There is a New Licensed Ham Radio Operator in Town

Me! I’ve had my radio and my technicians class license for a few months now.  The guys in ham radio are awesome. A super helpful and almost all knowing crowd. It’s like they have their finger on the pulse of everything that goes on within the transmission range of their Radios. They are very civics minded and there is not much they are not involved in. I have a blast on my radio  coastwise of where I operate my boat up by Santa Barbara. The local club took me right in and made me feel right at home. Mr. Brent here, I’m just getting the hang of things. The tape on the back of my radio which I wrote my call sign is just now becoming illegible. I’ve finally committed  my Call sign at least to memory now.  That’s how new I am!

Operating a two way on the repeaters locally, is like knowing where the best watering holes in town are. By having local knowledge you know where the action is. When you go there you also know who will likely be belly up to the bar too. If you’re from out of town you’re Kinda of on your own. That’s fine if time is on your side. But!  Just this last weekend I was helping to take care of horses during the “Sand Canyon fire”  close in to Los Angeles. I pulled out my super duper radio and started hunting around to find traffic. Jumping on repeaters that showed up in the App on my smart phone. Scanning the Simplex frequencies. I was wanting to prove the “prepper possibilities” of my new found hobby in an emergency situation.  

Yea. That was a fail. Only once did I get some intelligence of real value. That was a hit on the Tejunga Mountain repeater from a hiker overlooking the burn. Once he left his high spot I couldn’t reach him again. Again, thousands of frequencies and no lovin. That’s where I learned that while these radio are really cool, The preparation that goes into knowing the locals and learning the Lay of the land is what’s essential and most important.

 I Got ribbed for having fiddled and fooled with a radio all day long and had it be of Zero help. But I learned something. I’ll call a local club. I’ll get their club frequency. I’ll start my search for information there. Odds are those guys are hooked up with local LEO operations and have the scanner frequencies to monitor as well. If they are anything like the guys in the Santa Barbara club and Ventura clubs, they’ll bend over backward to help.When we were up in the canyon where the cell phones didn’t work. That would of been a comfort.

Another lesson learned. I’m preprogramming my repeaters in. I’m getting the stations I can scan saved ahead of the Emergency. And I’m going to look up these fellas that know a thing or two and ask them what they will be doing. Then I’m gonna  take notes!

Brent Eriksen

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