They do it as a hobby but also for the safety of the public during emergency situations, they are the key to restoring communication and on Saturday and Sunday they practiced their skills at
the home of Ray Crampton off Catawba Road.
Charlie Draper of Salem on the radio and Darin Stultz of Blue Ridge set-up in the Command Center for Field Day.
The more recognizable term for them is a ham radio operators, but they are actually much more. As for Field Day, “From Friday night onward,” said Ronald Ramsey the president of the Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club, “we have been setting out equipment getting ready to broadcast for the twenty-fours. We broadcast with thousands of others across the United States and Canada for Field Day.
Fred Krack models the official gear of the Roanoke Valley Radio Club.
Ramsey whose handle is Abe4yz, said it is a way to serve the community in crisis and the Red Cross. He points out they also have a tent set up to allow children and interested parties to try out the system. They work with schools as well to get the message of their radio hobby into the youth arena. Ramsey started the hobby in high school.
Field Day happens once per year on the last full week end in June. Radio Clubs across the nation set up in trailers and practice establishing communications in emergency situations. The event in Daleville was a Class A event running under emergency power only using generators.
They set up two types of antennas, an 80 meter and a 40 meter dipole, put up a tower and a beam and ran computer cables to establish a network and check out the radios. they even have a satellite antenna so they can use low orbital satellites they have sent up over the years some by the Space Shuttle.
Ramsey said for instance the radio clubs were the first to establish communications in the area New Orleans aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Emergency communication is part of the Licensed Amateur Radio Service that keeps the hobby alive and well. Whether it is major earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or whatever disasterous event, you can count on the Amateur radio operators to be there as quickly as possible to establish communications.
Anyone interested in joining can contact Ramsey at Ab4A@arrl.net