By Marie Lasater
Ham radio operators from the Ozark Mountain Amateur Radio Club in Texas County, Mo., will be participating in a national amateur radio exercise from 1 p.m. on Saturday until sundown in the parking lot at the Texas County Health Department at 950 US Hwy 63, Houston. The event is ARRL Field Day (www.arrl.org/FieldDay), an annual amateur radio activity organized since 1933 by ARRL, the national association for amateur radio in the United States.
Hams from across North America ordinarily participate in Field Day by establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations to demonstrate their skill and service. Their use of radio signals, which reach beyond borders, bring people together while providing essential communication in the service of communities. Field Day highlights ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions, from almost any location, and create an independent, wireless communications network.
Some hams from Texas County will also use the radio stations set up in their homes or taken to their backyards and other locations to operate individually or with their families. Many hams have portable radio communication capability that includes alternative energy sources such as generators, solar panels and batteries to power their equipment.
This year’s event is also noteworthy given that a particularly active hurricane season is predicted. “Hams have a long history of serving our communities when storms or other disasters damage critical communication infrastructure, including cell towers,” said Willy Adey, President of the Ozark Mountain Amateur Radio Club (call sign N0TPE). “Ham radio functions completely independently of the internet and phone systems and a station can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. Hams can quickly raise a wire antenna in a tree or on a mast, connect it to a radio and power source, and communicate effectively with others,” Adey added.
During Field Day 2020, more than 18,000 hams participated from thousands of locations across North America. According to ARRL, there are more than 750,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S., and an estimated three million worldwide.
Among the tenets of the Amateur Radio Service is developing and practicing skills in radio technology and radio communications, and even contributing to international goodwill. Hams range in age from as young as nine to older than 100. A self-study license guide is available from ARRL: The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual (www.arrl.org/shoo/Ham-Radio-License-Manual) and for Kindle (https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B07DFSW94G). For more information about ARRL Field Day and ham radio, contact Willy Adey at 417-260-4626 and visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.