NAPLES, Fl. - Radio traffic is busy Saturday and for a good reason. Amateur radio operators across the country and right here in Southwest Florida are participating in their 76th annual Field Day.
WINK News found out how these operators provide critical communication during emergency situations.
For 24 hours these radios will be buzzing connecting these operators to others.
"You can call anyone in the county or for that matter, make a contact anywhere around the world... sort of like your cell phone," says Ken Bills with the Amateur Radio Association of Southwest Florida.
But without having to use phones or internet. The Naples Red Cross facility is now a make-shift emergency operations center using just four radios, four antennas and only emergency power supplies to create a likely scenario for our area, communications going dark.
"Category four and five hurricanes and that takes out all the infrastructure so all the cell communication that we enjoy are down, your land lines are typically and a lot of the power grids are down so we are portable in that we can set up and operate on 12 volts so your car battery," Bills adds.
This weekend thousands of HAM radio operators as they're called, are getting together over the airwaves for an annual field day, making sure they can communicate clearly should the worst happen. While they might be 'amateur,' they've worked with the Red Cross, FEMA and even the International Space Station.
"Within a matter of 15 or 20 minutes, erect a temporary station and be on the air and passing communications back and forth for Collier officials and giving what they call health and welfare reports back and forth," he adds.
The field day is open to the public. The radio operators will be at the Naples Red Cross facility until about two Sunday afternoon at 2610 Northbrooke Plaza Drive.