Reaching Out: Amateur Radio Fans Join the Field Day This Weekend | Covid-19

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Two local groups will be participating this weekend in an event designed to encourage local distancing, in fact the farther away the better.

Amateur radio organizations plan to test the skills and equipment they would need in the event of a disaster this weekend while reaching out to their counterparts around the world.

The Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association (SVARA) and Majors Field Amateur Radio Club will participate in the annual nationwide emergency communications exercise known as Amateur Radio Relay League Field Day, Saturday and Sunday.

SVARA plans to establish a base of operations at the Caddo Mills Fire Department starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and staying on air until Sunday noon.

Michael Ketchum of the club has said there will be changes to this year’s event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There have been temporary rule waivers for 2020 ARRL Field Day, due to COVID-19,” Ketchum said. “Due to the unique circumstances presented this year, this is an opportunity for SVARA to try something new. Field Day is not about doing things the same year after year. So, we use this year to develop and employ a new approach that matches our current situation. We will use advice from the CDC’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “

The Majors Field Amateur Radio Club intends to locate on the grounds of the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum, 600 Interstate 30 East in Greenville.

The public is invited to come by both sites.

Over a weekend in June, amateur radio operators practice their emergency communication procedures for a 24 hour period. Operators are called upon to settle into simulated disaster conditions and then attempt to establish as many contacts as possible in the United States and around the world during the period.

During the exercise, amateur radio operators build functional emergency communications equipment to simulate conditions they might face in the event of a disaster, in which phones, computers and other services are unavailable.

During Field Day 2019, more than 36,000 hams participated in thousands of locations across North America.

“Throughout COVID-19, hams around the world have continued to be on air to practice their skills, in part to help overcome social isolation and online fatigue,” the spokesperson said. ‘ARRL, Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R.

Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, aged 9 to 100 years, and approximately 3 million worldwide.

The Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association is based in Hunt County and is a group of amateur radio operators that focus on the education and public service components of the HAM radio hobby. SVARA serves as the SkyWarn storm detection organization for Hunt County, assisting the National Weather Service as needed.

Those looking for information on SVARA can visit online at www.k5gvl.org.

Information about the Majors Field Amateur Radio Club is available online at www.w5nni.net.

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