MANALAPAN – Members of the Raritan Bay Radio Amateurs and Manalapan ARES/RACES group will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 22 in the parking lot immediately adjacent to Manalapan town hall, Route 522 and Taylors Mills Road.
Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of amateur radio. The June 22 event is open to the public and all are welcome to attend, according to a press release.
For more than 100 years, amateur radio — sometimes called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as to provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the internet, according to the press release.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and to create an independent communications network. More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2018, according to the press release.
“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or a smartphone, connect to the internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” said David Isgur, communications manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio.
“But if there’s an interruption of service or you are out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cell phone infrastructure, it can interface with tablets or smartphones, and it can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage,” Isgur said.
“Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” he added. “Hams do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves.
“In today’s electronic do-it-yourself environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down,” Isgur said.
Anyone may become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 9 and as old as 100, according to the press release.