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Home News-Telegram News Local ham radio operators gear up for big emergency communications skills test this weekend

Local ham radio operators gear up for big emergency communications skills test this weekend

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Amateur radio operators from Hopkins and Rains counties will work around the clock his weekend testing their communications skills under primitive conditions.

It’s all part of the American Radio Relay League’s Annual Field Day, which locally begins with set-up at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport. The Civil Air Patrol Building will be the headquarters for the 24-hour ham radio event, which goes live on air at 1 p.m. Saturday.

In addition to licensed amateur radio operators, unlicensed visitors are also welcome to check out the event, which is designed for participants to contact as many other ham operators throughout the United States and Canada as possible by 1 p.m. Sunday. The unlicensed visitors who are interested may even be enlisted to participate.

Essentially, hams will set up field radio communications stations, get on the air and contact hundreds of other amateur radio communications stations.

What’s the point? Well, in addition to giving hams a chance to go outdoors and have fun, it’s also a chance to test and improve amateur radio operators' emergency communications skills. Hopkins and Rains amateur radio clubs will be using a generator to simulate operation in a remote area and in emergency conditions, and will set up antennas in the field. The challenge is to put together a self-sufficient, working radio station quickly and begin making contacts with other radio operators.

The field day is competitive as well as a “trial run” for emergency communications skills used during disaster situations such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, terrorist attacks and other major disaster situations whether they be on the local, regional or national level.

Members of formal emergency communications organizations such the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Services regularly participate in ARRL Field Day as they are the ones called upon when things go bad. Generally, more than 35,000 ham operators participate in Field Day every year.

For more information about Hopkins Amateur Radio Club and Rains Amateur Radio Association’s Field Day activities, contact Ed Olague at 903-885-7530 or visit www.k5sst.org




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