Since 1933, ham radio operators throughout North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of amateur radio. The event is open to the public.
For more than 100 years, amateur radio — also called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, and provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster or emergency, all without needing a cellphone or the internet.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated last year in Field Day 2018 activities.
“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” said David Isgur, communications manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cellphone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage.
“In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous other scientific disciplines,” Isgur said. “In addition, amateur radio is a huge asset to any community during disasters or emergencies if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”
Anyone may become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 9 and as old as 100. And with groups such as the Auburn Area Emergency Communications Team, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in Auburn.
For more information about Field Day or amateur radio, contact the City of Auburn Emergency Management Office at 253-876-1925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .