WHO: Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club
WHAT: Field Day – Nationwide Emergency Communications Exercise Using Amateur Radio
WHEN: 1pm Saturday, June 23rd through 1pm Sunday, June 24, 2012
WHERE: Fort Bend County Fire Training Field, 260 Clay Road, Richmond, Texas 77469
CONTACT: Matt Tatro, 281-905-1008, firstname.lastname@example.org for Field Day & club information & activities
Richmond, Texas, June 21, 2012 – Over 35,000 Amateur Radio operators, often called “hams” across the United States will be setting up equipment to test their emergency radio communications capabilities this weekend in a national event called “Field Day”. Hams will operate temporary radio communications stations in community parks, campgrounds, schools and emergency centers throughout the US testing their equipment and skills while having fun talking to friends across the United States and the North American continent.
Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies and disasters across the US including the California wildfires, tornadoes and other emergencies worldwide. During Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, Amateur Radio – often called “ham radio” was often the ONLY way people could communicate during the disaster relief efforts. Hams, from all walks of life, volunteered their time and equipment traveling to affected areas to provide much needed emergency radio communications. This weekend, June 23rd and 24th the public is invited to come and meet and talk with ham radio operators from their community and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is all about. Hams will be operating not only voice communications but with digital and satellite systems, computer /Internet connected systems and even with historical Morse code. With Amateur Radio having a humble beginning alongside the development of the radio in the early 1900’s, it has grown to a radio service that has over 700,000 operators in the US and nearly 3 million worldwide.
“Field Day, first held in 1933, is the climax of the weeklong Amateur Radio Week” said Matt Tatro, Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club Field Day Coordinator. Tatro explained that Field Day is an annual event and is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which is the national organization that promotes interest for amateur radio communications and experimentation. Tatro stated that “Field Day is a way for hams to get outdoors, have some fun under some difficult conditions but learn how to provide emergency communications using generators, battery power, portable antenna systems and even solar power in the field needed to assist officials and agencies during an emergency”. Tatro added “Amateur radio is a lot of fun, but the serious side can’t be stressed enough because during emergencies, hams can play a vital communications role, and events such as Field Day ensure that everyone is ready to handle any type of disaster at no cost to the public”. In summing up Amateur Radio capabilities, Tatro said that “it is a way to send information without the use of the Internet, phone systems or any other infrastructure that may be compromised during disasters or emergencies”. Tatro final explanation of amateur radio was to the point “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works”.
Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club (BVARC), formed in 1978, is the largest club out of the over 30 amateur radio organizations in the greater Houston area. The club, with over 200 members, serves all interests and areas of the amateur radio hobby. From digital communications to satellite networks to Morse code classes, the club provides support and training to ham operators from the Sugar Land, Missouri City and the greater Houston area. BVARC’s Field Day demonstration of emergency communication abilities and skills will take place at the Fort Bend County Fire Training Center, 260 Clay Road, Richmond, Texas. Beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 23rd, approximately 40 club members will start setting up antennas and other equipment for the 24 hour contest. At 1:00 p.m. the contest will start with the objective to see how many contacts can be made by communicating with the thousands of other hams in North America in the 24 hour period. This event is free and open to the public and everyone is invited to come, observe, and even operate amateur radio equipment to communicate with individuals who are committed in assisting their communities in the event of a natural disaster or man-made emergency.
BVARC supports an impressive record of public and community service by providing communication support for the Houston Marathon, the BP MS150 Bike Ride, Museum Ships Weekend, the Wings over Houston air show and many other events in the greater Houston area.
Information on how to become involved in Amateur Radio is available from ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111 or by calling 1-800-32-NEW HAM. Visit ARRL on the Web at www.arrl.org or www.WeDoThat-Radio.org or for BVARC club information go to www.bvarc.org.