Field Day set for June 22-23
Members of the Matagorda County Amateur Radio Club will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 22-23 from noon on June 22 to noon on June 23 near the East Pavilion in LeTulle Park just west of Bay City.
Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio.
This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
Thanks to the Bay City Parks and Recreation Department, Bay City Council, and the Bay City Police Department for their support.
For more than 100 years, Amateur Radio — sometimes called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. For example, the Matagorda County Amateur Radio Club was active during Hurricane Harvey in providing status updates and sharing information about conditions across Matagorda, Wharton, Brazoria and southwest Fort Bend counties.
More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2018.
“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the Internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” said Dave Isgur of the American Radio Relay League, the national association for Amateur Radio. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of Amateur Radio during a communications outage.”
Isgur said ham radios can be used to transmit signals all over the world.
“Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” Isgur added. “Hams do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves. In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”
The Matagorda County group is an integral part of the County Emergency Plan.
Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as five and as old as 100.
And with clubs such as the Matagorda County Amateur Radio Club, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in our area. There are about 60 licensed Amateur Radio operators in the Matagorda and surrounding counties.
For more information about Field Day or amateur radio, contact William Douglas at 979 429 2562, or stop by the East Pavilion in LeTulle Park on June 22nd and 23rd for a visit. Information is also available at: http://www.qrz.com/db/W5WTM or www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio