Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association

In 1989 the local Amateur Radio club S.I.E.R.A. (Sierra Intermountain Emergency Radio Association) started providing communications for the Pony Express Reride across the state of Nevada. SIERA has been providing this service every year since.

The club usually has a member who volunteers to be project manager for the radio communications. This person recruits other radio operators and assigns a communication team chief to each Pony Express Reride captain. This year more than 52 Amateur Radio operators, most members of SIERA, volunteered to help. For each sector there is established a local VHF net for communications within the sector and to neighboring sectors. Whenever possible, the radio operators follow the rider. When that is not possible, they wait at designated locations, and then send messages to the operator at the next accessible location.

Updates are directed from each sector on a regular basis to a series of operators in the Carson Valley, forming a continuous monitoring station during the event. When the sector is near the Carson Valley, the communications to the monitoring station are by VHF. If the sector is in the mid to eastern locations of Nevada, then communications are by HF. Each monitor station has one or more four hour shifts.

The monitoring stations each have information to access the hot line to update the message. This is done by telephone. In some cases, the monitoring station may have to forward the update by radio to someone who can reprogram the hot line by telephone.

The hot line is at our house and uses the same telephone line we dedicate to the Internet. During the reride we minimize our use of this line for personal use. While the monitoring stations have the information to send to you, I usually do this from information on the hot line and also because George is one of the monitoring stations and usually monitors the radio all his waking hours during the reride.

Dorothy Uebele, N7MXA
June 1999

Return to List