Tens of thousands of amateur radio operators across the U.S. will be firing up portable radio stations in various locations the weekend of June 28-29. Locally, the Lewes Amateur Radio Society and the Sussex Amateur Radio Association will be teaming up and holding joint operations at the U.S. Life Saving Station on Pilottown Road, Lewes on those dates. These radio operators also typically aid in emergency communications support during natural disasters and major emergencies.
Operations will begin at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 28, and end at 2 p.m., Sunday, June 29.
Amateur radio operators, called “hams,” are often among the first to provide rescuers with critical information, because they can send messages from isolated and remote locations without phones or internet access. During the event, the general public can meet these radio operators and, in some cases, get a chance to get on the air under the supervision of a ham. Over 35,000 operators will operate from parks, malls, schools and yards around the country. They’ll send and receive messages with other operators in the U.S. and around the world. Using everything from digital and satellite communications to Morse code, Field Day is the climax of Amateur Radio Week sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio.
Amateur radio operators have provided communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events worldwide. "The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communications,” said Allen Pitts of the ARRL. “From the tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, ham radio provided reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events. Because ham radios are not dependent on complex systems, they work when nothing else is available. We need nothing between us but air.”
The slogan, Ham Radio Works, is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. They invite the public to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.
There are now over 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the United States, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, ARES, and RACES, Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Service, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services too, all for free.
The general public is cordially invited to attend and witness these unique operations. For more information on amateur radio, go to www.arrl.org.