"Ham Radios" Being Tested
Saturday started the Nationwide Field Day for the Amateur Radio League. It is the same group responsible for making communication possible during times of crisis such as when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Saturday in Jefferson City the Mid-MO Amateur Radio League, a local chapter, checked to make sure they were prepared in case disaster strikes.
"I was first involved in amateur radio back in 1958," said Tom Hammond, "so that's almost 49 years ago."
But for Hammond and his friends, amateur radio, or ham radio for short, is more than just your everyday hobby.
"Amateur radio operators can pick their equipment up as we've done here move out into a tent or any structure that may still be standing, with generators and things such as that, we can throw up makeshift antennas and within a matter of an hour or so, we can have the first communications out of a stricken area," Hammond claimed.
"Many times the cell phones are down, the public service communications are down, hams are called in to facilitate communications until phone lines and other modes of communication can be operative again," Kent Trimble, president of the Mid-MO Amateur Radio League, added.
This meeting is no more than a test to make sure they are prepared for when disaster strikes, but it's well worth it, according to Hammond. One small trailer in the middle of Missouri could communicate with anyone in the country, all by radio.
"Oh we'll talk, we'll probably work every state in the United States, all the Canadian provinces, probably several foreign countries," Hammond said.
The Mid-MO Amateur Radio League will continue testing its ability to connect with people all over the world.
This meeting is open to the public on Saturday, June 23, or Sunday June 24, the Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club will be at the field next to the Porite Plant and the Jaycee Cole County Fairgrounds in Jefferson City.