Claremore Daily Progress

June 26, 2014

Local ham radio clubs to host 24-hour field day Saturday

Staff Reports
Claremore Progress

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County Wireless Association and Mayes County amateur radio clubs will join together to present a field day event Saturday and Sunday at Whitaker Park in Pryor. For 24 hours, members and guests will be on the radio displaying their public service and emergency capabilities.
Each year, despite wireless Internet, cell phones, email and modern communication, whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice and even the occasional cutting of fiber optic cables, leave people without the means to communicate. The one consistent service that has never failed, is amateur radio, said Coralee Duncan, member of the Mayes County Amateur Radio Club.
These types of radio operators, often called “hams,” provide backup communication for hospitals, the American Red Cross, FEMA and the International Space Station — among other locations.
Throughout the years, ham radio operators have provided critical communication during unexpected emergencies in towns across the U.S., including the Oklahoma and California wildfires. When trouble is brewing, Amateur radio operators are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information.
“We live south of Chouteau and had a big ice storm one year. The backup generator died and telephones were down, but I had my ham radio and could talk with 50 people at any point in time,” said Ken Duncan, president of Mayes County Amateur Radio Club. 
Beginning Saturday, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with radio club members from the Claremore and Pryor areas. A station will be set aside for anyone to try out the radios.
Local “hams” will be constructing emergency stations inside the park. Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words, as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, Internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.
According to the National Association for Amateur Radio, more than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s field day, sponsored by ARRL. Amateur radio is growing in the U.S. There are now more than 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million around the world.
Demonstrations will take place during the National Field Day on Saturday and Sunday at Whitaker Park in Pryor. 
For more information, call Coralee Duncan at (918) 519-2453, or email coralee@kczoom.com