Borrego Amateur Radio Operators Connected During Windstorm
Last updated 3/14/2023 at 12:01pm
The howling winds that swept through Borrego Springs, knocking out power and communications last week left many people without the ability to contact others or get information about road conditions.
Several members of the Borrego Radio Amateur Membership Society (RAMS) were radioactive, however, connected to the outside world and able to offer emergency assistance if needed.
As social media reports began to emerge of trees and powerlines down, roofs blown off and roads closed, several licensed amateur radio operators came on the air.
RAMS members who were active included Borrego residents Bob Kutscher, Jenny Huntley, Peter Morrison and Denny DuVall.
Using handheld or battery powered radios, the members were able to connect to other radio operators outside of Borrego to establish a communications link in case emergency assistance was needed and to update road and weather conditions.
Additionally, Kutscher was able to broadcast the latest information on when power might be restored as well as updated travel information to anyone out of the area planning to come to Borrego Springs.
This was the first test of amateur radio emergency communications after the formation of Borrego RAMS a few years ago.
The group was formed after an article in the Borrego Sun about the value of amateur radio to hikers, off roaders and residents of our isolated community.
Morrison, a winter visitor to Borrego Springs and veteran amateur radio operator, reached out with an interest in creating an emergency communications group. Borrego RAMS was born.
The informal group of about 40 radio operators now promotes amateur radio communications and conducts a weekly net at 7 p.m. every Thursday, connecting radio operators from Yuma to San Diego and north into the Los Angeles area. Visit BorregoRams.org for more information.
If you have interest in becoming active at an amateur radio operator, you can contact Ernie Cowan, K6KKM at Ernie@Packtrain.com.
Operating an amateur radio station requires a license from the Federal Communication Commission, but there are many resources offering study guides and assistance to prepare for taking the 35-question test to earn your license.
A simple, battery powered handheld radio can be a lifesaver in the remote areas of the desert where cell phones may not work.
Mountaintop radio repeaters allow you to connect with others over a wide area when no other means of communication are available.