Ham radio operators host 24-hour field day starting Saturday
Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association will hold its 24-hour American Radio Relay League field marathon from 10 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday at Minden-Tahoe Airport.
The field day’s purpose is to challenge local hams, either as a group or as individuals, to set up a remote station and make as many contacts across the country as possible within a 24-hour period.
This tests hams’ abilities to trouble-shoot problems, find ways to provide off-grid power, and to make the remote location function under adverse conditions. While SIERA will be setting up their station in a somewhat “urban” environment, there will always be problems.
One year, the mast of their antenna bent under the weight of the array and collapsed. This year, the club will use a military grade antenna that can be carried in their emergency trailer.
For two years, the association’s trailer has been deployed to local events, such as safety day. Recently, one of the members even set up the trailer at the junction of Nye, Churchill, and Lyon Counties near Burnt Cabin Summit to work a contact contest.
The association provides communications support for many events. At the same time as Field Day this year, members will be following riders participating in the Pony Express Re-Ride across Nevada. Because many areas of the state have no cell phone coverage, amateur radio operators report the progress of the riders via relays to base stations in Carson Valley. The hams also call out for emergency aid if a rider is hurt or loses track of the trail.
Other events the association supports are the Alta Alpina Bicycle marathon, the Death Ride, and the Nevada Day Parade.
For further information about SIERA, check out their website at http://www.cvhams.com or their Facebook page under “SIERA.”