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Ham radio operators set for test

When other forms of communication go down, amateur radiooperations remain an option for sending and receiving emergencyinformation.

Testing that ability will be the goal Saturday during an annualAmateur Radio Field Day in Brookhaven and across the rest of theUnited States and Canada. The event is sponsored by the AmateurRadio Relay League, said local organizer Homer Richardson.

“Essentially, it is to test operations and equipment and to keepit up and running during emergency conditions,” Richardsonsaid.

Activities in Brookhaven will be held at the city park pavilionon Hartman Street. Radio operations begin Saturday at 1 p.m. andwill go until Sunday at 1 p.m.

“The whole idea is to try to contact as many stations as youcan,” Richardson said. “I’m hoping we’ll reach in the neighborhoodof 600-700 of them.”

Richardson said the public is invited to come out and observeoperations. Literature about amateur, or ham, radio operations willbe available.

It is quiet before radio activity begins, and then it is “like ashotgun start at a golf match,” Richardson said.

“Everybody’s off to see how well they do,” he said.

Richardson said amateur radio operators, who are licensed by thefederal government and have designated operations frequencies, willbe tested under disaster conditions later in the year.

Saturday’s event will be under emergency power conditions.Richardson said operators will be using batteries and solarpower.

“It’s to test everybody and everything to see can you do it andmaintain it,” Richardson said.