In times when disaster strikes and communication fails officials turn to amateur radio operators for help. Amateur radio operators, often referred to as hams, help the community in times of need. From 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday our local group participated in a national 24 hour field day event. Nationwide 35,000 other hams took part in this event to both inform the community and test their equipment.
"It's to demonstrate to the community here that we are fast in setting up and we would become the communication arm in case of a disaster in this area," said Larry Ballard with Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
From a tornado, to a wildfire, to massive flooding; when systems of communication fail like phone towers and the internet it's amateur radio operators that local and federal officials turn to. A ham radio is not dependent on the internet or cell towers.
The last major event the group orchestrated was the '79 tornado, though they are often used for other weather events.
"We know when disasters are coming so we don't try to avoid them we just want to know where they are and how to help get around in case of a disaster."
"It's very important to the community when it comes time for communication," said Todd Luna, Field Day Coordinator.
It was a record setting year for the group. They communicated with nearly 400 different amateur radio operators from across the Red River to the North Pole. Click here to learn more about the organization.