La mayoría de la gente no se da cuenta del trabajo que realizan los radioaficionados del área para mantener seguros a los residentes del área en caso de emergencia, dicen los líderes en este campo técnico.

“Uno de los principales beneficios para el público en general es el apoyo que ofrecemos en caso de que se nos solicite”, dijo Randy Smith, coordinador del Servicio de Emergencia de Radioaficionados del condado de Cleburne y presidente de la Asociación de Repetidores de Montaña de Turquía. «Proporcionamos comunicaciones si las comunicaciones regulares se interrumpen en caso de un desastre».

Practicar para esa posibilidad es importante, y los operadores de radioaficionados de los grupos de Smith y del Club de Radioaficionados del condado de Calhoun pasarán 24 horas practicando sus habilidades y compitiendo por puntos con operadores de todo el país el sábado y domingo 22 y 23 de junio. El grupo del condado de Calhoun se reunirá en A League of Our Own, 195 Recreation Drive en Oxford y el grupo del condado de Cleburne se reunirá en la intersección de las carreteras del condado 49 y 30, que está a dos millas al norte de Ranburne. El público está invitado. El horario es de 13 a 21 horas. el sábado hasta el mediodía del domingo.

«El objetivo es contactar tantas estaciones como sea posible en ese período de 24 horas sin hacer contactos duplicados», dijo Smith. “Si acumulas la mayor cantidad de puntos, es posible que puedas obtener el nombre de tu grupo en el QST, que es la revista publicada por la American Radio Relay League”.

In addition to honing their skills, members of both groups enjoy each other’s company when they are together. They bring food and share it and they talk about the times that they have assisted law enforcers, those in the field of emergency management and individuals in emergency situations.

Recently, two Calhoun County ham operators, Pete and Suzy Reeder, who live near White Plains, answered a distress call from a ham operator who was stranded in a remote area of Death Valley, Calif. Two adults and three children were in a vehicle that had either broken down or were stuck in sand. The people had enough food and water for a couple of days, but without transportation their situation could have deteriorated quickly, according to Reeder.

“He was lucky he got a radio signal that got out,” Reeder said recently. “That signal often dies at night, but Suzy came into the radio room and heard the mayday call. She is a communication whiz on her iPad and cellphone, and her fingers were flying until she got a ranger station.”

A ranger from the National Park Service said the people were stuck in extremely rough terrain and, since they had provisions, he said he would send out rescuers the next morning.

Reeder tried to call the lost people back the next day, but neither he nor Suzy ever were able to contact them again. However, the ranger did let the Reeders know that the people were able to get their car going and they had shown up at a ranger station.

“The ranger didn’t really understand how two people in Death Valley and Alabama were able to contact each other.”

The communication across miles reminded Smith of the power of ham radios.

“Many people do not know that amateur radio is the original social media,” Smith said, “with more than 100 years of communications.”

Students rejoice at Camp Lou

Recently a group of 133 campers, 24 young adult counselors and volunteers spent five days at Camp Lou. The camp — located just outside Ranburne — is run by Ranburne United Methodist Church.

Crystal Turner, a camp volunteer, said K- through sixth-grade campers came for the day while high school campers stayed overnight.

“We worshiped, did crafts, hiked, kayaked, fished, played games, song and dance, and learned about Jesus,” Turner said.

Archery was added to the list of activities this year, she said.

“Camp Lou has grown every year and we are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for future years,” Turner said. “It is so exciting to gather each year with our returning campers, to meet new kids, and then to see them take what they learn back into their communities when the week is over.”

Turner said It is exciting to gather each year with the returning campers, meet new kids and then to see them take what they learn back into their communities when the week is over.

El interés en inscribirse en el campamento este año fue muy popular entre los jóvenes del área.

“Este año fijamos nuestra capacidad en 125 y terminamos de reorganizarnos para poder incluir algunos extras. Este año alcanzamos la capacidad en menos de dos horas después de abrir el registro”, dijo Turner. “Cada vez que pensamos que hemos llegado a nuestro límite, Dios nos ha proporcionado formas de estirarnos un poco más. Nos encantaría aumentar nuestra capacidad para años futuros”.