SC4 Amateur Radio Club welcomes all to Field Day
This June, La Honda’s fearless ham radio operators once again pulled an all-nighter in the name of emergency communications. You may have noticed the gigantic antenna in the field next to the firehouse, or bleary-eyed operators stumbling into the Market for coffee Sunday morning, but this dedicated group worked all weekend to prove that La Honda is not as isolated as it seems when it comes to emergency communications.
Mobile 40’ Crank-up Tower with antennas
Field Day (seems like Daze) is an annual event, and La Honda’s Amateur Radio Club proved once again that we have some of the most innovative and accomplished individuals around. Some achievements this year include:
- Rigging a 40 foot mobile tower with four very different antennas, controlled with remote switch by radio operators to enable contact with other stations across the United States.
- Using a homemade pneumatic tennis ball launcher to raise other antennas high in the trees.
- Constructing an antenna made from a tape measure and PVC pipe, and using it to contact the International Space Station as it passed overhead.
- Using computers and software connected to the radios to make contacts using digital modes such as RTTY, PSK-31 and CW (Morse code).
- Operating entirely off the grid using generators and solar power.
Tape Measure Antenna built by Jennie KK6DNX at Field Day
An entire village was set up in one day at La Honda Gardens (thank you Charlie C.!!!) that included a radio tent, eight antennas, a food tent, overnight accommodations, a public information booth, and a radio station allowing visitors to “get on the air” and try out ham radio. Then, radio operators worked 24 straight hours making contacts with as many other stations as possible. This is a radio contest, so logging contacts and keeping score is part of the fun. Equally important is to share information with the community about emergency preparedness and communication, and to encourage new hams. It also keeps La Honda’s club in practice for setting up communications quickly in case of an emergency.
Pneumatic Antenna Launcher built by Mike, KJ6VCP
Getting an amateur license is easy, and the cost of your first radio can be quite low. Hand held radios starting as low as $50 allow you to communicate from La Honda to Skyline to Pescadero and even Half Moon Bay and Pacifica from some locations! That can come in handy on the trail or in areas where cell phones don’t reach. La Honda’s radio club offers classes each year to help prepare for the license exam (35 multiple choice questions, 26 answered correctly) and provides training and resources to help you become an effective part of the area’s communications network.
Keep your eyes open for upcoming ham radio events, and get involved! You can also visit the website http://www.sc4arc.org for more information.