Jackson County Amateur Radio/Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) will be Hosting its annual Field Day event today at the Jackson County Courthouse. They will be set up at the Emergency Management Agency office on the west side of the courthouse. The event will be open to the public at noon, and the Field Day will start at 1 p.m.

Citizens are welcome to come test out the radios, and they could talk to people across the United States if they want.

The American Radio Relay League Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Field Day is a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies and informal contest. It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight its many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities.

It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar. The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.

They use these same skills when they help with events such as marathons and bike-a-thons; fund-raisers such as walk-a-thons; celebrations such as parades; and exhibits at fairs, malls and museums — these are all large, preplanned, non-emergency activities.

But despite the development of very complex, modern communications systems — or maybe because they ARE so complex — ham radio has been called into action again and again to provide communications in crises when it really matters. Amateur Radio people (also called “hams”) are well known for our communications support in real disaster and post-disaster situations.

“It’s basically to prove that we can set up a communication network across the nation in the event of a disaster,” said ARES Coordinator Richard Arnold.

Anyone interested in Amateur Radio is invited to come see what it's all about, learn about what they do in both the hobby aspect and how they support public service agencies.

They will also be providing the Technician Exam to anyone that is ready to get their license, free of charge. Sand Mountain Bootleggers will be at the courthouse with their Texas-style brisket, ribs and sausage.

The primary purpose of Jackson County ARES/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) (JCAR) is to provide severe weather spotting and emergency communication assistance to the Jackson County EMA and the National Weather Service, as well as providing emergency communications to all local authorities if needed during any emergency in the area.

JCAR holds regularly scheduled monthly meetings on the second Saturday of each month at Western Sizzlin’ in Scottsboro. Meetings begin at 10:00am with those interested in having breakfast may arrive around 9:30am. All JCAR Members, local HAMs, and anyone interested in amateur radio are encouraged to attend. 

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