Field Day 2004: An Actual Emergency and a Congressional Visit

By Joe Moell KØOV

Field Day antenna going up!As HDSCS members were beginning setup of antennas and equipment for ARRL Field Day* on the grounds of Huntington Beach Hospital (HBH) at 8:30 AM on Saturday, June 24, 2004, an emergency page was received by April Moell from West Anaheim Medical Center (WAMC). She immediately dispatched Tom Gaccione WB2LRH and Cheryl Simpson KD6MWZ from HBH to WAMC, 9 miles north. Then she and Joe Moell KØOV made calls via the HDSCS primary Amateur Radio repeater station and on their cell phones to activate four other members who live close to WAMC. Twenty minutes after the page, Tom and Cheryl were in the WAMC parking lot. The other four responders soon followed.

The hospital's phone technician, arriving just after the first two hams, discovered that a power supply failure had caused all internal telephone system extensions within the 219-bed facility to go down. As the tech worked on the phone problem, HDSCS operators dispersed to critical areas to be ready for any urgent messages during the outage. Paul Broden K6MHD went to the switchboard (PBX) area, Fred Lochner WA6FRA was stationed in the Emergency Department and Woody Woodward KJ6LE went to Intensive Care (ICU). Tom Gaccione WB2LRH roamed the hospital with the Nursing Supervisor and Susan Hafner "shadowed" the Disaster Coordinator. Cheryl Simpson KD6MWZ relayed traffic between the internal and external nets from her vehicle. WA6OPS was Net Control from her car at HBH (photo above left) and David Mofford W7KTS provided a landline link from his home station.

Repairs to the phone system were completed and tested at 10:30 AM. HDSCS operators remained on station in the facility for an additional 30 minutes to ensure that everything in the system was stable. Then they returned to the Field Day site.

Field Day on-air operations began at 11 AM and continued for 24 hours. There was a brief break in the afternoon for the presentation of a Congressional Certificate of Recognition by Dr. Fadi Essmaeel, representing Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The certificate (shown below) was in celebration of Field Day and in recognition of our 24 years of service to the county's medical facilities. This was the second congressional office to make such an award to HDSCS.

Rohrabacher certificate

*Field Day is a 24-hour national communications contest and emergency preparedness exercise involving hundreds of local Amateur Radio organizations on the fourth full weekend of every June.

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This page updated 27 November 2006