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Amateur Radio Field Day in Auburn June 27-28 Demonstrates Science, Skill, and Service

Members of the Auburn Area Emergency Communications Team (AAECT) will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, Saturday, June 27 at the City of Auburn Emergency Operations Center (EOC). 

Members of the Auburn Area Emergency Communications Team (AAECT) will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, Saturday, June 27 at the City of Auburn Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. The AAECT will host an Open House at the EOC during the exercise between 1PM and 3PM, which will be open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. The EOC is located at 1 East Main Street, Suite 380, in downtown Auburn. Visitors will see the AAECT in action using the communications equipment installed at the EOC, and we will also have emergency and disaster preparedness information available.

For over 100 years, Amateur Radio — sometimes called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Over 45,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2014.

“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the Internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” said Sean Kutzko of the American Radio Relay League, the national association for Amateur Radio. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of Amateur Radio during a communications outage.”

“Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” Kutzko added. “Hams do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves. In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”

Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. The AAECT, as well as many other clubs and organizations in the area, regularly hold classes for anyone interested in becoming an Amateur Radio Operator.

For more information about the Auburn Area Emergency Communications Team, please contact the City of Auburn, Office of Emergency Management, at (253) 876-1925 or e-mail emergencyprep@auburnwa.gov. For more information about Field Day, visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.