Laguna's team will operate several solar-powered radio stations, equipped with a variety of communications formats, including digital, as well as the portable radio system used in Orange County, national elections and emergencies such as the 2005 Bluebird Canyon landslide.
"Visitors will be able to talk to amateur radio operators all over the world or send free radiograms anywhere in the United States or to service personnel overseas," Kountz said. "We are partial to having children come and learn about alternatives to cell phones."
Kountz said if eight members of the Laguna team each sign up for three-hour shifts, the 24-hour event will be well staffed.
Amateur radio operators are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. They are familiarly called HAMS.
"If you Google HAMS, you will find an entire encyclopedia of explanations for the name, but none that makes any sense to me," Kountz said.
This will be the ninth year that local HAMS will participate in the communications drill.
"Laguna Beach's HAM operators look forward to meeting you and helping you get on the air," Kountz said.
HAMS are assigned call signs — an identifying number and letters. When HAMS die, their call signs become "silent keys," Kountz said. "SK signals the end of a transmission."
Silent keys are made available upon request to relatives who are HAMS or go back in the pot and are re-assigned by the luck of the draw.
The drill this weekend will be dedicated to silent keys Art Casebeer and Betty Gallagher, both dedicated local HAMS, who recently died.
Regular call signs are free, but there are vanity call signs for a fee, if the request is available.
Kountz never was interested enough in the vanity call signs to even find out the cost.
He has two assigned call signs, one for the United States and one for Afghanistan, where he has traveled since 1962.