Radio amateurs make contacts in global winter training
NBC Montana TV News reports that in January radio amateurs conducted a training exercise to help mitigate potential emergency situations
Amateur radio operators from all over the world spent a weekend in late January making contact with each other. The real time event was a training exercise to help mitigate potential emergency situations.
KG7SPL is Corvallis American Legion Post 91's amateur radio club. The Post set up its radio tower and equipment in the parking lot of Chief Joseph Ski Area on Montana State Highway 43. Members used the area to participate in its annual Winter Field Day.
"Winter Field Day is an activity throughout the world," said president Doug Mason, "to go out in the environment and test your equipment."
NBC Montana visited the site on the Montana-Idaho border, a mountainous stretch that separates Beaverhead County with Lemhi County, Idaho. The club is only operating on five or ten wats, compared to thousands of watts that a television station might have. But at 7,251 feet, the spot is a good place to pick up radio transmissions.
"We're up high and so your signal travels down off the mountains everywhere," said KG7SPL's Clifford Presley.
Club members set up sleeping tents to spend the weekend so they could get as many calls out as possible. "Our objective," said Rod, " is to make as many contacts as we can to prove that we can communicate over the radio waves in the wintertime."
Operators are awarded points for every contact they make. The club uses those points as a gauge for improvement. "We just want to have a good performance," said Rod.
The radio operators spin the radio dial around until they hear another operator broadcasting from who knows where? It takes patience but the team 's efforts spanned the country.
The operators don't make contact with everyone. The idea is to just make the connection. "We exchange the information," said Doug. " They like to know there's some guys up here sitting in the snow, trying to make contact."
He said the club works to hone its skills to help local fire and emergency services in times of trouble. With unprecedented natural disasters this past year, from wildland fires, hurricanes to winter tornados, ham radio operators are often messengers in emergencies.