Amateur radio field day showcases emergency communication services

1 month 1 day 1 hour ago Friday, June 21 2019 Jun 21, 2019 Friday, June 21, 2019 7:39:00 PM CDT June 21, 2019 in News
By: Annie Ochitwa, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - This year's amateur radio field day kicks off at 1 pm Saturday. The Central Missouri Radio Association will participate in the national event highlighting radio communications in remote environments.

The group will test skills and equipment that may be called into action during emergencies.

Bill McFarland is a 'ham,' which is what amateur radio operators are called. He said field day is a chance to have fun with his hobby.

"We go out and spend 24 hours playing with our radios and trying to contact as many people as we can just for the fun of it. We put up wires in the trees, and some other antennas on poles and see what all we can do," McFarland said. 

McFarland said there will probably be 30,000 hams on the air Saturday afternoon.

While ham radio is a hobby, McFarland said it also provides an important service to the community.

"We call it the amateur radio emergency services," McFarland said. "In the case that the cell phones don't work, if the cell tower is down, my ham radio is still going to work."

Joe Piper, deputy director of Boone County Joint Communications, said BCJC provides dedicated space and equipment in the Emergency Communications Center for Boone County Amateur Radio Services, or BCARES.

Piper said the group is commonly activated during severe weather.

"Their network of trained weather spotters are a force multiplier providing valubale information, not visible by radar, to personnel working in the Emergency Communications Center," Piper said.

McFarland said the group is lucky that Columbia and Boone County see the value of working with ham radio. 

"Our value is we have a lot of people with equipment that we can send around, and not take police or sheriff off the road, and we can communicate on behalf of our served agencies," McFarland said.

The group requires it's members have an amateur radio license and training to help out during emergencies, like severe weather. McFarland said they are able to act as an extra set of eyes, ears, and communication equipment for public service agencies when they are called into action.

During the severe weather on Friday morning, McFarland said Boone County Joint Communications asked the group to come to the 911 dispatch center to tell them what their amateur radio operators were reporting from around the community.

"They're looking at their radar and their weather stuff, but they don't have someone at Route B and Blueridge who told us there was hail," McFarland said.

Amateur "hams" can not be paid for any of the services they provide, but McFarland said the work is worth it.

"There is something that we can do that we need to be doing to support the community that doesn't cost us anything except a little time, and sometimes some hail damage," McFarland said. 

Piper said their work is appreciated.

"Boone County is fortunate to have such a dedicated group of volunteers in our community," Piper said.

Field day is at Rock Bridge State Park from 1 pm Saturday to 1 pm Sunday. The public is welcome to attend and find out more about how ham radio works.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA — Prosecutors charged Ryan Wade Blair, 27, with two counts of assault and endangering a correctional officer. Blair... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 7:36:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Local, state and federal agencies will be conducting emergency preparedness exercises at the Hearnes Center on MU's campus... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 6:59:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A federal judge sentenced a Columbia man Monday morning for his role in a drug trafficking case. ... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 5:27:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Transportation will receive $81.2 million to replace the Rocheport Bridge. The money will... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 4:36:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. — A Chicago man faces criminal charges related to a suspicious package case in Holts Summit. ... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 4:11:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A roof collapsed early this morning from too much rain. The apartment complex had a temporary fix... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:59:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Users of the popular social sharing site Reddit are upset after they say a scammer targeted them--posing as... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:50:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
MOBERLY - Contaminants stemming from an Orscheln facility may be in Moberly's air and sewers, and the City Council voted... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:12:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Close to 90,000 children and 23,000 adults have been dropped from Missouri's Medicaid health insurance program... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:03:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A power outage has caused Lincoln University to close for the rest of Monday. The... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 11:37:00 AM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
MACKS CREEK — A building in Camden County has collapsed after floodwaters compromised the structure. According to a Facebook... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 10:28:00 AM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
ESTES PARK, CO. — John Drage doesn’t know how many more miles he’s got left in him. Every step,... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 9:28:00 AM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
STRAFFORD — A KY3 viewer, JD Matney, shared this video of a mountain lion walking along just north of Strafford.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 8:24:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police responded to a report of shots fired early Sunday morning. The incident occurred on Apple... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 6:08:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F responded to a boat fire at the Lake of the... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 5:40:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - FEMA opened the doors of a new Disaster Recovery Center in Cole County over the weekend. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 1:37:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — A Columbia teenager is home safe after she was missing for almost two days. Summer Skye Allen,... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 9:05:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Three men were arrested after allegedly stealing $22,000 worth of electronics from a Moberly Walmart Saturday. Several... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 6:53:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
9am 70°
10am 73°
11am 75°
12pm 77°