Amateur radio operators to hold public emergency test event this weekend

Jun. 25—VERNON TOWNSHIP — The Crawford Amateur Radio Society is taking part in a national emergency communications test this weekend and is inviting the public to use the opportunity to learn more about amateur, or ham, radios and what they provide to the community.

The society will be setting up in Roche Park in Vernon Township for 24 hours during the weekend as they take part in the test. They will begin setting up around 9 a.m. today, with the test starting at 2 p.m. and running until 2 p.m. on Sunday.

"We're going to have a total of four radios set up," said Michael Hall, the field day chairman for the society. "One radio is going to be running Morse code. We're going to have another radio that's going to be running digital mode, what they call FT8, and we're going to have two other radios running voice."

One of those radios will be available for visitors to use, giving them a chance to experience what it's like to operate a ham radio.

During emergency situations, amateur radio operators may be called in to help provide short- and long-range communications. In addition, amateur operators often watch for severe weather for the National Weather Service, according to the society.

The purpose of the test is to show the reliability of amateur groups in emergency situations as they'll attempt to reach as many other stations as they can.

"That's practice for us setting these things up under less-than-ideal conditions," Hall said. "Away from our homes, running for 24 hours on an emergency power supply."

Indeed, the society will not utilize any commercial electricity to run their radios during the event.

Should anyone be interested in joining the Crawford Amateur Radio Society, Hall said the group will have applications on-site.

The event is free and open to the public.

Sean P. Ray can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at .