Ham radio

Randy Noon, a member of the Hiawatha Amateur Radio Club, configures his equipment at a past event. Ham radio enthusiasts have been active nationwide since 1933.

A group of enthusiasts in the use of radio equipment for entertainment and experimentation will meet later this month in Effingham, according to a news release.

The Atchison County Amateur Radio Service will gather from Noon on Saturday, June 22, until about 1 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at the Effingham City Park at Main and William in Effingham. Someone is likely to be present overnight at the park for anyone who has unconventional hours, the club said.

Commonly known as ham radio operators, the participants use the event to “showcase the science and skill of amateur radio,” the news release said. The event is free and open to the public.

“For more than 100 years, amateur radio ... has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communication techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the internet,” the news release said.

A skilled ham operator can use his or her equipment from almost any location under any conditions, the news release said, citing the American Radio Relay League’s Sean Kutzko.

“It’s easy for anyone for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the internet or communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” Kutzko said. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of a range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate.

“Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage.”

All an operator may need, Kutzko said, is a battery and a tree to support a wire antenna, to communicate halfway around the world.

“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 of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous other scientific disciplines ...”

About 725,000 people in the U.S. have a ham radio license, the news release said, and licensure is open to virtually anyone, from five year olds to centenarians. The club can provide more information. Contact Ralph Peterson at 913-833-2542 or visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.

Atchison Globe staff can be reached at 913-367-0583.

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