Copperas Cove: Local ham radio operators practice for emergencies

Photo by: Kristen Victorin
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COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) Phone or internet communication could be lost in a natural disaster.

The Copperas Cove Repeater Association teamed up with city emergency management to brush up on their communication skills at the National Amateur Radio Winter Field Day Saturday afternoon.

At a Copperas Cove fire station, residents are learned what it’s like to communicate through ham radio over a 24 hour period.

"It’s an opportunity for them to come into our facility, set up their equipment and pretend that we have a disaster where we need their communication support,” Emergency Management Coordinator, Deputy Chief Gary Young said.

Their goal is to communicate with as many contacts as possible. But Bruce Coons doesn’t need a semi-annual event to keep his skills fresh.

"I do something on the radio almost every day,” Coons said.

Learning how to provide this form of communication in case of a disaster came in hand when he was there for the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

"My neighbors came over to my house and I had a radio and I got my father on the radio. I had him call all my neighbors relatives to let them know that we were okay,” Coons said.

Emergency management says locally, there are several disasters that could take place where ham radio communication would be essential. Wildfires and tornadoes would be likely examples.

The exercise will continue through 1 p.m on Sunday. The next field day exercise is in June.

The City of Copperas Cove Division of Emergency Management suggests visiting http://www.texasprepares.org for disaster preparation information.

Local ham radio groups to join are the Central Texas Amateur Radio Club, Temple Amateur Radio Club, and the Lampasas Middle School Youth Amateur Radio Club.