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Kingsport club to participate in Amateur Radio Field Day

Staff Report • Jun 20, 2018 at 9:30 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Amateur Radio Club is one of many clubs slated to take part in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise this weekend.

The Kingsport group will be participating from Shelter 1 at Warriors Path State Park on Saturday and Sunday. The event is free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.

What is amateur radio?

For more than 100 years, amateur radio — sometimes called “ham” radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communication techniques, as well as to provide a free public service to their communities during disasters, all without needing cell phone or Internet service.

“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a smartphone or get on a computer, 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 is 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.”

How does amateur radio work?

Ham radio operators can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world. They do this by using a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere as a “mirror” for radio waves.

In today’s do-it-yourself environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous scientific disciplines.

What is Amateur Radio Field Day?

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 involved in amateur radio.

Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to perform reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network.

More than 35,000 amateur operators from thousands of locations participated in Field Day last year, according to a press release.

How can you become an amateur radio operator?

Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed ham radio operators in the U.S., from children as young as 5 and adults as old as 100.

And with clubs such as the Kingsport Amateur Radio Club, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in the Tri-Cities area.

For more information about Field Day, contact KARC President Larry Dale via email at [email protected] or visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.

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