Las Vegas, NV. – Amateur radio operators are being deployed starting Tuesday, September 17th in advance of the gathering in Rachel, NV., known as “Storm Area 51”. While the music festival (Alienstock) has moved to downtown Las Vegas, the Storm Area 51 movement is going to take place.
With very little infrastructure in Rachel, the Lincoln County Sheriff, Kerry Lee, and Emergency Manager, Eric Holt, activated the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in Lincoln, Clark, and Nye Counties. Amateur radio operators (also known as hams) will begin to set up stations and placing several portable repeaters and link stations in the areas of Alamo, Hiko, Tickaboo Valley as well as Rachel to support the event. The goal is to provide timely and accurate communication to the incident command so that appropriate action/reaction can happen.
The ham operators will be prepared to “dry camp”; that is being fully self‐contained for the duration of the deployment, which is expected to run through Sunday, September 22nd. Meetings are taking place in advance of the event to continually update the ARES plan to ensure that all operators are prepared as well as can be expected. The “trick” to the event is to prepare for the known unknown. How much power, food, water, and fuel and other items will be needed to sustain the ham operators for the duration of the event given the level of participation is only an estimate.
Travelling through remote areas where there is no internet and no cell phone coverage, it is incumbent to maintain voice communication with the command post for accidents can occur involving life threatening instances regardless of the eventual number of attendees. Amateur radio operators are often the first to provide critical and timely information. This event demonstrates the commitment of amateur radio operators to provide communications when needed.
In addition to the hams in and around the event area, Clark County ARES members will be staffing the Clark County Emergency Communication Center (ECC) to monitor the event. The ECC is an area with a full suite of amateur radios including HF, UHF/VHF, and Packet along with a full complement of radios used for State and County communication.
Amateur radio is growing in the US. There are now over 760,000 Amateur Radio Licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the American Radio Relay League’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non‐emergency community services too, all for free.
To learn more about Amateur Radio, visit www.arrl.org/what‐is‐ham‐radio.