Santa Clarita amateur radio buffs had the chance to test their skills and share their radio knowledge from Saturday to Sunday at the Castaic Lake Water Agency by Central Park.
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The Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club (SCARC) set up a makeshift radio outpost Saturday as part of the American Radio Relay League’s Field Day, a national event which allows amateur radio operators the chance to speak to other amateur groups and test their emergency preparedness.
“It’s a day when people bring their portable stations out into a field position and we use emergency power to provide communications,” Ben Grokett, president of the SCARC, said. “[The ARRL] has made it into the form of contest so we can react to any problems and see how prepared we are.”
The event took place over the course of 24 hours, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and ending at 11 a.m Sunday.
“It’s a way to test our response capabilities, and the Castaic Lake Water Agency has been really supportive of our efforts.”
Amateur radio operators, also known as Hams because of the Ham radios they have historically used, view the hobby as having an important impact on the community.
“We use our skills and equipment to assist the community,” Paul Osterhues, member of the SCARC, said. “During a major event, your telephone goes down and your cell phones go down. Commercial radios rely upon power, but ours are all portable and we can hook them up and go to any event.”
Osterhues was in charge of logging information gathered at Field Day to report to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as the Federal Communications Commission.
“I love it,” Osterhues said. “There’s a lot of camaraderie and challenges and I am learning more things about electronics.”
Grokett said the SCARC club has had the chance to help the City of Santa Clarita provide key communications during past emergencies.
“We work in coordination with the city, and this involves all the city agencies,” Grockett said. “During the Northridge earthquake, we helped the city maintain function. We sent people out with some of the city workers and they would provide a link of communication between city hall and whatever was going on out in the field.”
The SCARC has meetings on the third Wednesday of every month at the Santa Clarita Senior Center in Newhall. New members, whether they are licensed or unlicensed radio operators, are welcome to attend.
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Source: Santa Clarita News