Amateur Radio is a high-tech hobby that interests people in all walks of life. Using handheld or desktop radios, or even radios mounted in your car, you can communicate to others across the street or around the world. You can use voice, data and even video.
Amateur Radio (Ham) operators do this mainly for recreation, but many Hams also provide a community service with their skills. They provide communications at public events like Walk-A-Thons, parades and races. They even provide communications for the Los Angeles Marathon.
The most important role the Amateur Radio operators have is providing crucial communications following natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados often knock out telephone service and sometimes even police and fire radio service. Amateur Radio enthusiast prepare for disasters like this. They have generators and batteries for backup power and provide reliable backup communications for emergency services such as police, fire and hospitals. To learn more about Amateur Radio, click on the link below.
This is Bill Westphal, WB6YPF (right) and his brother Dan, WB6YPI, operating at the Sam Merrill Checkpoint of the AC100 100 Mile Endurance Run. This particular checkpoint is 89 miles into the race and is located in a remote area of the Angeles National Forest. Photo courtesy of Steve Woo, KE6ONT.
Amateur Radio operators provide voice communications between the 18 checkpoints along the 100 mile course through the mountains. They ensure that all runners who leave the previous checkpoint arrive safely at the next. They also use data communications to provide a near real-time database of each runners location at any given time. This is all done with portable equipment and backup power.
The photo above is a group shot of the entire Sam Merrill Checkpoint Crew for the 2005 Race. The crew is comprised of Race Support Personnel to provide needed refreshments and nourishment to the runners, Medical Personnel to assess the physical and mental condition of the runners and provide aid if necessary and Communications Personnel to track the runners from one checkpoint to the next.
To learn more about the AC100 race, click on the link below.