Ham Radio operators use ‘field day’ to educate the public, polish their skills

Updated: Jun. 23, 2019 at 5:41 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - According to the American Radio Relay League, Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the U.S. and Canada.

The point of the radio field day is to make contact with as many other radio operators in the span of 24 hours.

“So far this weekend, we’ve contacted people in all 50 states, most of the Canadian provinces, a few foreign countries as well,” Ray Rocker, an amateur radio operator from Gulfport said.

The field days also help them to hone their skills to prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes and other serious events.

"Ham radio operators will respond to the scene and provide communications using our radio gear," Rocker said

Many people may not know that ham radio operators have a duty to act when disaster strikes. When commercial transmission goes out or is unavailable, amateur radio operators are able to get messages out to the public and to emergency officials since they are not on commercial networks.

“We deploy to places like hospitals, EOCs, places like that and even to TV stations,” Rocker said.

It may sound like a foreign language, but it's simple. It might just require some knowledge of Morse code. One of the ways operators make contact is by sending signals via Morse code.

In this digital age, the radio operators can also communicate with each other digitally using FT8 equipment.

"It's computers talking to computers so it's a little bit not so personal," Rocker said.

However, some still like to use the traditional way of communicating with other ham radioers.

The public is invited to check out the ham radio club if they want to know more about how it works or if they want to get into ham radio themselves.

It's a hobby with an educational component.

Click here to find out other things that ham radios can be used for.

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