FOR SIMI HAM RADIO CONTESTANTS, THE MEDIUM BECOMES THE MESSAGE.
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The Berylwood Elementary School elementary school: see school. playground, usually a haven for athletic-minded children, was on Saturday a field of antennas, power generators and tents shading emergency radio communications units.
But a familiar voice was missing from the Simi Settlers Amateur Radio Club's 24th annual Field Day: Simi Valley Simi Valley (sē`mē, sĭm`ē), city (1990 pop. 100,217), Ventura co., SW Calif. in an oil, fruit, and farm region; laid out 1887, inc. 1969. resident Donald Morgan Jr., who died June 5 at age 17 from a seizure.
Morgan took to the hobby after strolling into the Field Day operation two years ago, eventually constructing his own antennas.
``He had been battling (seizures) for eight months,'' said club member Eric English, a 33-year-old Simi Valley resident. ``We didn't know he was ill. We were shocked. He was a brilliant young man interested in electronics and an exceptional learner.''
The 50 members expected to take part in the 24-hour marathon ham radio See ham. contest, which began at 11 a.m. Saturday, dedicated the event to Morgan.
Tens of thousands of radio operators across the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and Canada joined radio frequencies in the annual contest to see who could make the most contacts during the allotted al·lot
tr.v. al·lot·ted, al·lot·ting, al·lots
1. To parcel out; distribute or apportion: allotting land to homesteaders; allot blame.
Field days are designed to hone the skills of operators, who are called upon by hospitals, police and other emergency services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services' personnel to provide damage and needs assessments during catastrophes such as earthquakes.
``It's important because we can't rely on any commercial power,'' said club President John Beckers, 54, of Simi Valley.
The focus is on proper radio etiquette - operators are identified by their Federal Communications Commission Federal Communications Commission (FCC), independent executive agency of the U.S. government established in 1934 to regulate interstate and foreign communications in the public interest. license numbers, not their names.
``This is open to the public,'' said club member Tom Wheeler, 55, of Moorpark. ``If somebody comes in off the street, they can sit down and operate one of the stations and see what amateur radio is like.''
Many Field Day participants were expected to remain on site for the entire 24 hours.
There are no prizes for communicating with the most radio centers, but each club's results will be published in the November issue of QST QST Quebec Sales Tax
QST Quiet System Technology (Intel chipset feature)
QST Queens of the Stone Age (band)
QST Quick Start Tutorial (filetype) magazine, published by Newington, Conn.-based Amateur Radio Relay League, the industry's governing body.
During the rest of the year, operators spend countless hours communicating with each other across the globe, discussing everything from personal profiles and industry-related issues to sports and tourist information.
``What's unique about it is you don't recognize their faces, but you recognize their voices when you've been on the air awhile,'' said Wheeler. The late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, the late King Hussein of Jordan, television anchor Walter Cronkite, rock singer Joe Walsh and country music stars Patti Loveless and Ronnie Milsap are known ham radio enthusiasts.
PHOTO (1--Color) Dave Timoshik made 30 Morse code contacts in 30 different states within 30 minutes during Saturday's ham radio competition.
Dave Timoshik used a transceiver to make contact with other (2--Color) Morse code operators around the nation Saturday.
Eric Grigorian/Special to the Daily News