Thousands of Amateur Radio Operators will be showing off their emergency capabilities this weekend.
Over the past years, news media have offered reports of amateur radio operators providing critical communications during emergencies world-wide. During Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio – often called “Ham radio” – was often the ONLY way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property. During the May 2013 tornado outbreak and the May 2015 tornado, hams from the South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS) provided needed emergency communications in support of Norman Emergency Management. When trouble occurs and affects normal communications, ham radio people are often the first to provide critical information and support communications.
On the weekend of June 27-28, 2015, citizens will have a chance to meet and talk with members of the local amateur radio club, SCARS and see for themselves what Amateur Radio Service is about. Hams from across the USA and Canada will be holding public demonstrations and practicing emergency communications during this period, which is known as “Field Day.” More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.
In the Norman area, the South Canadian Amateur Radio Society will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at Reaves Park on June 28-29, 2014 from 1PM Saturday to 1PM Sunday. They will operate the entire 24-hour period. SCARS invites the public to come to see the capabilities, community support, and just plain fun offered by amateur radio, and we will share how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.
“We hope that people will come and see for themselves. This is not your grandfather’s radio anymore,” said Phil Stinnett, President of the local club. “The communications networks that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives in the past months when other systems failed or were overloaded.”
Field Day is the climax of the week-long “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League), the national association for Amateur Radio. Ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Their slogan, “When all else fails,” is more than just words to 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.
An emergency communications network is critical to disaster response. Local hams working with the Heart of Oklahoma American Red Cross were responsible for sending and receiving messages into the affected Gulf Coast Area. Many local ham volunteers provide emergency communications for Norman Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, FEMA and thousands of state and local agencies, all for free. You can be a part of this support network, too!
The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern Amateur Radio can do and how much fun being a ham is. They can even help you get on the air!