By BRAD KELLAR
Local amateur radio operators plan to spend this upcoming weekend doing some testing and a lot of talking.
The Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association (SVARA) will be participating in the annual nationwide emergency communications exercise known as Field Day.
The organization will be setting up Saturday morning at the Hunt County Fairgrounds , 9800 Jack Finney Boulevard in Greenville.
Anyone interested in learning more about amateur radio is invited to attend and get a first-hand look at the event, which will be operating from noon Saturday until noon Sunday. Interested persons can also learn how to get their own FCC radio license.
During one weekend in June, amateur radio operators practice their emergency communications procedures for a 24-hour period. The operators are called upon to set up under simulated disaster conditions, then attempt to make as many contacts across the United States and around the globe as possible during the time frame.
During the exercise ham radio operators construct workable emergency communications equipment to simulate the conditions they might face in the event of a disaster, during which telephones, computers and other services would be unavailable.
Devlin Kirchman with the SVARA said the operators were busy during the 2012 event.
“Last year we scored 1,680 points, had 334 contacts and 18 participants.,” Kirchman said, adding the group will have stations operating on digital, morse code and voice this year. “Anyone is welcome to come by and watch or take a turn on a radio or learn more about amateur radio and emergency communications.”
Members of the SVARA also serve as the local storm spotters under the National Weather Service Skywarn program.
The SVARA has a website at www.k5gvl.org. Additional information about Field Day can be found at ARRL.org.