Members of the West Desert Amateur Radio Club will participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise June 23-24.
WDARC will have its emergency communications trailer in the front parking lot at the Tooele County Courthouse to participate in the two-day exercise that showcases the abilities of amateur radio operators to the public.
The Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network, according to WDARC president Rob Andrews.
“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,” Andrews said. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate.”
Andrews said 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,” he said.
In anticipation of Field Day, Tooele Mayor Debbie Winn proclaimed June 18-24 as Amateur Radio Week in Tooele City. There are more than 370 licensed amateur radio operators in Tooele County and about 170 live in Tooele City.
Since 1933, amateur radio operators, sometime called ham radio operators, have established temporary amateur radio stations in public locations across North America during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio, Andrews said. The event is open to the public and all are encouraged to stop by the trailer and visit with the club members.
“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,” Andrews said. “In today’s electronic, do-it-yourself environment, amateur 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 if the standard communications infrastructure goes down.”
Tooele County Emergency Management sponsors WDARC. The club’s mission is to support Tooele city and county government entities and residents during an emergency situation and to promote the use and utility of the Amateur Radio Service. Anyone can become a licensed Amateur Radio Operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100.
For more information about Field Day or Amateur Radio, contact Roland Smith at 435-849-1946, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit westdesertarc.org.