Ham radio operators drill this weekend
Emergency radio operators will conduct disaster training this weekend in Carson Valley.
Members of the Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association set up their mobile communication equipment in the vacant lot behind the Carson Valley Inn on Saturday.
They plan to practice their emergency skills for 24 hours using nothing more than 12-volt car batteries, 140 feet of copper wire and a high frequency amateur radio.
Association public information officer Robert Tripp said there are 140 members of the association and they will be practicing maintaining radio contact in time of an emergency.
“I’ve been fascinated since high school with getting the most out of the least,” Tripp said. “It’s amazing what you can do with a car battery, a $6 roll of wire and a high frequency radio.”
Most recently ham radio operators kept track of the Pony Express riders as they made their way across Nevada.
“It was my first experience with following the horse in the dark,” Tripp said. “You just had to follow the dust.”
Ham radio operators have long aided communities by providing communications in time of emergency.
“Congress has left us a nice spectrum of frequencies for us to use,” he said. “There’s always someone wanting them, but I believe the government understands the service we provide in an emergency.”
One thing about Ham radio, Tripp says, is that you always have someone to talk to.
“I routinely talk to Australia and Japan,” he said. “You can always get a hold of somebody on 20 meters.”