Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Borrego Springs Becoming Radioactive

 

Last updated 2/11/2021 at 2:54pm



Borrego Springs is becoming radioactive and it’s not a bad thing.

Interest is growing in forming a local club for amateur radio operators, also known as hams.

Since a story ran in the Borrego Sun a few weeks ago about the value of ham radio, both local residents and seasonal visitors have responded with interest in forming a club.

New resident Peter Morrison, KI7QBL, was the first to suggest the idea and an initial meeting via Zoom was attended by nine people. Now, more than 18 people have been added to the list of those interested.

The name Borrego RAMS (Radio Amateur Membership Society) has been suggested, and the group plans a second organizational meeting via Zoom on Feb. 5. Morrison also plans to begin a local net to get Borrego amateur radio operators more active on the air.

Morrison said there are nearly three dozen licensed amateur radio operators in the 92004 Zip Code, and many more seasonal visitors who are also licensed.

Borrego’s isolated location along with severe weather and earthquake potential make it an ideal location for an active and engaged radio group.

At the initial meeting, it was suggested that Borrego RAMS could provide community service communications at such events as Hawk Watch, Borrego Days and during busy times such as wildflower season.

Remote areas within the state park are often without cell service and local hams could monitor radio traffic to offer information or assistance to hikers or off-roaders who encounter problems.

In addition to getting local hams more active, the club could offer classes and help to people who would like to become licensed.

Borrego residents know that there are many places in Anza-Borrego where communications may be non-existent. Even driving up Montezuma Grade has many places where there is no cell service, but where ham radio does work.

Radio technology has advanced to the point where anyone with a license can have access to inexpensive handheld or mobile radios that would allow you to connect with others during times of emergency.

While emergency communications are an important function of ham radio, the hobby actually has unlimited facets, including satellite communications, world-wide communications through Internet links or by High Frequency connections, or even chatting with an astronaut on the space station.

A lightweight portable ham radio can also allow hikers to keep track of their party or provide a link to help if necessary.

Amateur radio requires a license from the Federal Communication Commission. To get the license, you must study and pass a short test demonstrating a basic understanding of rules and regulations, radio theory and operating practices.

If you are interested, let us know. Send your contact information to ernie@packtrain.com.

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