For 24 hours, beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Waller Park Extension in Roswell will be filled with hams.
Not, however, the porcine kind. These will be enthusiastic members of the North Fulton Amateur Radio League, which is hosting a Field Day amateur radio demonstration event.
In conjunction with hundreds of clubs across the country, local league members will demonstrate their operating skills and emergency communications capabilities, using their personally owned radio equipment and providing their own back-up electrical power.
Originally a disdainful term applied to amateur radio operators by professionals, today’s “ham” operators are carrying on a proud tradition of communications and service.
“It’s a hobby that can be enjoyed by men and women young and old. Many families have several generations of hams,” said Jim Paine, North Fulton Amateur Radio League spokesman.
“Many enjoy the technical aspects of the hobby, building radios and antenna kits. Others buy ready-made equipment and like the challenge of communicating with other hams worldwide.
“Some ham operators provide local Public Safety Agencies a network of backup communications and are volunteers in associations to provide these services. “
This network of amateur radio operators has been crucial to maintaining reliable communications during hurricanes, blizzards, tornados, floods and other events that may disable normal communications.
At this year’s Field Day, league members will be joined by the North Fulton Amateur Radio Emergency Service team who will operate on the 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands, demonstrating the many ways radio amateurs can disseminate information when all else fails.
Field Day visitors can see the latest technology in radio equipment communicating to other ham stations across the world using the new digital modes, as well as voice and Morse code, and a station communicating through an orbiting satellite.
“Ham Radio is a social hobby because you are always communicating with other people,” Paine said. “You use your own radio or computer equipment to do this using many different methods. Some hams enter contests to see how many other stations they can communicate with. It can get very competitive.”
This free Field Day event will fascinate those with an interest in electronics, computers and technology in general, Paine said. “Bring the family. Club members will personally show you their radio gear and explain how it works. You can even participate as a guest.”
Waller Park Extension is at 160 Dobbs Drive, Roswell
For more detailed information and location map, go to www.nfarl.org