Hams Celebrate Amateur Radio Week In Hilo
by Hunter Bishop
Recognizing Amateur Radio Week and the important role “ham” operators play in local disasters and emergencies, Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed this week, June 23-29, “Amateur Radio Week” in Hawaii County.
When the power goes out, cell towers crash, the internet is offline, and other forms of communications fail, hams provide vital links between the populace and public officials, self-mobilizing to help during hurricanes — as witnessed during Hawaii’s devastating Iwa and Iniki storms — earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires, said the Big Island Amateur Radio Club in a release.
The mayor’s proclamation urged support for the American Radio Relay League Field Day events taking place at Hilo Walmart, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, when amateur radio club operators will demonstrate emergency communications equipment and skills for the public to learn more about what amateur radio operators do, said Bill Hanson, BIARC president.
Radio transmission activities also are scheduled from 8 a.m. that Saturday until 8 a.m. on Sunday at Wailoa Center in Hilo where, for 24 hours, the radio operators will be making contacts with other hams throughout the Pacific and North America.
“Amateur radio operators have provided countless hours of community services throughout these decades, and have also provided a bridge between people, societies and countries by creating friendships and the sharing of ideas,” Kenoi stated in the proclamation.
Of the 717,201 amateur radio operators — also known as hams — in the US, there are 4,550 in the ARRL Pacific Section, which includes Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Of these, 3,550 are in the state of Hawaii. Visit www.arrl.org.
Volunteers from other agencies linked to emergency preparedness also will participate in the field day, including Hawaii County Civil Defense, American Red Cross-Hawaii and Community Emergency Response Teams.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, testing will be offered for all FCC ham licenses at Wailoa Center.