Recognizing the key role that amateur radio operators, "Hams", often play in maintaining communications during natural disasters, Cloudcroft Mayor David C. Venable issued a proclamation declaring June 22-28, 2012, to be "Amateur Radio Week". Over the weekend of June 23rd and 24th, the Sacramento Mountains Radio Club (SMRC) set up two amateur radio stations under simulated emergency conditions in Cloudcroft's Zenith Park.
Using only a gasoline-powered electrical generator to power their radio equipment, 13 members of SMRC kept their radios going for 24 hours as part of the Field Day exercise, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). During this period, SMRC members contacted over 230 other amateur radio stations around the country, including hams in 40 states plus Canada, and as far away as Hawaii, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico.
Most of the amateur radio stations contacted were also set up in simulated emergency conditions without using commercial power, telephone, internet or other infrastructure that may be compromised in a true crisis. Last year, more than 35,000 amateur radio operators participated in the annual exercise to demonstrate their slogan, "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works!"
The Sacramento Mountains Radio Club maintains and operates a repeater radio system in the southern Sacramento Mountains. This system, and members of the SMRC, are ready to provide emergency communications should the need arise.
While emergency communications are a significant part of amateur radio, it is not the only part. Ham radio is FUN! Numerous events throughout the year provide opportunities for radio operators to experiment, learn new skills and participate in contests. Besides providing emergency communications when needed, SMRC members also stand ready to help YOU join the fun! If you are interested in an amateur radio class, or a licensing examination session, contact Bill Hanson, 687-3370, in Cloudcroft, Jim Fox, 687-2448, in Mayhill, or Tom Smith, 687-2168, in Weed.