment was powered by solar panels and batteries.

The group operated two 100-watt transmitters, while some participants operated 1 to 2-watt transmitters in an attempt to contact other low-power non-Field Day stations, according to club member George Eckart.

While Field Day is a competition for many radio amateurs across North America – see how many “trades” they can do in 24 hours with other groups, some who are based in remote locations – many members club were using their shortwave radios to hone their disaster preparedness skills or socialize with other hams.

Lichtman said on Sunday morning that by nightfall on Saturday the numbers had declined and by Sunday morning there were still between 10 and 15 hams in service, all operating their stations throughout the night, making contact . One member stayed awake 24 hours and made over 100 contacts.

Eckart said the Crescenta Valley Radio Club, which used the call sign “2 Alpha LAX” this weekend, contacted amateur radio groups in Hawaii, Manitoba, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico. .

“It varies depending on the time of day,” Eckart said.

The club has provided communication services to the community for over half a century and has over 40 members. Some serve with Glendale’s Auxiliary Emergency Response Radio Service.

For more information visit cvrc.club. The organization meets every second Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, 1812 Verdugo Blvd., Glendale.

Matt Sanderson is a contributing writer for Times Community News.

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