"This is Victor Echo Seven Papa Charlie Echo."
No, this isn't the sound of astronauts trying to make contact from space, but a call sign used by operators to communicate through radio.
Amateur radio operators all over the Tri-Cities are gearing up for a day-long, worldwide amateur radio competition this weekend.
The annual Field Day competition organized by Amateur Radio Emergency Services challenges amateur radio operators or "hams" to test their emergency communications capabilities. Each team will set up a radio station using makeshift antennas and a power source off the commercial power grid to make contact with the Get on the Air station in Connecticut.
They must also be prepared to be totally self-sufficient - including using alternate power sources, such as solar power, to run the equipment - in an attempt to simulate conditions that could be encountered during an emergency or disaster.
PoCo's Emergency Preparedness Communications Team (EPCom) and the Coquitlam Amateur Radio Club are just some of the local communication teams polishing their portable radio stations for the 24-hour challenge.
"It's a way for the public to see what we're prepared to do for the city and its residents," said Chris Carr with EPCom.
EPCom will be setting up three amateur radio stations and will attempt to contact the station through battery power. During recent largescale disasters in Haiti and Japan when telephone lines or power poles were damaged and remaining cellular services become overloaded, radio operation was the easiest way to communicate.
According to Carr, Port Coquitlam is fully prepared in the event of an emergency.
There are two radio stations, one at Fire Hall No. 1 that is outfitted with commercial and amateur radio gear and a duplicate setting at City Hall. However, if both stations fail, they also have grab-andgo kits.
"[In an emergency] we would set up in a park with a tent and our duplicate radio gear. No matter what happens, we have the capability to function," said Carr.
Between June 23 and 24, more than 35,000 hams are expected to operate from 144 parks, beaches, mountaintops, and fields from around the country.
EPCom will be setting up today (Friday) at 5 p.m. until noon on Sunday, while the Coquitlam Amateur Radio Club will showcase their skills at Blue Mountain Park from Saturday at 11 a.m. until Sunday at 11 a.m.
There are 11,000 amateur radio operators in B.C.