Hoʻokipa “Pill Box” Has Roots in Radio
Members of the Maui Amateur Radio Club will participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, on Saturday, June 25 in a field between the Hāna Highway and the ocean, just past Ho’okipa Beach Park.
Field Day, an event started by the Amateur Radio Relay League in 1933, is the largest emergency communication event in the world. Field Day also showcases the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
For over 100 years, Amateur Radio —ham radio— has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Over 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2015.
The site MARC uses for this event was the location of a U.S. Navy radio station during World War II. The naval Pill Box which housed the radio equipment, and the concrete foundation of the barracks for the operators, remain to this day, according to organization representatives. The Pill Box is well known for hosting many local murals each year.
MARC has been using the site since the early 1950’s thanks to the support of A&B Properties. The club has also received the generous support of MEO, I & L Rentals, Pacific Portables and Kīhei Rent A Car for many years.
Allen Pitts of the American Radio Relay League said, “The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communications.” From the tsunami in Japan, typhoon in the Philippines, tornadoes in Missouri, and wildfires across the United States, ham radio has provided reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of disaster events.
Here in Hawai’i ham radio provided the only communication with Kauaʻi in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Iniki. Because ham radio is not dependent on local infrastructure, it works when nothing else is available.
Visitors are welcome to stop in to learn more about amateur radio, find out how they can get a ham radio license, and participate in the event Saturday during daylight hours. The organization will be contacting people by voice, Morse code, and newer digital modes.