Foundations of Amateur Radio -- #107

Fun and games – but braced for catastrophe – with HAM radio operators in Pointe-Claire

Winona Ham Radio enthusiasts gathered on Saturday for the annual Field Day at Wincrest Park, and spent a day experimenting with electronics in a communication trailer.

"We demonstrate to the public the ability of ham radio operators to provide communications literally on a shoe-string budget and a make shift operation", Ed Berkowitz, club member said.

Howard Thompson, with the Germantown Fire Department explained. "We've seen it go down on several occasions, and the radio operators can perform their duties without any of the modern conveniences around".

Ham radio, it's a tool the Rockford Amateur Radio Association says not a lot of people know about.

"Ham radio operators are some of the only ones that can get the message in and out if a disaster occurs".

Some operators said they have reached listeners as far as Canada and even South America. For Field day that information consists of the operators the state and section within that state.

There are about 25 members in the Lawrence County club. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Because ham radios are not dependent on the Internet, cell towers or other infrastructure, they work when nothing else is available. Most members of the club do amateur radio communication as a hobby.

Amateur Radio is growing in the US. Through the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services too, all for free.

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