Radio Operators Prepare for Hamfest in Mena

Zoie Clift
 
Join amateur “ham”
radio operators this Friday (Sept 10) and Saturday (Sept. 11) to swap equipment
and information related to this important method of emergency communication
during the 41st annual Queen Wilhelmina Hamfest. The event takes
place at Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Mena. The elevation of Rich Mountain (2,681
feet) makes the park an ideal location for the event.
 
What started as a picnic
lunch 41 years ago by a little over a dozen enthusiasts has grown into an
event that fills the lodge and campground of the park every
year.Hamfest as the longest
continuously operating event in a state park.  

Ham radio (which is just
another word for amateur radio) allows people to talk across the globe
wirelessly. Operators are known as 
“hams.” Along with being a hobby, skilled operators are often called to
act as emergency communicators during disasters. During Hurricane Katrina, ham
radio was the only method of communication available. According to the ARRL ( American Radio Relay League, which is the national association for amateur radio)  a
ham radio is the most powerful wireless communication tool available in the
world for people to use. When regular lines of communications are down (from
say power outages or downed cell towers) these radios still work.

There are many bands
on the radio spectrum that are used by everyone from military to commercial
radio. According to the National Association for Amateur Radio, ham operators
have 26 bands (a specific range of frequencies) they can tap into. More
information on Hamfest can be found at www.qwha.org.

Posted in Travel Arkansas

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