Kristopher Finstad: CB radio Field Day at Empire Mine
Bare feet dangle with knees bent over the edge of the hammock. Open shoes ready to slip on — to avoid burning feet on the ground. I’m fatigued and relieved from setting up a one- to two-person portable battery-powered amateur radio service operation.
A sedan pulled into an empty space at the edge of the site next to a Hardrock Trail trailhead, 500 feet out from the center radius. A blurry figure in uniform mismatched the vehicle.
A California State Park employee questioned: “Are you camping?”
“No, it’s Field Day through the Amateur Radio Relay League,” I said. “My license is KG6CXI: KILO-GOLF-SIX-CHARLIE X-RAY-INDIA. I’ve operated from home the past few years.”
I pointed to antennas and radios cabled to them.
“I have antennas and radios — that model is similar to what I use at home,” she replied. “I didn’t see a car.”
“My mother has it downhill at the park just down the hill. Where we live.”
We were interrupted by a General Mobile Radio Service (WQWI657)/Family Radio Service repeater capable two-way radio as the FEMA Emergency Alert System tone broadcast from Wolf Mountain, FREQ 162.400 MHz, an urgent weather message: A flash flood warning for southern Lassen County and northern Plumas County.
I keyed-up as she left, locking the gate to the visitor center parking lot to Empire Mine State Historic Park.
“The National Weather Service for the Sacramento County Warning Area currently is broadcasting a flash flood warning. Please run your relays to whom you know might have family, friends or interests at the Dixie Fire burn scar. A rainfall rate of one inch per hour has been reported. Tune to NOAA Wx radio.”
Then the 2 m. band (146.520 MHz) hand-held left clipped to a hammock suspension system was left.
Mom ended up on the phone, “Should I bring dinner?”
“Yes. I do not have a table-cloth.”
She arrived. After eating she was shown how to seat herself in the hammock and given a handheld, and we went over the call sign, then I took a walking stick around the site. Sundown at 0334Z Sunday approached as a deadline to clear out of the area. I logged date and time information.
She attempted a contact.
“I scared them — they don’t like me.” Possible explanations followed. We made takedown complete and left the site before sundown.
“You have a good attitude about Field Day,” said Mom. “Everyone goes their own way. You get set up and are right there — when there is an emergency. It’s lonely, but others are just talking about things that they buy, that are not for everyone.”
“Yeah,” I said.
Kristopher Finstad lives in Grass Valley.
As a Nevada County native, one would think it could become easy to not appreciate or explore the beautiful landscapes or towns that Nevada County has to offer. Life’s routines can take over, and we…
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