NORWICH — A simulated emergency test was conducted recently by Chenango County Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service members.

The exercise tested auxiliary communication capabilities for Chenango County and City of Norwich Emergency Management offices. Emergency Coordinator and RACES Radio Officer Ray Darling (K2DAR) and his assistants, Tom Monday (KC2SFU) and Vin Kreutz (KC2ARO) facilitated the drill.

According to a media release, the exercise simulated a widespread outbreak of arctic flu in the Norwich area. Points of distribution for medical immunization supplies were needed in Chenango County. The group established communication links through four analog/digital radio stations at what members determined to be key locations throughout the affected area. The service allowed Chenango County Emergency Coordinators to have direct access to all distribution points as well as Chenango Memorial Hospital.

As further stated in the release, the test was conducted and supported by 12 cross-trained amateur radio operators from Chenango County, with assistance from operators from Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties. Members purchase and maintain their own equipment. All work is done on a voluntary basis.

Local repeater usage is authorized and provided by the Chenango Valley Amateur Radio Association, owner of the 146.685 Mhz. Repeater (W2RME/R) in Guilford. An amateur radio repeater is described as an electronic device that receives a weak or low-level amateur radio signal and retransmits it at a higher level or higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation.

It also states in the release that the exercise is one of the contributions the two groups provide to communities. When special communications services are warranted, amateur radio operators volunteer their qualifications and equipment for communications duty as a public service.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service  and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service are affiliates of the American Radio Relay League, the national organization of amateur radio operators. October and November are set aside each year to conduct simulated emergency tests nationwide.

Call Ray Darling at 607-244-4425 for more information including how to become an amateur radio operator.

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