POSTED: Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 2:07pm
UPDATED: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 12:38pm
It only happens once a year, but this event may save lives in the next emergency in our area.
It’s the Tyler amateur Radio Club, and this weekend marked their annual field days.
When disaster strikes, like a hurricane, or there is an emergency like the Shuttle explosion, immediate communication is vital. And you cell phone may be missing in action.
“One of the oldest, and it is one of the most effective in terms of its simplicity and its lack of dependence on infrastructure,” says Tyler Amateur Radio Club President Mark Taylor.
The one medium that will work rain or shine, with no more power than a care battery is shortwave.
“If everything else fails, ham radio will get the message through,” Taylor says.
And once a year the 78-member strong Tyler Amateur Radio Club gets together to keep it’s skills sharp and make sure they are ready.
“It’s sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, and once a year we get together to do emergency preparedness,” club member Elaine Jackson said.
As the event wound down at Tyler State Park, they counted up the tally of international contacts...
“We’ve made contacts as far sound as Mexico, up to Canada, and all through the contiguous 48 states,” said Taylor. “This map is a color representation of the states that we have made contact in so far during this field day.”
And folded up the equipment.
There’s even a rolling communications center which serves a number of local needs.
So you may be a member of the Twitter or Skype generation but…
Sometimes it’s the dots and dashes that will get the job done.