Whidbey Island ham radio operators will be among thousands nationwide to switch on their shortwave radios at remote locations to practice emergency communications capabilities during an annual field radio exercise on June 24-25.
Island County Amateur Radio Club members will pitch tents, set up radio gear and hoist wire transmitting antennas in nearby trees at Greenbank Farm to participate in the annual exercise known as Field Day, said club president Jack Prendergast. Any interested visitors can have an opportunity to talk across the nation on one of the radios.
Beginning in the morning on Saturday, June 24, Whidbey hams will take turns manning the club two-way radios around the clock at the emergency powered radio site, located at the south end of the farm’s overflow parking lot. The radio buffs will use voice, Morse code and digital modes to trade information reports with other operators across the nation.
“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the Internet and communicate,” Prendergast said. “But if there’s an interruption of service, such as might happen after a natural disaster like an earthquake, ham radio may become one of only a few communication links with the outside world. Ham radio can be set up almost anywhere in minutes and is separate from cell phone towers and the Internet.”
Prendergast said the public is invited to visit the radio camp site beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Radio activities will continue throughout the night and end at 11 a.m. Sunday.
“We’re inviting folks young and old to come see ham radio’s capabilities and learn how to get their own radio license before any disaster strikes,” Prendergast said.
• For information about the Island County Amateur Radio Club, go to www.w7avm.org