The Suffolk County Radio Club recently convened for its semi-annual event aimed at enhancing emergency communication capabilities in the event of a natural or intentional disaster. Held at the Wardenclyffe Lab in Shoreham, this gathering of amateur radio enthusiasts demonstrated their commitment to community resilience through radio contact exercises with operators across the country.

The Wardenclyffe Lab is the last extant laboratory of renowned scientist Nikola Tesla.

The event drew participants from across Suffolk County and beyond, all eager to showcase their skills in radio communication and emergency response. Amidst rows of radio equipment and antennas, members of the club engaged in simulated scenarios where traditional communication infrastructure, such as cell towers and internet services, had been compromised or rendered inaccessible.

Rich Martino, an Air Force Veteran with thirty years of service and now with the New York Guard State Defense Force stated, “This demonstrates our ability to communicate with other hand radios throughout the country”. He stated that the military runs similar exercises to demonstrate high frequency capabilities, but it is more mission-oriented versus a hobby.

Throughout the day, club members utilized various high frequencies and modes of communication to establish contact with fellow operators in different states, testing their ability to relay messages and coordinate response efforts across distances. These exercises are designed to simulate real-world scenarios where effective communication can be a matter of life and death.

The semi-annual event also served as a platform for education and outreach, welcoming curious visitors to observe demonstrations and learn about the role of amateur radio in emergency preparedness. Emergency management underscores the importance of collaboration between amateur radio operators and professional responders during crises.

“This is our semi-annual event to enlighten and to do emergency communications,” remarked Suffolk County Radio Club President Richard Geraci. “It’s a contest to get as many contacts as we can within a 24-hour time period”. These preparations are necessary if there was a natural or intentional disaster.

As participants engaged in radio contact throughout the day and night for a 24-hour period, exchanging call signs, signal reports, and information about their locations, the camaraderie among operators was palpable. Many expressed a sense of fulfillment in using their technical skills for the greater good of their communities.

Looking ahead, the Suffolk County Radio Club plans to continue hosting events for disaster preparedness to further strengthen their capabilities and expand their network of operators. They encourage residents interested in emergency preparedness and amateur radio to explore joining the club or obtaining a license to operate radios. Rich Martino also relayed that in September there is an Empire State Challenge with military communications experts throughout the state doing similar exercises.

The Suffolk County Radio Club’s semi-annual event not only showcased the technical prowess and dedication of amateur radio operators but also highlighted their critical role in safeguarding community resilience during emergencies. Through ongoing training, collaboration, and public outreach, these enthusiasts remain at the forefront of ensuring reliable communication when it matters most.

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