Ham Radio operators plan weekend marathon, June 28 and 29

Ham (amateur) radio operators often volunteer to keep big community events safe. Anyone can be a 'ham,' with a small financial outlay and several introductory events coming up this summer

When runners were overcome by heat at last weekends Chase Corporate Challenge, it was area Ham Radio operators who alerted emergency help. It's common, but not widely known, that the amateur radio operators do volunteer work at most big area events, helping to keep them safe.

Joe Camerino , a retired school administrator, is among the 'hams,' and he tells us that they're still needed to provide emergency information. During the Boston Marathon bombings last year, for example, it was amateur radio operators who helped police when cell phone communication was cut as a safety precaution.

There are over 4-thousand licensed amateur radio operators in the Central New York area, about 16-hundred in Onondaga County. In addition to the excitement of reaching out on 'their' radio bands to others all over the world, many volunteer to help in times of emergency, and for large events where police and first responders cannot be everywhere.

Forget the need for big, and expensive equipment to do this kind of broadcasting: Camerino brought along a hand-held radio--easily available--that can get you started for under $50, once you're licensed, and area ham groups can help with that.

This coming weekend, there's a national 'Field Day' and here in Onondaga County there will be field stations by the two local groups, at Joseph William Park in Cicero and the Camillus Ski Lodge (near East HIll Elementary, off Parsons Road). The event runs 2pm Saturday, June 28 for 24 hours until Sunday, June 29.

The public is also welcome at Hamfest on Sunday, July 13th at the Cicero American Legion.

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