Amateur radio volunteers test emergency communication skills

By Matt McKinley | July 01, 2009

When disaster strikes, amateur radio operators are often the first to provide information and observations to responders. Sometimes, they are the only line of communication in a crisis during electric failures.

On June 27-28, volunteer members of the Lake Monroe Amateur Society (LMARS) tested their radio emergency communication skills using only generators and batteries as part of a 24-hour nationwide emergency preparedness exercise.

Field Day Fun

LMARS was stationed at Central Winds Park in Winter Springs for the event, which ran from 2 p.m., Saturday, to 2 p.m., Sunday. The club used its new Mobile Communications Command Trailer, and members operated on six different modes of communication, including phone, satellite, digital communications, slow scan TV (sending pictures through airwaves), a GOTA (allows visitors to “get on the air”) and even Morse Code.

Calling out the club’s call letters (N4EH), “November-Four-Echo-Hotel, November-Four Echo Hotel,” members operating the 10- and 15-meter repeaters, or voice radios, made contact in states in the northeast like New York.

“At dusk, they can make contact with as far as Japan and Australia,” said Norm Lauterette, public information officer for LMARS.

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