Contributed by a patriot in California’s earthquake-struck Bay Area. As most of you know, the 6.1 Magnitude quake occurred just after the 0800hrs (ZULU) Sunday morning T-Rex/AmRRON radio nets.
Early Sunday Morning I was startled awake, my eyes wide open! I absolutely believed my house was coming apart. I was experiencing the largest earthquake I have ever been through. Was this the big one?? I leaped out of bed and on to the moving floor. Making my way down the hall I passed a window facing south. I noticed in the sky, there were flashes of light. They looked to be either the glow of lightning… or was it explosions? I wasn’t sure. I had no time to think about it. BUT was this more than an earthquake? Was my house shaking from the compressive force of an explosion? Was this an attack? Was this “it”? No time to contemplate, I had to go NOW.
As I reached the middle of the stairs, I hesitated, realizing with all the preparation I had made, I was standing there without my go-bag, weapon, shoes or even pants. Yes, I always keep all those things ready and waiting in a corner of an upstairs room. All that would have been needed is some last minute additions and decisions, like whether I needed shoes or not (which I did). But I didn’t have a minute. I needed to get out NOW. Things were starting to fall off shelves. If only I had kept my go-bag right in the way of my exit path; I could have just scooped everything up on the way out; no time to consider that now. I made a few more steps then as suddenly as it started… it stopped.
I stood in the middle of the stairway. It was over. I glanced out the window. A couple more flashes in the sky and they too stopped. Was that lightning? There had been no thunder. What was that? I slowly walked up the now still stairs. I was annoyed with myself. In my haste to escape an imminently disintegrating house, I left my go-bag and all my quick exit preparations. You would think I would have practiced an earthquake emergency; this is California after all. But I had not. Still annoyed, I glanced over at the corner where I keep my go-bag… it was gone. It was not there!!
I stared for a minute. Now that the pressure was off, I realized that I had moved my go-bag into a closet in preparation for a visit from family, and I had not returned it to its “normal” place. Even if I had gone to the opposite end of the room to collect this gear it would not have been there. In “the heat of battle” I doubt I would have had the time or presence of mind to remember and track down where I had put it.
I stood there pondering all that had just happened. Soon my concentration was broken with the sound of texts and phone calls that were starting to roll in. After an hour of assuring everybody I was OK and sharing of this earthquakes “war stories” I returned to sleep.
Next morning, I went over to start up my radio gear, picking up a few items that had fallen along the way. I mused as I waited for the AmRRON traffic to start, this time I have a story to tell. In the past had never actually transmitted to AmRRON members, I had only listened. Once the predetermined time arrived, I was easily receiving digital communications from all over Idaho and the West Coast. But, as you said, there was no mention of the quake, let alone the flashes of light. So I excitedly made several attempts to make contact. But no station could copy. Even though my equipment was on and working, I could not make the trip. My system just did not have the efficiency it needed; exposing yet another flaw in my system.
So in the end many lessons were learned this weekend as well as notes made for further preparation.
Thank you for promoting and putting this exercise together and for all that you do. The experience was invaluable.
But how ever did you arrange that earthquake?
NOTES FROM JJS: The earthquake portion was the most difficult to pull off, which is why I was distracted from other tasks, like announcing in advance that the T-Rex Quiz would only be up for a 5-hour window, as I had intended. The lessons learned here are plenty and I’m grateful to the contributing patriot for sharing his humbling experiences. Now we know why we didn’t hear from any AmRRON operators from the affected area. Practice and train. Practice and train. Practice and train. There are hundreds of great folks who simply monitor and listen, and who have transmitting capabilities. We encourage you all to key the mike and check in to the regularly-scheduled nets AmRRON nets from time to time, for the obvious reasons — so that you know it will work when it really matters. God bless all of you, stay safe, and get your comms up!