Del Mar CERT members participating in annual ham radio event

Ham radio
Del Mar City Councilman Dwight Worden, then-Councilwoman Sherryl Parks and ham radio expert Gene Swiech during the 2020 field day.

The event will give the public an opportunity to learn about CERT, ham radio communications and preparing for an emergency.


The Del Mar Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will set up a mobile station between the train tracks and the western edge of the Public Works storage lot on June 26 for a 24-hour field day exercise, part of an annual event that takes place throughout North America.

The event will give the public an opportunity to learn about CERT, ham radio communications and preparing for an emergency.

Charles Pinney, a team leader for the Del Mar CERT, said the exercise will “show we can communicate in an emergency through ham radio and help the fire department direct to where their assistance is needed.”

Ham radio, or amateur radio, is a popular emergency preparedness tool because it can be used when cell phone networks, internet and other typical communication channels are down. For almost 90 years, more than 40,000 ham radios throughout the continent are set up in temporary transmitting stations for the field day to demonstrate the science and skills that make them useful in an emergency, according to the National Association for Amateur Radio.

“In case of an emergency, we would probably be the first on the scene to set up an emergency operations center at the Del Mar City Hall, and then assist the fire department and city in coordinating an emergency response,” said Pinney, who used to be a fighter pilot and a pilot for American Airlines.

“[The public] can come and watch an event where we set up a mobile headquarters out near the train tracks in Del Mar and we talk to radio stations all over the country and sometimes all over the world, depending on the antennas we set up,” said Pinney, whose ham radio call sign is KA6CAP, with the last three characters matching his initials. “It’s an opportunity for the public to watch ham radio in operation and get some information about perhaps becoming CERT members.”

Del Mar CERT is also seeking new volunteers, who have to attend a 25-hour training course and are free to residents or local employees who are 18 or older, according to the team’s webpage on the Del Mar city website. Members learn some of the basics in saving lives and property during a major disaster, particularly when professional first responders have not yet arrived.

For more information about Del Mar CERT, visit

More information about the annual ham radio field day is available at visit