LA QUINTA, Calif. -

A La Quinta ham radio club will participate tomorrow in what's considered the largest annual on-the-air event in the U.S. and Canada.

Desert R.A.T.S Amateur Radio Club will operate from the La Quinta City Hall Emergency Operations Center during ARRL Field Day, during which more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather to operate from remote locations.

The Desert R.A.T.S. will operate from 11 a.m. Saturday to 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Supervisor John Benoit's office.

The goal of field day is for ham radio operators to contact as many amateur stations as possible and learn to operate in unusual situations and under hard conditions. Ham radio operators can provide emergency communications for government and civic groups when normal systems are knocked out or overloaded during disasters, according to Benoit's office.

Benoit, who operated a home ham radio station for several years, will join the club at noon Saturday.

The public will be able to tour the emergency response trailer, look at the emergency operations center and make a contact on the air.

"I sincerely appreciate the role ham operators and particularly Amateur Radio Emergency Services and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service groups play in our emergency preparedness," Benoit said. "I encourage citizens to see the value of their emergency capabilities and come to a field day."

At its meeting this week, the La Quinta City Council proclaimed it HAM radio week, beginning Saturday.