Ham Radio Field Day Offers Training, Education

By Ronelle Williams | rwilliams@kq2.com

Published 06/29 2014 11:36PM

Updated 06/30 2014 11:41AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Communication is key during severe weather events and other disasters.  While we often rely on modern technology, some are working to make sure radio communication is ready as needed.

A group of ham radio enthusiasts gathered in St. Joseph over the weekend for a field day.  The event was dedicated to the public, but it was also dedicated to the equipment as well.

"To make sure that we have our radio equipment in an emergency condition to be used, we set this field day up and find out if we have things that aren't working and we can have time to fix them," said field day organizer Larry Flinchpaugh.

Recent disasters like the 2011 Joplin tornado have prompted others to invest in ham radios.

"After that emergency in Joplin, even our hospitals here now have ham radio stations set up.  Heartland has a ham radio station.  And I think Heartland's staff probably has 2 or 3 ham radio operators," said Flinchpaugh.

While we rely so much on cell phones and computers, if these resources were to fail, ham radios would still be up and running.

"If something was to happen, if the power went out we could still maintain communications.  We could help those emergency personnel that would come in to help us with the problem whether it be a tornado, a flood, a whatever," said St. Joseph Ham Radio Club President Jim Conant.

They say training is important to ensure users get the most out of the equipment.

"You have to have enough knowledge to make sure that you don't start talking on the police frequency.  That's a no-no, you don't want to do that," said Flinchpaugh.

The St. Joseph community was excited to learn about old technology in a new age.

"This was the first type of communication system that allowed us to be connected with emergency services.  You know, so something that important and that capable that a person can do on his own, that's the sort of thing I like to be involved in," said ham radio enthusiast William Dodson.

Ham radio licenses require a test and a fee.

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