This weekend will be yet another weekend when local ham radio operators gather in a spot away from any wall plugs, start up a generator, erect short wave antennas and talk to as many hams as they can around the world in as short amount of time.
In this case, Toledo is the favorite spot where they have assembled sleeping trailers filled with ham radios – radios that can reach around the world, down the street or even up to the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth.
The contest to see who can make the most contacts over the weekend from emergency-like locations has been going on for decades. And it’s provided hams with very valuable training in providing emergency communications for disaster-stricken areas of the world – often right here in the U.S. whether from hurricanes, tornadoes or just good old fashioned high winds and floods.
And of course, the coast of Oregon is due anytime for a replay of the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that struck most recently in January of the year 1700. Marine geological researchers have studied these earthquakes that go back 10,000 years here on the coast. Their recent research reveals that many earthquakes over the past ten thousand years occurred at about 350 year intervals. The last one struck January 26, 1700. We know that because those living at the time on the east coast of Japan recorded what was called “the orphan tsunami” that wiped out a number of fishing villages without Japan having had an earthquake just before. Couple that date, as recorded in Japan’s official history books, and you get today’s hypothetical interval at 315 years – practically in the bullseye.
So hams want to be ready when – not if – but when, the next “big one” strikes.
Those who would like to become a ham radio hero can get their radio license and join these fine radio amateurs by applying to get their ham ticket. Just calling 541-265-4199. The tests are a bit technical but reading the material and taking a class makes it just about duck soup to pass the test. Very few fail it. And if they do, they can study up some more and take the test again.
This year’s Ham Radio Field Day operation will be in Toledo on the waterfront at the pavilion with the copper colored roof. The fun starts Friday evening and runs through mid-day Sunday. Feel free to stop by any time and watch and ask questions. Everyone is more than welcome to come see how your “hamming it up” neighbors will keep Lincoln County in contact with the outside world no matter how bad the earthquake or how powerful the tsunami. Just like the Pony Express always got the mail through, ham radio operators will always get important messages through to the outside world as well.