The Sacramento Mountain Radio Club was originally conceived by Reg Duncan W5UWY and Howard Shiplett KD5BZF and proposed to various amateur operators that reside in the area. The main founding idea was to augment the emergency services communications in the mountain community as well as to provide amateur communications capability during non-emergency conditions.
Promoting amateur radio, training operators, supporting ARES and other emergency communications were also valid reasons to organize the club. The club was officially created on October 10, 2005.
The Sacramento Mountain Radio Club area includes 1.1 million acres of thick conifer National Forest interspersed with private land and private residences. The elevation of the area varies from 4,500 feet MSL to over 12,000 feet MSL. This area contains several thousand miles of unimproved roadways that are very difficult to traverse. The average snowfall is approximately 60-inches per year.
The reason this emergency backup communications system was needed in the local area was due to the antiquated, inadequate, poorly maintained Otero County emergency communications system. Reliable communications with the local sheriff's office simply was not dependable. In addition, this area has very poor cell phone coverage. East of approximately mile marker 28 on U.S. Highway 82 there is no cell phone coverage for about 75 miles. West of mile marker 28 on U. S. Highway 82, if the incident is as much as 3 miles or less north or south of the highway, there is no cell phone coverage.
Because of these shortcomings in the County provided network, local responders to emergencies, including wildfires, have found themselves miles from anyone or any help without communications of any sort. This radio Club is dedicated to relieving that dangerous situation to the best of their collective ability.
In the immediate vicinity of the mountain communities lies the White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air force Base, NASA White Sands Test Facility, Fort Bliss, and numerous solar and other observation points. In addition to the vast Government facilities in the region, the cities of El Paso, Las Cruces, and Alamogordo are nearby. This added together is considered a considerable terrorist threat.
The ARES group associated with the club is prepared to provide emergency backup communications in the local area or anywhere in the Nation where emergency communications may be needed either because of terrorists' activities, civil defense, war time, or other man-made or natural disasters.