Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club President Al Chitwood at his amateur radio facility in Bertram. Chitwood made his first CQ (call) using a rusty bedstead as an antenna. Photo by Mark Stracke
Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Operators will participate in Amateur Radio Day June 25-26 at a site behind the Highland Lakes YMCA in Galloway-Hammond, 1601 Water St. (US 281) in Burnet.
During the 24-hour event, radio amateurs from across North America will communicate with each other under simulated emergency conditions.
More than 35,000 radio amateurs from around the world will join this annual event, held the fourth weekend in June.
The public is invited to take part in demonstrations of transmitters, receivers, antennas and emergency power supplies. Scouts can earn merit badges at the event, which is free and part of the Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club’s celebration of Amateur Radio Week.
Installation begins at 8 a.m., but the best time for the public to visit is after 11 a.m. on Saturdays. It continues nonstop until 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
“We want to let people know that this kind of capability exists,” said radio club member George Cofran. “And we want to encourage everyone to explore and get involved.”
The Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club directly supports Burnet, Llano and Blanco county governments through an agreement to provide emergency communications. The group holds drills, such as the 24-hour field day, to stay prepared for emergencies of any kind. Members remain trained in Morse code, internet radio and high frequency radio transmissions. They are all individual radio amateurs who are voluntarily on call in an emergency.
“It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does we want to be prepared,” Cofran said.