COOS COUNTY — Ham radio operators are being trained how to report and communicate during an emergency.
The Coos County Radio Club is putting on two upcoming events, the first of which is Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on frequency 146.46. The “Bottoms UP” exercise will be held throughout the state using non-emergency personnel.
Operations officer with Coos County Radio Club, Craig Lundborg, said the event is open to ham radio operators both in and outside the county.
“It is a practice drill on a catastrophic event that will bring down power on the south county, putting us in the Stone Age for six months to a year and a half,” Lundborg said of the event. “There’s no extension cords from California and this is the last quadrant to get fixed, so if power is down, cell towers and internet is down. The only communication left are ham radio operators.”
Right now, Coos County has 450 licensed amateur radio operations, 60 of which are active with the Coos County Radio Club.
“We intend to tap that vast resource of operators, train them in the proper reporting skills, and use them to provide situational awareness, windshield reports, damage assessment that is critical to direct to the County Emergency Manager and responders,” said a press release about the weekend event.
After the weekend event, another emergency simulation begins. From Tuesday, April 30 through Thursday, May 2, a practice event involving communications between hospitals, field teams and EYEWARN volunteers, or a group of trained amateur radio volunteers, will simulate a bio-terrorism attack.
“The National Guard will also be coming in for practice runs,” Lundborg said. “We will have portable Emergency Operation Centers on LaClair Street.”
Both events are free, but in order for ham radio operators to participate they must contact Lundborg for the schedule by emailing him at KD7CL@outlook.com.
“This is a very large county and if power is out, it’s important to know if your radio works, to get comfortable using it,” he said. “If power is out, many use handhelds that are low power and sometimes a signal can’t make it around a hill. This training will get people comfortable to relay those messages. It will be important in the future because let’s face it, we’re 75 years behind a tsunami and earthquake. We don’t know what could happen. Hopefully nothing happens, but in case of emergency we’re all here.”
To get a ham radio license, visit http://www.coosradioclub.net/ for more information.