For over 100 years, Amateur Radio – sometimes called ham radio- has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Over 35,000 people from thousands of locations of locations participated in Field Day in 2016.
“With today’s technology it is easy for us to use a computer or smartphone, connect to the internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the device function or connect to each other,” said Jenny Demaris, County Emergency Manager. “However, if local communication systems fail, have an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of Amateur Radio during a communication outage.”
“Our local Amateur Radio Operators practice year round to be ready when we need them; Annual Field Day is a great way to see them in action. Our upcoming local Eclipse event is another way they are preparing to help our communities. If our local communities experience a disruption of cellular service they will be standing by to assist local government where needed to bridge the gap between agencies,” Demaris added.
“Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” Daron Wilson, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Auxiliary Communication Services Chief added. “Amateur Radio Operators (HAMS) do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves. In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”
Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. And with clubs such as the Lincoln County Amateur Radio Club, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in Lincoln County. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office also sponsors the Auxiliary Communications Service volunteer group of amateur radio operators specifically to support local government emergency response — contact Jenny Demaris for more information or to volunteer.
For more information:
* Field Day – visit Lincoln County Amateur Radio Club’s web site at www.n7oy.org/ or visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.