BELLBROOK — Members of the Bellbrook Amateur Radio Club are going to show off the importance of what they do during Field Day Saturday and Sunday June 23-24.
Last year’s hurricanes proved the worth of amateur radio communication during emergencies and anyone interested in seeing how it’s done is invited to visit with members of BARC as they participate in the national event, being held locally in Sackett-Wright Park in Bellbrook.
Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of amateur radio.
For more than 100 years, amateur radio — sometimes called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communication techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster. During Field Day more than 35,000 amateur radio operators from thousands of sites in the United States and Canada demonstrate their ability to reliably create a communication network under any condition from almost any location.
“People don’t think twice about using the cell phone system which usually provides communication to anywhere in the world,” said Ray Hitt, Field Day coordinator for BARC. “But when a natural disaster strikes, cell phone and other communication systems are often down or overloaded, restricting communication. Ham radio operates completely independent of the commercial infrastructure and can quickly establish communication from almost anywhere.”
To demonstrate this ability, BARC members will quickly establish five or more radio stations in the park with the ability to communicate worldwide, according to BARC member Fred Stone, Ohio District 3 emergency coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
“That’s what we do if needed during a communications outage,” he said.
Hams can take advantage of the earth’s atmosphere by having radios on different frequency bands, Stone said, and bounce radio waves to where they are needed.
“Hams continually work to remain a valuable asset to their communities during disasters and live up to their motto, ‘When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works,’ ” he said.
Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. And with clubs such as the Bellbrook Amateur Radio Club, it’s easy for anybody to get involved.
Field Day will take place in and around Shelter No. 1 2-9 p.m. June 23 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 24. Sackett-Wright Park is at 3371 State Route 725, just east of Bellbrook.
For more information about Field Day, contact Hitt at [email protected] or 937-848-4547.