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Daniel R. Simpson
Amateur radio operators demonstrate science, skill, and service
Macon, GA – Members of the Macon Amateur Radio Club and the Bibb County Amateur Radio Emergency Service will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise starting at 2 PM on June 23rd at the Macon-Bibb Emergency Operations Center. Since 1933, 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. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
For over 100 years, Amateur Radio — sometimes called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone 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.
“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 Sean Kutzko of 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 cell phone 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.”
“Beyond preparing for a wide spread communications emergency, Field Day has grown into a major social event,” says Daniel R. Simpson, Public Information Officer and member of the Macon club. “It is a chance to all get together, learn from each other, and enjoy time together, all while being an open house for the hobby.” He continues, “Amateur radio has a tremendous relationship with the Macon-Bibb EMA. We work closely during times of crisis, like last year’s hurricanes, and train for other events which may take place.”
Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. And with clubs such as Macon Amateur Radio Club, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in the central Georgia community.
For more information about Field Day, visit w4bkm.org/fieldday or arrl.org/field-day.