POINT PLEASANT — Anyone interested in learning the social or emergency benefits of ham radio will have an opportunity this weekend, when the Mason County Amateur Radio Group (MCARG) participates in the national Amateur Radio Field Day.
MCARG will be at Fort Randolph inside Krodel Park at Point Pleasant, according to member Matt Gregg. The group will set up at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and with good weather conditions, will remain until 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The field day is an opportunity to learn ham radio’s science, skill, and service to the community. The public is encouraged to attend. More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in field day in 2017.
The day serves as a local group exercise for MCARG, whose membership is geared more toward emergency and support rather than a social club, said Gregg. He added no commercial AEP power will be used during the event, but rather solar and other means of power.
Ham radios have the ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location. They can create an independent communications network when traditional television, telephone and cell phone services fail during a disaster or emergency.
But while the local group focuses mainly on how amateur radio can help in times of trouble, Gregg said it is a good hobby that people can enjoy with as little as a $40 to $50 investment. He said classes are held throughout the year in order to obtain a license, and that information and more will be available during field day.
Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed operators in the United States, as young as nine years and as old as 100. Approximately 70 people in Mason County currently hold a license.
A license is not needed, however, to enjoy field day. Those attending can be “third party” operators, and get the chance to use the equipment and make radio contacts.
For more information about field day or amateur radio, contact Mason County Amateur Radio Group on Facebook, www.mcarg.info, or www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.