Amatuer radio operators active, wanting members
By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
Though the Brewton Amatuer Radio Union (BARU) was established nearly 30 years ago and has been active since, it's experiencing a surge of interest in recent months.
Amatuer radio operators of all ages learn about radio operation techniques and communicate with each other all over the world. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- which regulates amateur radio operation -- issues six levels of licenses which give operators different levels of privileges. Depending on their license and skill level, amatuer radio operators can communicate using voice, code, television, and other means.
Training and certification requirements should not limit an interested person's participation, because the Brewton Amatuer Radio Union has veteran members willing to train anyone who'd like to learn. Three original members of BARU's beginning in 1976 are still active in the group --Hillman Sr., his son Scott Hillman Jr. and Johnny Miller.
According to Hillman Sr., Larry Fussell contacted him a few months ago hoping to give BARU new life and the group has been meeting monthly since. Yesterday, BARU participated in an annual Field Day sponsored by the American Radio Relay League. It gave everyone interested in radio operation a chance to come out, while BARU members operated a 24-hour emergency communication simulation.
Whether operating in emergency situations or for their own personal enjoyment, amatuer radio operators make up a vast network that has connected people for decades.
BARU meets every second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital. Anyone interested can join the group at no cost. For more information, contact Scott Hillman at 867-7102.