Static and ham radio codes pierced the air at SCV Water in Saugus as the Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club held its Amateur Radio Field Day on Saturday and Sunday.
About 20 members of the club, which is also known as W6JW, set up tables, radios and a generator at the top of a hill overlooking Central Park. The field day is a nationwide effort to connect with other ham radio users across the state and across the country. Those who contacted the most people and logged that information into their computers were recognized, not with prizes, but with “honor and glory,” club member Kristine Wiscarson said.
By the late afternoon on Saturday, she had connected to stations in Amateur Radio Clubs in San Fernando, La Crescenta, Sylmar, Hawaii and Texas. Wiscarson also made contact with a club located at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. 40,000 operators were set up around the country.
“They were set up at the Ronald Reagan Library and they were doing exactly the same thing we are,” said Wiscarson. “Probably wouldn’t expect to see a radio at the Ronald Reagan Library – guess what, they’re ready for any emergency.”
Randy Comeao, Radio Club vice president, said the field day served as an emergency preparedness drill.
“The objective is, for here, when the ground shakes and the cell towers are no longer functional at that point, alternate communications at that point would go back to radio,” Comeao said. “Because assume that power is down, we’re on emergency generators at that point.”
Wiscarson and Comeao used the example of the 1994 Northridge earthquake when telephone lines were down and cell phones were not in frequent use, thus the need for ham radios to contact the outside world.
It’s also a way of serving as an emergency contact and contributing back to the community, Wiscarson said.
“People enjoy the hobby for a variety of reasons,” she said. “They like the old school ham radio where you tune it, you’re talking to people. Ham radios nowadays are digital and electronic in a way they used to not be. We can connect ham radios via satellite, some people are attracted to that aspect, some get into the digital aspect of the ham radio.”
For more information about W6JW, go to their website at https://w6jw.org/.