While getting started a little late in life on my Amateur Radio endeavors, once I got going I kept at it. I had originally got my Technician license in 2002 to assist with manning the Emergency Operations Center at Kaiser's Corona Data Center when the person filling that responsibility retired. Then I learned that if I had a General Class license I could use that High Frequency bands to send email while sailing out in the middle of the ocean, so that was my next hurdle. That one was a little tougher because not only were there harder technical questions, but I had to learn Morse Code also, even though I didn't plan on using it. In 2004 I spent my lunch hours for 30 days straight studying the code with a software program I purchased and at the end of the 30 days I passed the code test. Shortly after that I passed the technical test and earned my General Class license. I thought I would stop there, but in 2006, while living in Hawaii, I studied and passed the highest level Extra Class test and earned that license also.
While in Hawaii, I was actively involved in two Amateur Radio clubs; the Emergency Amateur Radio Club and the Koolau Amateur Radio Club. The pictures across the top are from Field Day in Hawaii.
When returning to Southern California in 2006, I renewed my membership with the Riverside County Amateur Radio Association (RCARA) and was actively involved in the club and especially Field Day. In 2008 I was elected President of the club and re-elected for President in 2009. In addition to leading club meetings and activities during 2008 and 2009, I continued to be active in leading the Field Day efforts.
At the end of each year the membership of RCARA nominates and votes on a candidate for the Harry Crawford Memorial Award. Harry Crawford was a member in the club during the 50's and passed away in 1959. The club acquired his call sign W6TJ in 1960 in memory of him. The Crawford Award was created to honor exemplary service and leadership within the club and I was selected to be the 2009 recipient.
For those not familiar with Field Day, it is the last full weekend in June each year and thousands of clubs all across the country participate. We set up at a remote site and operate under emergency conditions, trying to make as many contacts with other stations participating as possible. Field Day is set up to run for one continuous 24 hour period, starting and ending at the exact same time in all time zones.
For 2010, I will continue on the board, however I stepped down from the President post and will function as Communications Director, with my primary responsibilities not surprisingly focused on Field Day.
I am also a member of the Yucaipa Valley Amateur Radio Club, but because of the distance I'm not as involved with monthly activities. Several of their members are actively involved with Communication Support Services (CSS), which provides Ham Radio support for the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay in which teams of police officers run a 120 mile relay race. Because of the location and terrain of the race, cell phones and regular police radios don't work. CSS usually provides support for 3 or 4 teams in the race from the local area. The race normally takes place in April of each year and is an excellent training exercise for providing emergency communications under adverse conditions. I have supported the race since returing from Hawaii and will be supporting the 2010 race as well, providing communications support for the captain of the Riverside Police Department team as I did in 2008 and 2009.