Ham operators begin 24-hour broadcast marathon | NevadaAppeal.com

Ham operators begin 24-hour broadcast marathon

Members of the Carson Valley Radio Club set up two 20-foot shade structures and a military surplus diesel generator Friday night in preparation for their annual preparedness exercise.

“We’ll be talking worldwide on these two radios right here,” said member Jerry Fowler from Walker Calif. Fowler uses the call sign KC6QNC to operate his Yaesu 920 and Kenwood 570 high-frequency rigs.

This morning the club will erect two 50-foot towers and raise the 80-foot ladder on a 1957 Seagrave fire truck on which they’ll attach their “tri-bander yagi” antenna.

At 11 a.m. they’ll join amateur radio operators across North America in a 24-hour broadcast marathon. It’s a race to see who can make the most logged contacts in a day.

“It’s predominantly a North American event but the radio waves don’t stop at the border,” said Nevada Section Manager Dick Flanagan who operates under the call sign W6OLD.

He expects to make contacts in all 50 states as well as Canada, Mexico and beyond.

The public is invited to visit the radio operators during their 24-hour field day.

“We hope that the public will come out and see firsthand what this event — and amateur radio — is all about,” club member Scott Mercer, call sign W7STM, said.

Visitors can watch the ham radio operators make contact with people thousands of miles away and even sit down to broadcast themselves. The event is held at Hilltop Community Church across Highway 395 from Target and Home Depot.

The “hams” take part in the annual exercise to keep their communication skills sharp in case of emergency. Members of the radio club helped with communications during both the 1997 floods and last year’s Gondola Fire.

Flanagan said he expects about a dozen die-hard radio operators to broadcast through the night, while about 75 others will participate on a more casual level.

“We’ve got travel trailers folks will be crashing and resting in,” he said.

If You Go

What: Carson Valley (HAM) Radio Club’s Field Day stations

Where: Hilltop Community Church, 3616 N. Sunridge Dr., Jacks Valley

When: From 11 a.m. Saturday until 11 a.m. Sunday