Have you ever wondered how you could call for help if cell service and the internet were down? How did people make emergency calls without power before cell phones were invented?
One way people were able to call for help was using amateur radios on special frequencies set aside for that purpose. Amateur radio – sometimes called ham radio – has been around for over 100 years, yet it is still vital in today’s electronic do-it-yourself environment. Operators learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and other scientific disciplines while learning to use radios and set up antennas.
This year's American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day is Saturday, June 25. It is a nationwide event that encourages amateur radio operators to take their radios, antennas and batteries to public places and set up temporary stations to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio.
Field Day is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend; no license is needed to join in on the fun. The San Benito County Amateur Radio Association, along with the Garlic Valley Amateur Radio Club and the Morgan Hill Amateur Radio Society, will be setting up at the TEEC buliding at Christmas Hill Park, 7050 Miller Ave, Gilroy, and will be operating from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stations will be set up that will enable people to talk to faraway places like Illinois, and Canada (examples of contacts made last year). Radios that can make international and space (International Space Station, amateur radio satellites) contacts will be set up as well.
Anyone may become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 or as old as 100 years old. With clubs in San Benito County and in southern Santa Clara County, it’s easy to get involved. For information on becoming an amateur radio operator, go to sbcara.org/testing-training/. We would enjoy you attending Field Day or one of our other events.
Check out our website for upcoming events online at sbcara.org.