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By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo:  Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Paul Rios by Anselmo Ruiz-Nevarez

June 25, 2017 (Lakeside) -- “You talk to Martians?”  That’s a question Lakeside Amateur Radio Club chairman KC6QLS said they have been asked. He and the club members were setting up, from antennas to canopies, for Field Day on June 23.   Field day is ham radio’s open house, so to speak, and runs from June 24-25.  KC6QLS followed up with the answer “They’re not answering.” Part and parcel for what they get asked.

According to The National Association for Amateur Radio, ARRL or Amateur Radio Relay League is behind Field Day. “Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.”

By the way, KC6QLS is the call sign Paul Rios goes by. His wife, Ann, is KC6TBG.   Another club member, Mike Maston (pictured on the ham radio at right), is known as M60PH.  The club’s call sign is K6LKS. Call signs are allocated to amateur radio operators around the world and used to legally identity the station or operator. 

Martian jokes aside, the Lakeside Amateur Radio Club, comprised of 60 members, provides a very serious service to the community of Lakeside and beyond. They relay information and news to the Lakeside Fire Department, plus more, during emergencies.  In fact, the Lakeside Fire Department station, on Lakeside Avenue, is so connected to the club that it provided a home for the club in its annex. The annex is where they were holding their 7th Field Day.

Using the right emotional delivery and verbiage in their transmissions to first responders is of tantamount importance. Rios said if something is relayed to them, it is relayed the exact same way along the lines of communication. Rios said, “We have to be very careful and no names of casualties are broadcast. Exactly what the fire chief said at one end goes to the other end.”

The club lists its public service work as such:  Lakeside Fire Department- EOC, Lakeside Fire Department-Open House, Lakeside Emergency Net, Lakeside CERT, and amateur radio classes.

Some of the tools of the trade the club has are an ICom Yaesu radio, maps of the area, a Sioscan atomic digital clock, and note pads to write down pertinent information to be relayed back and forth between hammers, the fire department, and the club members manning their radios.  If a disaster happens, they get busy.

WB Tarleton, lives out of state but has worked with “hammers,” had this to say via Facebook, “Hammers are great. They are included in emergency plans across the country as the last resort for when traditional means of communications (landlines, cell phones, etc.) go down.  They are critical in such plans and take their (volunteer) roles in emergency planning very seriously.  They are also a hell of lot of fun.”

Photo, left:   Gerry Kodad, Scott Schlmutzler, and Simon Pearson prepare the antenna to use for the Lakeside Amateur Radio Club's participation in Field Day 2017. 

Ham radio jokes?  Rios quipped, “What did the antenna say to the wedding party? Thanks for the reception.”

LARC (the Lakeside Amateur Radio Club) holds a Lakeside Emergency Net the second Sunday of every month at 7:00 p.m., 147.765 (-) Offset PL 797.7.

LARC will also be in charge and run the 3rd Annual San Diego Hamfest 2017.  All local ham clubs will be welcome, have button hole “QSO’s” with other hams, ham radio vendors, VE testing, door prizes,”free” antenna friendly parking, speakers, and more on October 7th on the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds.  Visit:  or for more information.