6/22: Public Demo of Emergency Communications

The New River Valley Amateur Radio Club (NRVARC) will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise on Saturday, June 22nd at Randolph Park in Dublin, VA. Since 1933, the annual Field Day event sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has provided an opportunity for amateur radio operators (often called “Hams”) to gather with their radios and antennas in a field type operation simulating emergency operations.

Local individuals from Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Dublin, Pulaski, Pearisburg, Floyd, and more will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators across the country demonstrating their emergency communication capabilities this weekend. This event is open to anyone interested in electronics, communications, or just wanting to explore a new hobby. It’s also a great opportunity to explore the real-world application of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Amateur radio has constantly evolved as a scientific hobby and emergency communication service for over a century. From Morse code, to speech, to digital communications, the NRVARC has evolved with technology to be ready to serve the public since 1958. The NRVARC built and maintains two repeaters to support on-the-air communication in the New River Valley, and works with other hams in the area to provide communications for local events such as parades and sporting events.

Helping with these events allows us to practice our emergency communications skills and rapid deployment exercises. Our equipment is independent of cellular or internet technologies, making communication more resilient in disaster situations. During Field Day operations you will get to witness, and possibly participate in, communications with other stations throughout the United States and Canada using a wire and less power than a 100-watt light bulb.

Amateur Radio continues to grow in the United States. Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator after passing a qualifying exam. There are now over 725,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services too, all for free.

Want to learn more? Please drop by at the Randolph Park picnic shelter area on Saturday June 22nd any time between 1pm to 7pm to look around, talk with hams, or for a personal tour. From I-81 South, take the Dublin Exit 98, proceed to the first stoplight, take a left at McDonald’s and proceed 1/2 mile to the entrance of Randolph Park. See what modern Amateur Radio can do. The folks there can even help you get on the air!

Visit our website at https://www.n4nrv.org for up-to-date information on the club, it’s activities, and more about amateur radio.