2017-06-12 / Front Page

Local operators will ham it up June 24

By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer

Local amateur radio operators will be busy “hamming it up” Saturday, June 24, across the airwaves during a field day event.

Using only emergency power supplies, ham radio operators will start their broadcasts at 1 p.m. from outside Dobson Student Center on the Limestone College campus. The volunteer radio hams will use generators and battery powered radio equipment in efforts to make contact with amateur radio operators all over the world.

The communications exercise is done annually by Carolina Amateur Radio Emergency Services (C.A.R.E.S), the local amateur radio organization in Cherokee County.

“The field day provides a way for us to test our emergency communications in the event there is a major disaster,” C.A.R.E.S vice president Jim Fagan said. “We like to set up our field day events in different areas of the county so we can test how our radio equipment and antennas work from different locations.”

Ham radio operators are the first line of communication for groups like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). To become a recognized ham radio operator, an individual must pass a test and receive a license through the Federal Communications Commission.

The slogan “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words for ham radio operators. They can send messages in many forms without use of phone systems, Internet access, or other communications which can be disrupted during a major disaster.

C.A.R.E.S has invited Gaffney City Council, Cherokee County Council and Blacksburg Town Council members to attend the event.

C.A.R.E.S secretary Randall Phillips said he sees the field day as an opportunity to educate local residents and elected officials about the vital role amateur radio communications play in emergency situations. He cites the emergence in recent years of more sophisticated communication networks which support high-speed data transfer for amateur radio operators.

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