Radio hobbyists tune in to the annual Ham Radio Field Day
CHURCH POINT, La. (AP) — When today’s technology fails in the path of natural disaster, Acadiana ham radio operators are ready to step up.
The Acadiana Amateur Radio Association hosted its annual 24-hour ham radio field day exercise in Church Point (last) weekend.
“Our goal is to communicate with as many people around the globe as possible,” said Chris Ancelet, president of the AARA in Lafayette.
Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the event is a 24-hour exercise during which thousands of ham radio operators contact as many local stations as possible. This is to ensure that ham radios maintain constant and reliable contact with other stations in the event of a hurricane, flood, earthquake or tornado. If a cell tower is out of commission, ham radios can be used to provide information, warn others and give updates during a crisis.
“When cell phone towers fall, your phone is useless,” said Ancelet, “so our job in emergencies is to get our radios working, and it does not take much power to do that.”
According to Ancelet, he could set up a working ham radio “with less watts than a standard 100-watt light bulb,” he said.
Additionally, the event is also an invitation for anyone interested to learn about the hobby. More than 35,000 ham radios are used throughout the country.
“For hurricane Michael that hit Florida, it was the ham radio operators giving the information on the upcoming wind speed and rain fall to the national weather service,” Ancelet said.
It’s not all doom and gloom for these radio hobbyists, however. Field Day allowed for a get-together of all those who share a love of the hobby. These radio field days have also helped with boat races, marathons, parades and walk-a-thons, across the U.S. and Canada.
The AARA, which has been around for 40 years, is no stranger to real emergencies in Louisiana.
“I’ve been a member for the last three years,” said Steve Webre, host of the event in Church Point, “while some of these guys have been doing this for decades.”
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com