Dah-di-dah-dit dah-dah-di-dah Who.... are Those People at the Park?
June 25th, Saturday, is Field Day for amateur radio operators from coast to coast. WHAT YOU SAY?
Let me explain.... When disasters happen, and unfortunately they do happen from time to time, electricity goes down, phone lines can be disrupted and even cell phone sites are sometimes knocked out of service. It is at these times of greatest confusion and need that communications is needed the most. Police, ambulance, utilities and fire departments almost always have communications.
But, other health and welfare services would be out of luck without the backup of dedicated amateur radio operators trained in the art of emergency communications. The Northridge earthquake, the disaster in Haiti, the massive wind damage in our southeast rec3ently, the flooding in New Orleans..... all of these catastrophes had Hams working around the clock for days on end.... as unpaid volunteers.... to aid and assist the Red Cross and other health and welfare organizations and individuals to move verbal and digital traffic. SURPRISED?
Hams technical capabilities and licensing requirements have trained them to be able to set up emergency world spanning radio stations in places with no power or other services literally in minutes, establish contact with help and convey the needs of all.... Cool.... the ultimate techies....
To stay sharp, and to hone their skills, once a year, most hams participate in an exercise to set up one or more radio stations using batteries or generators in some field, campus, park or parking lot. The rules say that you have just a couple of hours, then at an appointed hour, all of these groups (hundreds and hundreds) start a feverish ritual to make as many contacts with other field day groups as they can on as many different bands and frequencies as possible. It sounds like mayhem... and to some degree, the airwaves in the amateur bands are very busy, which further tempers the skill of the ham to be able to get a prescribed message through. Logs of the contacts are kept and reviewed. The amateur's skills are proven, made better... and they had fun doing it.
So, if you see a group in a park with radios and antennas sitting under an easi-up canopy or at a picnic table, stop by and see what it's all about.
Oh.... it's always good to have met the ham on your neighborhood..... You just never know when you may need their skills in an emergency.
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