Amateur radio operators gather for preparedness drill

This annual field day, held as usual on the fourth weekend in June, is a contest, with bragging rights, but it's also an attempt to raise awareness of the value of HAM radio operators in case of disaster that takes out not only electricity but also cell signals.

Their slogan, "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works" is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.

Howard Thompson, with the Germantown Fire Department explained.

"The goal of it is kind of a public relations event to introduce ham radio to the population at large, give people a change to see what it's all about and also to emphasize the emergency preparedness aspect of it", said Ray Rocker, president of the association.


"Ham radio operators are some of the only ones that can get the message in and out if a disaster occurs".

"During Hurricane Katrina, there was no power available for many, many days and through using generators and ham radio that was the only communication means they had in Hurricane Katrina". "We're only missing a few section in Canada and they're not the heavily populated ones", said Hawk. Members of the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club, which covers Aiken County, are participating in the exercise and taking shifts during the weekend.

It's that reason, that events like field day are important, so operators can hone their skills for those times when they need them most.

There was a tent that offered novices a "chance to go on the air" with assistance by a ham, who will help them connect with someone they don't know out in the ether, and perhaps get them interested in the hobby, which can be done with an investment of only several hundred dollars. See what modern Amateur Radio can do.


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