Irvine Honors Amateur Radio Operators

By Julianne Foster
Julianne Foster
Julianne Foster
June 20, 2022 Updated: June 20, 2022

IRVINE, Calif.—The City of Irvine declared the week of June 20 to 26 as “Amateur Radio Week,” to honor the city’s reported 800 amateur radio operators—or hams—who maintain lines of communication during an emergency.

“We are truly grateful for your service,” Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said at the June 14 city council meeting.

The city council also dedicated the week to the Irvine Police Department and a special team of hams, called the Irvine Disaster Emergency Communications team, designated to work with authorities during a disaster.

As part of the City’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, the city’s ham team is made up of 60 volunteers—trained and experienced ham radio operators—who work under the direction of Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel.

If communications were disabled due to an emergency or disaster, the team has specialized equipment to create a lifeline communication network between the city’s police department, designated citywide evacuation centers, school sites, public buildings, medical facilities, local parks and other areas where necessary communication would need to be established.

The team’s motto is to “observe and communicate.”

In addition to continual training to perfect their skills, members of the team every year attend a field day exercise hosted by the non-profit American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio.

More than 40,000 hams flock to the field day every year. The event, called the “ham radio’s open house,” features various contests to practice for emergencies.

One of the contests involves contacting as many stations as possible to improve radio operations in abnormal or difficult situations.

This year’s field day will be held in Irvine at Los Lomas Community Park on June 25 and 26. The event is open to the public.