LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Amateur Radio Relay League's field day was in play at the Pinderosa Park in Westlake, Louisiana. HAM operators (aka amateur radio operators) from around the area were on hand to call out to their comrades around the country and world with hopes of connecting.
The purpose of the event was to make sure all equipment is in good working order in case of emergency situations.
Don Davant of the SWLA group says that HAM operators were instrumental during the time when the Challenger shuttle exploded. He remembers the government relying on HAM operators to pass messages between various locations because telephone activity was very limited. Davant went on to say that his comrades were also helpful during Hurricane Rita.
Do not confuse calling amateur radio people with CB operators. Lucky Young, retired Navy with years of amateur radio experience explains the difference, "CB operators don't need a license to just jump on the radio. Amateur radio persons must complete a series of tests (levels: technician, general and amateur extra)." A license to operate is granted by the FCC and with that license comes strict rules and regulations.
New technology is being used in conjunction with the older radios. In fact, laptops have been very helpful in sending videos and pictures to enhance messages being transmitted.