Thousands of people participate in National Amateur Radio Field Day
COLUMBIA - Members of the Central Missouri Radio Association are inviting mid-Missourians to participate in the National Amateur Radio Field Day exercise at Rock Bridge State Park.
The event started operating at 1:00 p.m. Saturday and will continue until Sunday at 1 p.m.
The event is free to the public.
National Field Day allows ham radio operators to experiment with electronics and communication at temporary radio station setups in public places. Operators are able to contact people from all over the world through radio frequency.
Amateur radio also known as ham radio, is a popular hobby and service that causes people, electronics, and communication to come together. People utilize ham radio to communicate within a range of distances from across the neighborhood to into space. Amateur radio does this without the use of Internet or cell phones, making it an essential communication network during national disasters.
Bill McFarland, Boone County Amateur Radio Emergency Services Emergency Coordinator, said that Field Day showcases differences in contemporary communication.
"Field Day is a day where we try to communicate with 35,000 to 40,000 other hams who are doing the same thing all over the United States at the same time without using commercial power and without using the Internet to see how we can communicate," McFarland said.
Over 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in National Field Day in 2016. Ham radio enthusiasts are hoping to see that number grow this year with youth involvement.
Tim Spurgeon, President of Boone County Emergency Service, encourages for younger citizens to participate.
"We do want to encourage young people to be involved, so for that reason today we have invited boy scouts, girl scouts, grade schools and high schools in the area to try to get them interested in doing this," Spurgeon said.
Brian Fowler President of the Central Missouri Radio Association, noted that ham radio has helped Missourians in the past.
"During the Joplin tornado there were a lot of hams in the community that showed up and helped send help and welfare to families."
Radio operators believe it is important to always be prepared if modern technology would fail us today, thus why they exercise their equipment and skills once a year on National Amateur Radio Field Day.