Ham operators to broadcast messages from Bosque del Apache
Local ham radio operators will broadcast messages all over the world on Friday, Oct. 15 and Saturday Oct. 16 from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, telling recipients about the refuge and its wildlife.
The public is invited to participate, beginning at 9 a.m.
The live broadcasts will originate from a mobile unit installed temporarily on the refuge plaza by the Socorro Amateur Radio Association, which normally operates the unit for the Socorro County Emergency Management Service.
At the Bosque del Apache demonstration, licensed SARA operators will initiate CQ calls (translated from ham-ese, that means “Any station, please call me”) inviting ham operators anywhere world-wide to respond.
As ham receivers respond, the local operator will engage them in dialog about the refuge and the area. Operators have been provided with a cue sheet of cool topics: the refuge’s Middle Rio Grande setting, its history, wildlife, the impending arrival of the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese, and even the route of the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro linking Mexico City with Santa Fe through the present-day refuge.
Spectators will be able to monitor these international conversations through loudspeakers, and might be able to join in the conversations. Operators also will demonstrate Morse Code transmissions for the viewing audience. Among the possible local operators initiating the calls from Bosque are three Cottonwood Valley Charter School students who became licensed ham operators last summer with instruction from SARA members.
The Socorro Amateur Radio Association, which was originated in 1976, has 41 active members, including three from the original roster. It is available to provide communications when other communications systems fail, as was the case following Hurricane Katrina for example, and to assist in search and rescue operations and other disaster or emergency situations. It is equipped to originate messages from remote sites through a repeater placed on a high spot.
More than a dozen National Wildlife Refuges in 13 states have teamed up with their local ham radio associations to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct. 10-16. Pelican Island was created by President Theodore Roosevelt as the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. The system now encompasses more than 540 National Wildlife Refuges, at least one in every state and territory.
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1939 as a sanctuary for Sandhilll Cranes and migratory waterfowl by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 90-square-mile refuge now hosts up to 160,000 visitors annually, and is the winter home of some 10,000 Sandhill Cranes.