Amateur Ham Radio operator Michael Gladu of South Burlington.

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Thursday August 04, 2011

Sometimes, though, it can be a time of intense work, especially for Amateur (Ham) Radio operators.

Every summer, the ARRL, (the American Radio Relay League) features Field Days for us Hams. It is a time of exercising our transmitting and receiving equipment, sometimes under the worst of conditions and simulating our readiness to provide emergency communications in the time of national or local emergencies—something for which we Hams are noted.

This year, however, was a fairly pleasant day for either indoor or outdoor activities. Hams across the country set up their radio gear, usually utilizing back up power supplies, such as continually maintained battery packs and various types of mechanical and electrical power generators—including solar powered units.

Here in the Burlington area, the Burlington Amateur Radio Club (BARC) recently conducted their own exercise including—besides yours truly—other South Burlington residents. Pictured is one South Burlington Ham—Michael Gladu—amateur radio station call of N1FBZ.
Local emergencies and drills are usually handled by ARES, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, while wider area or nationwide coverage falls to RACES, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. Amateurs (Hams) have been instrumental in providing sometimes the only emergency communications for the Red Cross and the Salvation Army in recent catastrophes such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the 2010 Chilean and Haitian earthquakes.

SOURCE: Roger Farley, Contributor