By Rob Freeburn
Photo by Sharon Freeburn: “Using portable radio equipment in Alpine, radio operator Rob Freeburn reaches out to radio operators on the US East Coast."
June 27, 2020 (Alpine) -- On Saturday, 6/27/2020, San Diego East County ham radio enthusiasts transmitted radio signals from homes, backyards and parking lots to connect with other radio enthusiasts across North America to compete against each other and to practice emergency radio communications. Although the results are not yet tabulated, East County radio "hams" always do well in the competition because the remote backcountry and higher elevation make East County an ideal radio operating location. Radio hams in Crest, Alpine, Descanso, Mt Laguna, Ramona, Julian, and Campo turn in some of the highest scores in the United States. From East County, the most sought-after radio contacts were in Delaware and Prince Edward Island on the East Coast of Canada.
Ham radio enthusiasts range in age from 9 to 99 years, an age range that bridges generations with a common interest and promotes science learning and innovation.
During the pandemic, radio classes and testing for the FCC ham radio license moved to online platforms, such as www.hamstudy.org which offer free instruction and low-cost license exams.
The North American annual contest, known as Field Day, was organized by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) www.arrl.org/field-day and included thousands of Amateur Radio Operators (hams).
Many East County radio hams belong to the San Diego Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) which practices backup communications year-round.
ABOUT THE AMATEUR RADIO RELAY LEAGUE (ARRL) AND SAN DIEGO AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY SERVICE (ARES)
The San Diego Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is organized by the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) to provide disaster assistance in times of emergency. The ARRL was founded in 1914 and is the largest association in the United States promoting experimental and recreational radio interests. The ARRL's priorities include public service, science education, technology, and advocacy. The ARRL organizes the annual nationwide Field Day event. For more information on the ARRL: www.arrl.org.
My father in law was a ham operator. The antenna in his yard was huge and an eyesore in his neighborhood. However he talked to people around the world and had many ham friends.