Special to the Review
The Athens Review
CQ ... CQ ... CQ ... This is what you will hear this coming Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and 23, when the Athens Amateur Radio Club once again participates in the annual Amateur Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) National Field Day event.
This event is held on the fourth full weekend in the month of June to demonstrate the abilities that amateur radio operators have to communicate during an emergency situation.
HAM radio operators, as they are called, have the capabilities to provide radio communications throughout the U.S. and around the globe, even if the power goes off and the telephone lines go dead. They use alternate power sources to continue communicating and some have the ability to utilize satellites as a means of getting the message out “when all else fails.”
Many volunteer their time as part of an A.R.E.S. (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) team providing food, water and even shelter during disaster events such as hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather related incidents.
Some are involved with groups such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Men and many more offering support services. Not only are they able to communicate during an emergency situation, but many volunteer their services for local events such as triathlons, bike rides, trail rides and other civic events.
In this day of technological advances, HAM radio is still on the forefront of developing technologies. The radios are not like the radios of years gone by. They are of highly-advanced designs and fit in well with the technologies of today.
HAM radio is here to stay. Over the last 12 years the number of licensed radio operators has increased and there are more than 715,000 licensed operators in the U.S. according to the Federal Communication Commission, which issues the licenses.
The Athens Amateur Radio Club has a group of Volunteer Examiners who are ready to provide license-testing opportunities for those who wish to obtain or upgrade their license. Go to www.Athensarc.org for contact and membership information. Amateur Radio is a hobby that is still growing and will be here for years to come.
The Athens Amateur Radio Club will be at the Athens Emergency Operations Center or Athens Training Center, as it is sometimes called, which is the next building south of the Athens Fire Department on South Prairieville Street this Saturday and Sunday.
The public is invited to come see the operation from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, and meet the operators of this club.
Come see the setup they are using and you might be given an opportunity to get on the air with them.