When hurricanes, floods and earthquake knock out cell phones and the internet, amateur radio still provides worldwide communications. Members of the Acadiana Amateur Radio Association practice these emergency operations skills June 22-23 during the annual Field Day.
Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Field Day is a 24-hour exercise in which ham radio operators set up portable stations and antennas that run on generators and other forms of emergency power. They’ll attempt to contact as many stations as possible.
Hams with the Lafayette-based AARA club begin their event at 1 p.m. Saturday at the farm of Steve and Mel Webre, 1529 Beaugh St., in Church Point. Field Day is open to the public. Visitors do not have to be licensed hams to participate.
The AARA will operate multiple stations, including radios in the club’s trailer called AMOS, Amateur Mobile Operating System.
More than 35,000 hams across the United States and Canada participate in Field Day. They can learn how to operate radio gear in abnormal conditions and less than optimal conditions.
Their radio skills have also been able to help at marathons, boat races, parades, walk-a-thons, fundraisers and other public events.
Besides practicing for emergencies, Field Day allows hams to camp out and enjoy a radio hobby that has sparked friendships across the globe. The hobby lets them stay in touch through voice, Morse Code, digital modes and more.
The AARA meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Lafayette Science Museum, 433 Jefferson St., in downtown Lafayette. License exams are held at 6 p.m.