MASSEY — When natural disasters, wicked weather or the accidental cutting of fiber optic cables leave people without the means to communicate with one another, the one consistent service that does not fail is amateur radio.
These radio operators, often called “hams,” provide backup communications for agencies that include the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Kent County’s “hams” will demonstrate their emergency capabilities at the annual Field Day on Saturday and Sunday, June 22, and June 23, at the Massey Aerodrome, 33541 Maryland Line Road, Massey.
Members of the Kent Amateur Radio Society will be demonstrating amateur radio and their support for Kent’s Office of Emergency Management. The public is invited to stop by the air museum, to see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to obtain a Federal Communications Commission license.
Setup will begin early in the morning Saturday, June 22. The official on-air operation time is the 24-hour period between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23; this is the recommended time for visitors to see amateur radio in action.
For more information, email Bobby Kelley Jr. at email@example.com.
The Queen Anne’s Amateur Radio Club also will be participating in the National Field Day for Amateur Radio Operators.
Throughout the country, ham radio operators will be setting up radio stations in unusual locations and making contact with others as a display of their emergency communications capabilities using only emergency power supplies, a news release states.
QAARC will be conducting operations at White Marsh Park located at the intersection of state Route 213 and White Marsh Road (old Bloomfield Farm). The event will be open to the public from 2 p.m. to sundown Saturday and sunrise to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Field Day is the culmination of the weeklong Amateur Radio Week, sponsored by the Amateur Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio.
Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country.
Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works,” is more than just words as the amateur radio operators will prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, the internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.
More than 35,000 amateur radio operators nationwide participated in last year’s event.
“Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets and smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage,” David Isgur, communications manager of the American Radio Relay League, said in a news release.
“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,” he said.
To learn more about amateur radio, go to arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.
There are more than 725,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100, according to a news release from the Kent organization.