Amateur radio operators prepare for tragedy during field day training

An amateur radio operator practices at the annual Amateur Radio Field Day. (KTVL/Genevieve Grippo)

Members of multiple amateur radio clubs flexed their ham radio muscles at a field event aimed at preparing them for a catastrophic emergency in southern Oregon.

The 83rd annual Amateur Radio Field Day required radio operators to remain off the power grid, using only antennas, solar power and generators.

During the event, they practiced communicating with other amateur radio operators throughout the country.

In the event of an emergency, such as a major earthquake, amateur radio operators could be the only form of communication with outside communities.

"We have to have the ability to communicate in order to get emergency supplies here, hospital supplies or medical gear into an area if there are a lot of people that have been hurt and there's no other way to contact them," said Curt Hadley, Public Information Officer for the Cascade Amateur Radio Enthusiasts, one of the clubs present at the event.

"If you don't have the ability to get information out in the event of an emergency, a lot of people are going to suffer," he said.

According to Haldey, there are about 3,000 licensed amateur radio operators in southern Oregon.

He said the field is thriving, with about 750,000 operators nationwide and 3 million ham radios in the world.

Starting July 21st, the CARE club is hosting a free 10-12 week class to teach residents how to become amateur radio operators. You can register by clicking here.

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