GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Brightleaf Amateur Radio Club is taking part in the National Field Day event this weekend.
The event allows ham radio operators to test their skills and equipment by making as many contacts as possible within a 24-hour period using only emergency power. Its origin was a way to practice for emergencies, and while it still is, it has also turned into a national contest.
“We’re kind of the last line of defense because we do have pretty good infrastructure, but if the cell phones go down and the internet goes down, ham radio doesn’t go down,” said Beth Gonzalez, Brightleaf Amateur Radio Club president.
The club said the field day competition is an opportunity to work on any weaknesses they might have.
“But it really is to get out the equipment before hurricane season and make sure it’s all working and that we remember how to set up the antennas and the radios. when bad things happen, you never know what might work,” said Peter Van Houten, the club’s secretary.
Van Houten added that if it wasn’t for amateur radio during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, more people would’ve been at risk. When asked if he would be ready for another disaster of that magnitude, he said, “Amateur radio has always been ready.”
The club is always welcoming new members to join and hopes this will attract the attention of young people wanting a new and exciting hobby. For more information on how you can join, go to their website.