Members of the Estes Valley Amateur Radio Club (EVARC) will participate in the national exercise for Amateur Field Radio Day, June 25 from noon to 5 pm at the Estes Valley Memorial Observatory, 1500 Manford Avenue, Estes Park. This event is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. Radio amateurs are also known as “amateurs”. Since 1933, amateur radio operators in North America have created temporary radio amateurs in public places during Field Day to show the science and skills of amateur radio. For the public, this is a chance to watch amateur radio in action and learn more about this exciting hobby, as well as the public services it provides. In a typical year, more than 35,000 people from thousands of locations take part in Amateur Radio Day activities.
We tend to take our cell phones and internet services for granted. But if there is a service outage or you are out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Amateur radio works independently of the Internet or mobile phone infrastructure and can be tuned almost anywhere in minutes. This is the beauty of radio amateurs during the interruption of communications. Many EVRC members participate in ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services). The EVRC has emergency rooms at Estes Park Hospital and the Estes Park Memorial Observatory for ARES operations. The radio equipment is tested every Thursday night to check that it is working properly. ARES members receive training in the incident management system and can be activated by service agencies such as the fire brigade, law enforcement and the Red Cross. During the 2013 flood, telephone and internet communications were cut off for several days and roads were washed away. EVARC / ARES members provided radio safety and health messages to residents and visitors to the Fort Collins Emergency Center, which were then telephoned to family and friends across the country.
For more than 100 years, ham radio has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communication techniques, as well as provide free public service to their communities during emergencies. Field Day demonstrates the ability of the radio amateur to work reliably in all conditions from almost anywhere and to create an independent communication network. To demonstrate its capability for emergency operations, EVRC will tune in radio stations outside the observatory, powered by a portable generator and solar panel.
Information activities with public schools in Estes Park are an important part of EVARC’s mission. Activities include school club reviews where students talk to other students across the country on the radio, mini-field days where students use portable radios and learn about radio technology, radio classroom programs, and amateur license classes. EVARC is working with the primary school to hold an event where students spoke with an astronaut on the International Space Station using the club’s radio equipment. The club also raised funds to donate to schools to purchase electronic kits for use in STEAM classes.
Anyone can become a licensed radio amateur. There are more than 725,000 licensed radio amateurs in the United States, ranging in age from nine to 100. And with clubs like The Estes Valley Amateur Radio Club, it’s easy for anyone to get involved right here in Estes Park. For more information on EVARC, contact [email protected] For more information on Amateur Radio Day or amateur radio in general, visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio and https://www.arrl.org/field-day.