The blog team for “Our River Town” has been quite busy with local community projects and almost missed it; but, Eagle-Eyes, caught the story on the 6 p.m. NBC Bay Area News The blog team for “Our River Town” has been quite busy with local community projects report last Saturday (6/26). The report featured how amateur radio operators (Hams) step up to the plate in emergency situations and establish communications when all else fails. The Trio wondered how many Petalumans and other Sonoma County residents may have missed hearing about this annual event that attracts thousands of Hams across the United States and Canada. Being computer literate, The Trio went online and searched the Internet.

Myself discovered a significant message in the Seymour Herald (Seymour, Iowa): “Over the past year, the news has  been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events worldwide. During Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio – often called “Ham Radio” – was often the only way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property. When trouble is brewing, Amatewur Radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications.”

 I thought some readers might ask, “What is Field Day.” The official response is found in ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League” literature. The following statements were reported in the Times Union (Albany, NY): “Field Day simulates conditions in the aftermath of a large scale disaster to offer practical experience in setting up radios and antennas and making contact outside the area without the aid of cell phones, land lines or the Internet. Contact with other stations are made via voice, Morse Code or digital means.”

 Hammerhead was most impressed with these findings; but, what really “hit the nail on the head for him” was the fact that he, as an unlicensed Ham, could actually Get On The Air (GOTA), and try out amateur radio for the first time. He discovered that he could visit three local Field Events and transmit messages by radio, under the guidance of a licensed amateur radio operator. WOW!

1st stop: Sonoma County Radio Association: Youth Community (aka “Skateboard”) Park on   Fulton Rd across from Piner High School, Santa Rosa. SSB and CW stations located outside between the RVs during the daylight hours.  The GOTA (Get On The Air) and VHF/UHF stations will share a 10′ by 30′ tent.

2nd  stop: Hamilton Wireless Assocition: Hamilton Field, Novato. Two tents with VHF/HF stations and an antenna mounted on top of the water tower near the MARS Station.

3rd. stop: Marin Amateur Radio Society and the Redwood Empire DX Association:  Marin Rod and Gun Club, 2675 Francisco Blvd East, San Rafael.  Several booths with VHF/HF stations available for demonstrations and public use.