SET UP AN ANTENNA and a ham radio as quickly as possible, then communicate with other hams around the country. That's the goal of the annual ARRL Field Day held the last weekend in June. Other goals are to operate with emergency power and set up in a public place. In many emergencies around the world, this is exactly what happens. Ham radio operators are often the first to establish communications in areas hard hit by earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
La Honda is fortunate to have a dedicated group of ham radio operators that take every opportunity to practice their skills and prepare for an actual emergency. Participating in events like Field Day, Dream Machines and local bicycle and running races allow these hams to assemble and learn their equipment, plus practice communicating in an "Incident Command" type structure (IC in charge, sub-groups reporting to the IC). Practicing in these relaxed conditions prepares operators to respond with confidence under adverse conditions, which usually accompany a disaster or other emergency.
This year, La Honda Field Day had a record turnout of 72 visitors and participants over the weekend. They operated entirely off the grid with generators and a solar panel, and were visited by the ARRL section manager and local officials. An information booth and public "Get On The Air" station welcomed visitors to the site (La Honda Gardens) and allowed the community to learn more about ham radio and the exciting world of this sort of communication. They were pleased to have participation from some of the young people in the area, and plan to expand that element next year.
Using both morse code and voice transmissions, the group made 294 contacts with places as far away as Hawaii, Alaska, Manitoba and Ontario in Canada, Vermont and other Eastern states. There is a scoring element to this event, and the La Honda Amateur Radio Club beat their scores from all previous years.
If you don't know where the closest ham radio operator is to you, you might make an effort to find out. This area has many minor emergencies including road closures, animal rescues plus phone and power outages. Your neighborhood ham might be a tremendous help to you one day! The La Honda group encompasses the South Skyline area, Alpine Rd, Loma Mar, Pescadero, Butano and San Gregorio.
To find out more about the group, upcoming events, or how to get your own ham radio license, visit the website: