CORONA: Amateur radio enthusiasts begin 24-hour `Field Day’ exercise

CORONA- Starting today, amateur radio operators will broadcast from the Corona Police Department over a 24-hour period, sending messages via their personalized sets as part of an international event highlighting how nontraditional sources of communication can be vital during emergencies.

The department’s Communications Specialist Volunteers will be among 40,000 amateur radio enthusiasts across the U.S. and Canada expected to take part in the American Radio Relay League’s annual “Field Day,” slated to get underway at 11 a.m. today and continue until shortly before noon Sunday.

During the event, so-called “ham” radio operators establish temporary broadcasting stations in their homes, parks, schools — anywhere they can raise an antenna — to communicate with one another.

“In the past, we’ve talked to as many as 200 stations on the continent,” Paul Deveny, who is coordinating the police department’s Field Day effort, told City News Service.

The Corona group will broadcast continuously. Volunteers have traditionally used Jameson Park on Field Day, but Deveny said that, with only a dozen active members, there’s a risk of someone having to step away and leave the equipment unattended.

“We’re all getting older,” he said. “I’m 81.”

The Newington, Connecticut-based ARRL touts the utilization of ham radios as a means of ensuring connectivity to places throughout the country when modern devices, such as mobile phones and wirelessly connected computers, may not work or be available.

Amateur radio operators have aided authorities and transmitted critical information to the public during wildfires, tornadoes, winter storms, hurricanes and other emergencies, according to the ARRL. The organization said there are more than 725,000 “hams” throughout North America, whose ages range from 5 to 100.

Ham radios generally broadcast on high-frequency channels, with varying ranges, not found on most commercial receivers.

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