The Sawnee Amateur Radio Association “Hams” will gather again this weekend at Fowler Park to show off their emergency capabilities during the group’s annual event.
Ham radio operators are sometimes the first to provide critical communication during emergencies such as wildfires, storms, tornadoes and other events.
According to the Amateur Radio Association, ham radio was the only means of communication during Hurricane Katrina and saved hundreds of lives during this natural disaster.
“We have been involved in just about every national disaster in this country,” said member John Manton, “and we are pretty proud of how we have helped.”
From 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday, the public will be given a chance to participate in talking with ham radio operators and see what the hobby is about.
Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for ham radio enthusiasts, the local event coincides with Amateur Radio Week. Across the country, ham operators will gather in parks, shopping malls and schools, using just their emergency power supplies.
There are more than 65,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S., with more than 2.5 million around the world.
Adults and children are welcome in the parks during the weekend of amateur radio testing. According to the local group, children’s voices draw the attention of ham operators because they’re typically used to hearing men's voices.
The Sawnee group invites everyone to come out and support local “Hams” and participate in an event that has helped save millions of lives.