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Amateur radio ‘Field Day’ demonstrates science, skill and service

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Radio operators John Huffman and Tom Marshall.

LIVERMORE – Members of the Bass Hill Repeater Group and Franklin County Amateur Radio Emergency Services participated in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 27-28 in a field at Round Pond in Livermore.

A half-dozen participants helped set up antennas and radios, enjoyed good food and contacted other groups across the country for 24 hours. The challenge was to do this with masks and social isolation!

Participants this year include Paul Gooch, Bill and Michelle Mann, Tom Marshall, John Huffman and Randy Gauvin.

Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in various locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio.

For over 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. Over 35,000 people from thousands of locations participate annually.

“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 Randy Gauvin, member of the Bass Hill Repeater Group and Franklin County Amateur Radio Emergency Services. “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.”

“It’s easier than ever to become an operator. Training can be done on-line, you do not need to learn Morse Code anymore, and one can buy a radio for as little as $25.”

Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100.

For more information about amateur radio, contact Tim Hardy, director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency at 778-5892, or visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.

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