NEWINGTON, Conn., June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amateur Radio activities are growing and thousands of radio operators, often called "hams," will be showing off their capabilities June 26-27. Erecting radio stations at community parks, campgrounds, schools and emergency centers around the country, they will hold a "Field Day" showing their emergency communications capabilities while having fun talking and texting to friends with their radios.
Far from fading in the age of cell phones and Internet, Amateur Radio has been growing in the US and 2009 saw over 30,000 new people became "hams." Figures from the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio, show consistent growth for the past five years. The technical skills of hams also improved as almost 50% of American Amateur Radio operators now go beyond the entry level FCC licensing requirements and pass the more difficult testing to earn higher class federal licenses. There are now more than 682,000 Amateur Radio operators in the US, and 2.5 million around the world.
In past months, many reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications in emergencies have been in the news. From Haiti to California, during floods, fires, earthquakes, tornados and other crises, Amateur Radio volunteers are providing emergency communications for many rescue and recovery groups. Amateur Radio operators are often the first to report critical information to responders in the first hours of crisis situations. FEMA, DHS, the National Weather Service, and emergency management offices include Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) operators in their communications plans. On June 26-27, the public will be able to meet and talk with the hams and see for themselves what Amateur Radio is all about. Using everything from Morse code to modern digital and satellite systems, voice communications and even Web-radio hybrid capabilities, they prove "It's not just your Grandfather's radio anymore."
The amateur operators will construct temporary, emergency style radio stations around the country for the weekend and send messages in many forms -- without the use any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. Over 35,000 Amateur Radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.
To learn what modern Amateur Radio systems can do, go to www.ARRL.org/fieldday. There you can find information about the locations the Amateur Radio operators will set up in your home area. They can even help you get on the air!
SOURCE American Radio Relay League