SIMI CLUB JOINS MASS TRANSMIT; RADIO OPERATORS BROADCAST TO HAMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.Byline: John Huddy Daily News Staff Writer
Members of the 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. Settlers amateur radio club were busy hamming it up this weekend - part of the National Field Day activities for amateur radio clubs across the nation.
Starting on Saturday, members of the local radio club began erecting temporary antennas, two-way radio A voice network that provides an always-on connection enabling the user to just "push the button and talk." Also called "dispatch radio," two-way radio has traditionally been used by police, fire, taxi and other mobile fleets. stations and portable electric generators for power that would transmit signals 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.
The activities were part of a national drill held annually to test the amateur ham radio See ham. operators' skills and their abilities to provide emergency radio communications.
``This is my hobby,'' said John Beckers, president of Simi Settlers. ``But when you can turn your hobby into something that helps other people, its a benefit.''
The Simi Settlers have been known for providing emergency assistance to local authorities in times of disaster. The club has been called upon by the Red Cross following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake The Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM Pacific Standard Time in the city of Los Angeles, California. The earthquake had a "strong" moment magnitude of 6. , when telephone lines were interrupted, and during fires in Malibu, helping to provide communications between different organizations.
``We're here to have fun as a club,'' said Sue Berkhout. ``But we're also here to show that we're serious about helping the community.''
Berkhout, who is handicapped, has been involved with amateur radio for six years, saying, ``It helps me personally - if there's an emergency, and it's tough for me to get around, I can just get on the radio and talk with other people.''
The club has members from all over the community.
``We're from all walks of life,'' said Diane Belcher, the Simi Settlers public information officer. ``We have doctors that belong to the club, electricians, retired telephone employees - we want people to understand that our hobby won't interfere with their hobby.''
Along with Belcher and Berkhout, Jerry Crabtree, a seven-year club member and its emergency coordinator, was also on hand, helping to set up his Portable Packet radio operation system.
``My dad was a ham,'' said Crabtree. ``He got me started and now I use his call sign.''
Each member of the club is given a call sign by the 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. . A call sign is a group of letters distinguishing the person broadcasting as being a licensed radio operator.
Every now and again, an unlicensed operator may get on a radio frequency, transmitting signals throughout the vicinity. These pirate radio pirate radio n (BRIT) → emisora pirata
pirate radio n (Brit) → radio f pirate
pirate radio n (BRIT operators'' are frowned upon by the Simi Settlers, who act as watchdogs for the FCC (1) (Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC, www.fcc.gov) The U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications including wire, cable, radio, TV and satellite. The FCC was created under the U.S. , Belcher said.
The Simi Settlers, organized in 1976, have made contact with more than 3,000 other stations across the United States and Canada. Members of the club say it is not uncommon to make contact with stations as far away as Germany or Costa Rica Costa Rica (kŏs`tə rē`kə), officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. , depending on the strength of the signal being transmitted.
But aside from providing emergency communication assistance in disaster situations, being a ham radio fan can offer other benefits as well - like cutting the costs of phone bills.
``We have a lot of husband-and-wife radio hams,'' said Belcher, listening to her portable radio as a husband in the club talks with his wife, who is somewhere in the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. . ``It's helpful because you can keep in touch without having to use a phone. My husband used to commute to work. When he got off, I would get on the radio and talk with him while he drove home - it made the drive go a lot quicker.''
PHOTO (1--Color) Simi Valley Settlers radio club members are taking part in a national drill held annually to test their emergency communications skills.
(2--Color) Randy Streder dials his ham radio to make contact from Simi Valley to the LAX area.
Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News