Part of our mission at the Shenandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club is to use our amateur radio communications skills and equipment in service to our communities. This not only provides community support, but it also gives us field practice in emergency communications should they ever be needed. Here are various ways our club members take Amateur Radio out beyond the clubhouse. If any of these interests you, use the links for more information or ask around at the SVARC meetings.
• SKYWARN – this is a program of the National Weather Service that activates thousands of volunteer storm spotters to track and report hazardous weather conditions. Amateur Radio operators offer a unique set of skills and technologies in the form of an established communications system that can function in an emergency. The book Storm Spotting and Amateur Radio, by Michael Corey KL1U and Victor Morris AH6WX, is available in paperback or Kindle formats. The Skywarn website (https://www.skywarn.org/) has more information and links to local training events.
• ARES – Amateur Radio Emergency Service – This is an organization of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment with their local ARES leadership for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. CLICK HERE for more information and to download the free registration form.
• NET CONTROL – many of our members have taken net control training or have just learned the basics by serving as net control on one of our local nets. Learning the proper protocol can help you stay calm in an emergency situation in which regular phone and cell phone lines are disabled and amateur radio operators are called on to provide emergency communications. CLICK HERE for a Net Control Training Manual by Daniel R. Gropper KC4OCG and edited by R. Bruce Winchell N8UT.
• SPECIAL EVENT COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT Our club station W4RKC is registered with the Scouting organizations so we can host local Scouts for their annual “Jamboree-On-The-Air” (JOTA), a scouting event that’s all about getting young people to talk to each other using amateur radio. It’s not a contest, but rather a way to introduce Scouts fo ham radio. It is usually held the third weekend in October.
Our club is often asked to provide communications for special events, especially when they are held in areas where phone or electrical service may be unavailable or unreliable. These include bike races, festivals, foot races such as the MMT 100, and other area events.