The Sedalia Pettis County Amateur Radio Klub (SPARK) participated in “Islands On the Air” for two hours on Saturday on the island at Liberty Park.

HAM radio operators made contact with other HAMs around the world, using between 5 to 100 watts of power.

The event was designed to illustrate the versatility of HAM radio, and how useful it can be when all other forms of communication are down, due to tornadoes or other disasters.

SPARK member Scott Anderson was one of the HAMs participating in the event.

“Today we are doing one of my all-time favorite events, which is doing radio outside in a park. This happens to be an island at Liberty Park, but we're at a park, nonetheless,” Anderson commented, referring to the program.

Anderson brought a fully-charged battery with him to power his radio, as did several other HAMS at the event. Saturday he was broadcasting at 100 watts, which is the maximum his radio will allow.

Anderson has participated on other similar events in Sedalia, such as the one previously held at Katy Depot. He is quite familiar with Liberty Park, as he brings his wife and walks his dog frequently there.

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Anderson has been involved in HAM radio since 2003, “and I love it,” he said. It's a great hobby and I would encourage others to join the club, come out to public events (such as the one on Saturday) where we always have a handful of people willing to spend time explaining ham radio and going over why we do it. We also have several people who are enlisted to train youth,” Anderson said.

Ham radio can be addictive, and Anderson said he enjoys speaking with someone who lives on the other side of the world, such as South Africa and Turkey, to name just two places.

“It's really kind of neat to be able to just use your little radio and reach around the world,” he said, adding that there are plenty of people who speak English he can communicate with, “and I'm sure there are plenty of Americans who speak other languages. I just happen not to be one of them.”

Brian May was another SPARK member taking part in Saturday's exercise, and he was engaging in digital QRP (low power) work at Liberty Park, reaching out to other HAMS in the world, using only 3.8 watts to power his radio.

May was sending out a beacon over the airwaves through his laptop, which was connected to his radio.

“People are hearing it across the world, and eventually somebody will come back to me, or at least that's the gist of it, hopefully, they will,” May told KSIS.

“We have to make 15 good contacts (as a club) to qualify it as a good island. Then after that, we can use it,” he said.

SPARK sees up to 35 to 40 members at its monthly meetings.

Twenty-two of them took part in last Saturday's exercise.

SPARK meets on the first Saturday of the month at the Pettis County EMA building on North Ohio.

SPARK In The Park

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