Communicating when cell phones can’t work

Before tablets, texting, or cell phones, a lot of people relied on radios for communication. Today, amateur radio is still a way to communicate in emergencies when cell phone towers are out.

Across the world, amateur radio associations like Paducah’s are setting up and operating stations for "field day" this weekend.

Teams work to connect with stations on amateur bands across the U.S. and even internationally. You get points for successful communication. Ed Pflueger has been coming to almost every “Field Day” for the last 40 years.

“We do it through Morse code radio, teletype, and in-voice communications,” Pflueger said.

That Paducah Amateur Radio Association ranked in the top 20 in the country in their division last year.

The club’s president, Jeff Wielgos says while competing is fun, “Field Day” also teaches you how to operate in abnormal situations or less than optimal conditions.

“Ham radio can be the key to communication, to saving lives, or providing emergency response for people if something does happen,” Wielgos said.

You only need fuel, wire, and a radio to go on air and communicate, versus a cell phone and the infrastructure it relies on.

Wielgos says connection depends on sun spots.

“Bands willing, certain times of the day we can talk all over the world,” Wieglos said.

They plan to set up 3 stations by shooting wire into the trees, and using a mobile command center to connect with other stations.

If you want to learn more, head out to Keiler Park at 2900 Broadway in Paducah before 8 p.m. Saturday, or 1 p.m. Sunday. Field Day is a 24 -our competition that started Saturday afternoon.

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