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2013 AARL Field Day in Bell Park

<p>W5ANR, the Fort Smith Area Amateur Radio Club, set up their van and antenna during Saturday’s ARRL Field Day.</p>

W5ANR, the Fort Smith Area Amateur Radio Club, set up their van and antenna during Saturday’s ARRL Field Day.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is an association for Amateur Radio in the USA consisting of over 150,000 members. Amateur Radio Service, often called “ham radio”, has been around for a hundred years. In that time it has grown into a worldwide community of licensed operators using the airwaves with every conceivable means of communications technology. Its people range in age from youngsters to grandparents and include rocket scientists and rock stars.

ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the U.S. and Canada on the fourth weekend of June of each year. It is a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies and informal contest. More than 35,000 radio amateurs gather all over the country to operate from remote locations. It is an opportunity for Amateur Radio operators to demonstrate and practice their emergency response capabilities.

The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible, as far away as possible and to operate the radio gear in abnormal or less than optimal conditions. This year’s 24-hour event again took place at Bell Park in Greenwood.

Amateur Radio operators celebrated over a century of the human voice being broadcast over the airwaves. Radio provides a bridge between peoples, societies and countries by creating friendships and the sharing of ideas. Ham radio operators have provided countless hours of community service in times of emergencies, for public events and in disaster warning services and have provided these services wholly uncompensated. That is why the week of June 17-23 has been officially named Amateur Radio Week in Greenwood, Ark.

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