Field Day for Ham Radio Operators

June 24, 2006 -- Posted at 5:05 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Ham radio operators are necessary in times of disaster.  When Hurricane Katrina struck last year, amateur radio was one of the only means of communications.

Saturday, across the United States, ham radio operators are participating in a ''field'' day.

"In times of major disaster, where all communications are down, amateur radio is always the first communication back up and running," said ham radio operator David Moore.

What's special about amateur radio operators is that they can get the signal they need using very little equipment.

"If all your antennas are down, all you've got to do is find a piece of wire," said Moore.

Amateur radio operators are trained to make their own antenna out of scrap metal if necessary.

"That's one of the things we do for field day.  We build antennas we've never dealt with before, so we can practice with them.  We test them to see what they can do to see if they would operate for us during a disaster," said Moore.

Several of the local ham radio operators helped out in Marmaduke after the April 2nd tornados.  After that storm phone lines were down and some cell phone towers weren't working.

"If you can't communicate, then it's not any good to find somebody that needs help if you can't contact somebody to get that help in there to them," said Moore.

Field day began at 1 o'clock p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and will end Sunday at 1 o'clock p.m.

To learn more about amateur radio field day go to the website for the National Association for Amateur Radio: