Emergency Communications


Last updated 10/4/2022 at 10:34am

One of Borrego RAMS net control operators, Ron Brownell, chats with other amateur radio operators from the High Point Fire Lookout on Palomar Mountain.

A short article last year in the Borrego Sun about emergency communications in our remote community has resulted in the formation of a network of amateur radio operators and creation of the Borrego RAMS radio club.

RAMS stands for Radio Amateur Membership Society and the group's mission is to connect amateur radio operators in and around Borrego Springs as a dependable communications link during times of emergency.

The Borrego Sun article discussed the value of amateur radio, especially in areas where cell service is weak or not available.

Much of the area in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that surrounds Borrego Springs has no available cell service. Hikers, off roaders and even bicyclists often lack the ability to call for help if needed in times of emergency.

Part of the RAMS effort was to stimulate interest in the value of amateur radio and encourage people to get a license and basic equipment. In particular, off-road vehicle operators can invest just a few hundred dollars and equip their rigs with radios that will allow them to communicate over hundreds of miles.

Floods, fires, or earthquakes could also disrupt communications into Borrego Springs, while licensed radio amateurs, often called ham radio operators, have the ability to talk both locally and worldwide with their radio equipment.

Seasonal resident Peter Morrison responded to the Borrego Sun article about ham radio and was the spark that led to forming Borrego RAMS.

"Our long-term goal is to let the amateur radio community know we are here, and to establish reliable communication links into the area," Morrison said. "We also hope to generate interest with those who might want to become hams."

Additionally, local hams would like to form a relationship with the fire department and the community to assist with communications in times of emergency or during civic events.

Last fall, RAMS members conducted a demonstration at Christmas Circle to show off their radio equipment and their ability to communicate over long distances.

Earlier this year, RAMS members assisted in providing communications during an overland endurance race through remote desert areas without cell service.

Currently there are more than 30 licensed ham radio operators in the 92004 Zip Code, but many were not active. Local hams are encouraged to get involved and check in to weekly radio nets listed below.

Formation of the Borrego RAMS sparked enough interest that the group now conducts a weekly radio check-in at 7 p.m. every Thursday with as many as 30 area amateur radio operators participating from Yuma to San Diego.

The net is conducted on the Cactus Open Repeater Network system, which can be accessed through the Mt. Laguna repeaters on a frequency of 145.240, or 449.580. The CORA website is located at www.coraradio.com.

Frequency details are available on the Borrego RAMS website at www.borregorams.org.

Additionally, the club conducts high frequency nets on Thursday evenings following the general net on a frequency of 3.833 MHz, and at 8 p.m. on Friday evenings at 7.204 Mhz.

Anyone interested in additional information can contact Ernie@packtrain.com.

Contact Ernie @ Packtrain.com or follow http://erniesoutdoors.blogspot.com/

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