Amateur radio operators help during eclipse

Amateur radio operators operated a communication network in Grant County during the eclipse.

Approximately 50 FCC-licensed amateur radio operators provided multilayered support to the community of Grant County during the eclipse.

The city of Portland sent a communication van along with a team to staff it. Multnomah County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) sent a six-person team of FCC-licensed amateur radio operators to help out with communication. The Grant County Amateur Radio Club provided equipment and personnel to assist the Grant County emergency manager with incoming and outgoing messages and information.

The Portland team provided the 10 members of the Oregon National Guard with portable radios supported by a temporary repeater installed in Canyon City. During the duration of the Multnomah County ARES visit, they repaired and programmed several radio installations for different government agencies including Burns Paiute Tribal Police, Prairie City Volunteer Fire Department and the Prairie City ambulance.

Local amateur radio operators in Dayville, Canyon City, John Day, Monument, Mt. Vernon and Prairie City staffed a 16-hour-per-day communication network on four different frequencies and kept in contact with the approximately 50 FCC licensed amateur radio operators who either live in Grant County, came to assist with communications or were visiting to view the eclipse and volunteered to help.

Beyond keeping communications channels open, there were three smoke reports and approximately 38 traffic reports that flowed through this network. There was also a hit-and-run reported by an amateur radio operator on Highway 395 south near mile marker 60. There is no cellphone coverage in the area. Because of his report, the driver was arrested after only 20 minutes. Three amateur radio operators were involved in this incident: the California driver who reported it, a resident of John Day who first took the call and one resident of Burns who notified dispatch from his post in the Harney County Emergency Operations Center.

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