- The Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association spreads awareness about Ham Radio, or Amateur Radio, as well as provides resources during disasters
- When cellular signal or other communication methods are down, ham radio is a resource for connection, especially during emergency situations
One of the first forms of technological connection is still alive and well in Tehachapi. One local group is hoping to serve their community and beyond.
Dick Brown, Technical Advisor for the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association sits down at his desk and grabs his handheld radio.
“Is anyone else on frequency this morning?” he asks.
Replies begin to call out: “AF7ZG Auburn, Washington. TL4KAH Gerry..in Georgia.” Those are real people around the country responding to Dick's call, each with their own unique call sign.
Dick Brown has been ham radio certified since 1950.
“My dad was licensed in 1928 and my wife’s father was licensed in 1929, so I grew up with it," Brown said. "During the Vietnam War, I ran phone patches for the sailors on board the vessels. They didn't have cell phones and that type of thing during that time, so the hams ran phone patches so the boys at sea could talk to their families at home.”
Today, Brown is a member of the Tehachapi Amateur Radio Association, a local group that spreads awareness of ham radio and is ready to assist emergency services in crisis situations.
“You know what, ham radio is a great way to be prepared for checking your communications abilities. Infrastructure all around California and other states, we can help you to do that,” said Dan Mason, president of the association.
Due to its nature as a radio frequency, in disaster situations when phone or cellular communication is down, ham radio is still able to make connections.
"[During the Trotter Fire in August] My job was simply to walk with the chief of police and any communications that he was having challenges with, I provided those communications via ham radio...amateur radio. And they then relayed out from there. If his cell phone didn't work or his radio didn't work, ham radio did," said John Dyer, Vice President of the Local Community Emergency Response (CERT) Team.
And, connections can be made all across the globe.
“Ontario, Canada, Japan, Germany…we can talk anywhere in the world just about anytime we want to,” said Brown.
The Association says anyone looking to become certified in ham radio can learn more about it by visiting the American Radio Relay League website.
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