Emergency communications focus of annual exercise
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2009 9:01 pm
By: Glenn Snow
By GLENN SNOW
Special to The Messenger
June 27-28 will find members of the Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club participating in an annual emergency communications exercise, known nationally as Field Day.
This year’s exercise will be conducted at the Obion County Fairgrounds with operators from Dyer, Weakley, Gibson, Carroll and Obion counties participating; additionally, operators from Fulton County (Ky.) will participate.
In recognition of the contribution by amateur radio, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has declared the week of June 21 – 27 Amateur Radio Week in Tennessee. The governor recognized Tennessee amateur radio operators for their “behind the scenes” support of such agencies as the National Weather Service, Tennessee Emergency Management Agencies, Department of Health, American Red Cross, the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium and others in times of natural disasters and other emergencies. He also recognized amateur radio operators for their continuous learning and experimentation and for helping to forward the science of electronics and radio-related communications.
Bredesen noted, too, that amateur radio operators serve a valuable purpose because they teach young people about opportunities available in radio and electronics by example, instruction and the provision of practical experience, including “the opportunity to communicate with amateurs in space.”
The Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club is prepared to provide emergency communications for the community when the need arises; such was the case during the January 2009 ice storm. During the ice storm Hickman, Ky., was isolated from the world for a short time. City officials had no way to communicate with state emergency agencies until a local “ham” volunteered his services. He contacted another ham in South Fulton, via his amateur radio, and together they established a radio communications link between Kentucky Emergency offices in Frankfort and the Emergency Management agency in Hickman.
Our veracity of our motto, “When all else fails, there’s amateur radio,” was not only on full display during that time, but our value to the community was clearly in evidence.
Our capabilities allow us to provide local and long distance communications and that’s what will be practiced during our Field Day exercise. We will be operating on emergency power, including portable generators, batteries and solar power.
The public is invited to come and visit during Field Day on June 27 and 28 at the Obion County Fairgrounds’ main building, located just behind the Obion County Rescue Squad building.
The Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club is a non-profit organization of volunteer amateur radio operators. They meet at the Obion County Public Library the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
For information about Field Day or amateur radio, contact me at (731) 479-1971, Robert Miles at (731) 588-2840 or Jamie Hall at 886-6869.
Editor’s note: Glenn R. Snow is the president of Reelfoot Amateur Radio Club.
Published in The Messenger 6.19.09