Bahai News -- Inland Valley Daily Bulletin - Pedley couple keeps antenna out Article Last Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 2:55:42 AM PST

Pedley couple keeps antenna out

Walt Weis / Staff Photographer
Gwyn Magaditsch checks in with another RACES operator from her ham radio station in her Pedley home.

amateur radio operators ready for anything

Pedley residents Joe Magaditsch and his wife Gwyn enjoy doing many things together, including participating as volunteers.

The pair donate their time as licensed operators who can pass information during a time of emergency between various agencies and act as Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services program operators.

In a major emergency, factors such as the number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911.

RACES operators are trained to help to provide communication services for police, fire, sheriffs and for the county in the case of a major disaster.

As a former coordinator of the program, Joe Magaditsch is still extremely active with the RACES program.

Magaditsch holds an advanced class license with call sign KO6XB. He and his wife both became ham radio operators in 1994.

He was also a member of the Corona Norco Amateur Radio Club. Gwyn holds a general class license with call sign KE6JOF, and is active in the Jurupa RACES District.

"There are two things that help keep my husband and I close," Gwyn Magaditsch said. "Our religion, which is the Baha'i faith, and our involvement in RACES. It's been a wonderful bonding experience for us over the years."

She said she and her husband enjoy the fact that in the event of a major disaster or state of emergency, they are prepared to help police, fire and other emergency personnel access information and communicate.

"The problem is that the police and fire are not on the same communication radio frequency band and so, in the event of an emergency, we are available to help them communicate," she said.

There are 18 active members in the Jurupa RACES group and about as many non-active members.

Don Gregory is the RACES emergency coordinator for the Jurupa District and said that licenses issued by the Federal Communication Commission.

"I've been involved in amateur radio since 1954 and I enjoy both building equipment and operating it," said Gregory. "The thing about it is that you can stay in contact with friends regardless of where they are in the world."

In the event of an emergency, RACES operators would go to assigned locations and help the different agencies with their communication needs, said Gregory.

"In a severe disaster, RACES operators are there to help in a time of need," said Gregory. "RACES operators in such a situation would be helpful in terms of providing communication for transportation issues, emergency needs, and dealing with the various agencies who need to be in constant communication."

He also said that there is a training program for those interested in learning about becoming a RACES operator. Training and learning to become a ham radio operator can be done at any time and the group is more than happy to help others learn about the art of amateur radio, Gregory said.

Both he and Magaditsch said that many of the radio operators use base communications as well as a handheld radio that allows the user to be mobile.

Magaditsch added that many amateur radio operators also have mobile radios in their cars as well so they can be in touch anywhere, anytime, Magaditsch said.

"The bigger the antenna the better the range," said Magaditsch, "the higher the antenna the more range the radio has."

To find out more about the RACES program or to find out about how to get licensed as a ham radio operator, call (909) 681-3474 or (909) 685-7441.

©Copyright 2003, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (CA, USA)

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