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Acadiana Amateur Radio Association Ham radio Field Day coming … – The Daily Advertiser

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Chris Ancelet, president of the Acadiana Amateur Radio Association, talks about Field Day, an annual emergency exercise.
Herman Fuselier

Like everyone else in 2018, Chris Ancelet can get information on anything by just pressing the screen of his cell phone. But Ancelet also can reach the world on a radio station and antennas he put together with his own hands.

He’s contacted 109 countries, including a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean that’s more than 10,000 miles away from his home in Acadia Parish. He’s reached New Jersey using a 10th of a watt, less power than it takes operate a night light.

Ancelet finds those exchanges on amateur or “ham” radio more fulfilling than Google and his iPhone.

“I think ham radio just dials it back a couple of notches,” said Ancelet, 41. “You have to work to make some of these contacts. It’s amazing what you can do with very little power and a wire antenna in the air.

“There’s a lot of science that’s wrapped up into it. But you can go from can’t hear anything to hearing stuff all over the world.”

Ancelet and members of the Acadiana Amateur Radio Association participate Saturday in Field Day, an annual event sponsored by the American Radio Relay League. For 24 hours, ham operators run their stations outdoors on generators and try to contact as many stations as possible.

The AARA, a Lafayette-based ham club, will operate a Field Day station, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Steve Webre farm in Church Point. The site is open to the public.

Besides camping and camaraderie, Field Day allows hams to sharpen radio skills that have proven vital in times of emergencies. When hurricanes, tornadoes and floods knock out electricity, cell phones and the internet, ham operators can still communicate worldwide, using minimal equipment.

When Hurricane Maria ravaged power and phone services in Puerto Rico last year, ham radio was the only communications link to the outside world. Ancelet has enjoyed that aspect of his radio hobby.

“When a big storm comes through the area, your cell phone isn’t going to work,” said Ancelet. “I don’t have to have power.

“I can pop the hood on my truck, hook some alligator clips on the battery terminals and I can be talking in five minutes. In Puerto Rico, that’s the only way they could pass health and welfare traffic was via old, analog-style technology. It just doesn’t fail.”

Ancelet is president of the AARA, which meets the first Thursday of each month at the Lafayette Science Museum. The club often holds classes to help newcomers obtain their licenses.

Ancelet is working to bring younger hams into the hobby.

“I wish a younger generation would get in and appreciate the science, the camaraderie behind it. It’s just fun. There’s so many facets of it.

“If you want just to talk on a handheld radio and talk on the repeaters to people in a 30-mile radius, that’s very possible. If you want to talk to someone halfway around the world with 10 watts of power, that’s very feasible as well. If you don’t want to talk at all, we have the

Read the full article at https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2018/06/20/acadiana-amateur-radio-association-ham-radio-field-day-coming-saturday/718593002/. STRAY SIGNALS does not claim ownership of the article.

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