Local Ham radio operators to participate in national exercise

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2022

Special to the Southwest Daily News

Ham radio operators from the Southwest Louisiana Amateur Repeater Club will participate in a national amateur radio exercise today and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinederosa Park, Westlake.

The event is ARRL Field Day (www.arrl.org/FieldDay), a national annual event since 1933.

It 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 SWLA will also use the radio stations set up in their living rooms or backyards and other locations to operate individually or with their families.

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 Joshua Johnson, KC5JMJ Club President. “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.”

During Field Day 2021, more than 26,000 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 3 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 9 to older than 100.