Members of the Walker County Amateur Radio Group will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day Exercise, June 22 on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.
Ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio since 1933. This event, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., is free and open to the public.
“The public will be able to speak on the radio to stations located around the country or around the world,” group president Dave Godfrey said about the event. “Also featured will be operating demonstrations on local, regional and worldwide voice and data communications, use of Arduino/Raspberry Pi small computers, solar power for emergencies and short range data communications.”
Amateur Radio — also called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques for over 100 years. It has also allowed them to offer a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates amateur radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network.
“Most people think amateur radio is a dying hobby,” Godfrey added with over 800,000 ham operators in the U.S. and over 3 million worldwide, according to the Amateur Radio Relay League. “Since hams communicate to other hams all over the world, they are considered to be ambassadors of their country, and always act accordingly when on the air.”
Hams have provided phone patch service to missionaries in remote areas, as well as emergency communications desperately needed during the hurricanes that have hit our shores. Depending on the band conditions, hams use several modes of transmission from simple Morse code to sideband voice to digital voice and data communications.
“When all else fails, there is still Ham Radio,” Godfrey added. “This is especially true when storms come through an area and devastate the infrastructure leaving no phone communications. This is where being prepared with the right equipment and operator skills really comes in to use to assist the community.”
The Walker County Ameature Radio Group runs and maintains two repeaters in the area, which allow for wide coverage communications to any hams in the area. This equipment is provided by donations from members. These repeaters provide emergency communications to service Walker and surrounding counties.
Amateur radio operators (hams) are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Walker County Amateur Radio Group meets monthly, where they can provide FCC testing.
For more information about Field Day, contact Godfrey at (713) 501-5980.