Photo Credit: Jamie Marvadakis
University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Cynthia Furse combined her love of horse riding and engineering to write a cover story for IEEE Antennas & Propagation Magazine about the challenges of maintaining wireless communications during the annual Pony Express reenactment that runs from California to Missouri. The story was published in the December issue.

Each year, the National Pony Express Association (NPEA) holds the Pony Express Re-Ride, a reenactment of the famous mail route that covers much of the same 2,000-mile path those tough postal riders took when the express was operating from 1860 to 1861.

Because the reenactment covers the same remote areas, the event uses volunteer ham radio operators and provides riders with GPS transponders for safety and security. Furse, who also participated in the event, details the communications work necessary to keep the riders in constant contact in case of emergencies, especially where cell phone coverage was unavailable.

“Perhaps it is poetic, in an engineering sort of way,” she writes in the story. “The Pony Express was the high-speed communication link of its time. It was soon outpaced by the transcontinental telegraph, only to ride again a century and a half later, supported by ham radio.”

Furse authored the article along with Charles Killian of Dell EMC and radio enthusiasts Gerald Hasty and Bob Nelson. Click here to read the story (registration required).

IEEE Antennas & Propagation Magazine is a peer-reviewed journal that covers “all areas relating to antenna theory, design, and practice: propagation, including theory, effects, and system; analytical and computational electromagnetics, scattering diffraction, and radar cross-sections.”