These San Bernardino County Amateur Radio Operators Make Friends Around the World – San Bernardino Sun


What do science, public service and emergency communication have in common?

They are all associated with amateur radio or amateur radio.

There are over 3 million amateur radio operators in the world.

A unique blend of pleasure and public service, hams are making headlines on Earth and above.

An amateur radio operator in Portland, Oregon, connected children to the International Space Station from his home.

In a Colorado forest fire, volunteer radio amateurs helped save lives and property.

As for local amateur radio operators, Jeff Richardson gets the job done.

This man has connections.

He works for the emergency services office of the San Bernardino County Fire Department and is proficient in the art of wire and cable and radio frequencies.

Believing that emergency communication is a top priority in disasters, Richardson serves as the special projects coordinator for the Disaster Communications Preparedness program of the San Bernardino County Fire Department of Emergency Services.

One of the functions of amateur radio operators is to promote goodwill in the world.

We would expect law enforcement to use amateur radios, but even the Veterans Hospital and Loma Linda University Medical Center have amateur radio equipment and staff to operate it.

There is the Citrus Belt Amateur Radio Club, which shares its information with local community groups.

Citrus Belt was organized in 1938 and then reactivated after World War II, and established as a club in 1947.

Citrus Belt Amateur Radio members work with many organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, March of Dimes, and participate in walking events.

There are also two-way public safety services for fires or other emergency radio services provided by the Mountain Top Amateur Radio Association.

You’d be surprised, Richardson told me, how many people don’t know what the club is doing.

They also have members who provide communications for law enforcement from Baker to Vegas, while others help the United States Forest Service, CalFire and San Bernardino County Fire and Search and Rescue relay the traffic. radio.

While amateur radios can be critical in emergency situations, their operators also use science for fun.

Jo Stringfield, Cedarpines Park resident and retired Caltrans planner, member of the Celtic Belt Amateur Radio Club and Mountain Top, loves ham radios almost as much as she loves sailing.

In November 1977, she and her former husband took their 21ft sailboat up the Pacific coast from Baja to Cabo San Lucas and into the Sea of ​​Cortez.

“We had no navigation, no GPS, no VHS Marine radio, no HF amateur radio. And of course there were no cell phones. We had a compass, maps and an EPIRB (radio beacon indicating the emergency position), ”she said.

They had more fun than expected, Stringfield said, and chose to tow their boat home so they could spend more time in Mexico.

They returned home and decided for their next trip to have an amateur radio to check the weather, make phone patches and meet other hams. “We also decided that it would be nice to have a boat a bit bigger and a boat that we could also stand in,” she said.

Back at Dana Point, they prepared for a return trip, purchasing a larger boat and ham radio to check the weather and talk to other hams. They have started to prepare and equip their new boat for the next cruise.

“We went to HRO to watch amateur radios. With HRO, the experience of helping boaters, we chose a radio. HRO gave us the frequencies for the Baja and Mananas network to check when we headed south, ”Stringfield said.

They gave the couple local ham phone numbers that would help install the radio and antenna on the boat. They didn’t know what to expect because they called in strangers to help them “out of the blue”.

“That same day, hams came down to the marina to help set up the radio and antennas. It was the start of meeting some of the best hams, ”Stringfield said. She still uses her ham equipment. “The mountains are full of opportunities to use amateur radios.”

Richardson’s wife Megan is also an amateur radio operator.

During the old fire, Richardson set up a telephone service for the fire command vehicle.

“If you tell us it can’t be done, we’ll find a way to do it,” said Richardson, who has volunteered more than 100,000 hours in his 30-year career in community service.

Many clubs are affiliated with the American Radio Relay League, the national association of radio amateurs, which connects amateurs in the United States with information, books, and study materials.

The ARRL is a primary source of information on what is happening in the amateur radio world.

The local group has its meetings at the Patton State Hospital Staff Development Center, 3102 E. Highland Ave., San Bernardino, 92413.

Information: Or send them an email to [email protected]


Michel Nolan can be reached at [email protected]


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