ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day Ham Radio Saves the Day Again

Field Day 2012 opened today at 1:00 pm CDT. Field Day is an annual event organized by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) in Newington, CT. Many amateur radio operators, or ‘hams’, belong to this national organization. Field Day is a twenty-four hour period in which ham radio operators test their ability to set up and coordinate emergency communications in the event of disaster.

You may ask, “Why go to all the trouble when we have cell phones and the Internet?”. Well, often in times of disaster, these systems fail for many reasons. Ham radio operators are able to communicate with each other without relying upon any of these systems or even power from the electric company. This means that when disaster strikes, in many cases, ham radio is the ONLY way to pass emergency traffic within or out of the affected area.

 

Setting up our 2 meter and 440 antennas on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

 

This year, our Field Day site was an empty lot in Wauconda, Illinois. April M. Williams (N9GYG) and I (KE9AU) arrived around 9 am to help with the set-up of our club’s Field Day station. We belong to SUHFARS, the Suburban UHF Amateur Radio Society with members from McHenry and surrounding counties. Our club has about 50 members from around the Chicago area. When we got there, things were already well under way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first job was to erect the antenna systems. This was not trivial, as some antennas needed to be pretty high up in the air in order to have the best signal. We quickly assembled a 50 foot tower and, with coordinated teamwork, put it upright. Next, we strung up a 300 foot wire antenna through the trees and then set up the radio equipment.

Scott KC9TNX calling CQ on 6 meters at SUHFARS Field Day 2012

By 1 pm our emergency station, running on generator power, was on the air and making contacts with other hams across the country. Our station will be operating throughout the night, testing the ability of our members to reliably communicate with others under less than ideal circumstances.
There are more than 700,000 ham radio operators in the USA and our numbers are growing. To learn more about this great hobby and indispensable public service go to ARRL.

See all the photos on the SUHFARS Facebook page. Learn more about joining SUHFARS.

Setting up our fifty foot town on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

Setting up our fifty foot town on an empty field SUHFARS Field Day 2012 Tower

Ham Radio Field Day for Amateur Radio Operators

The annual ham radio Field Days for amateur radio operators around the world is happening this weekend.

Keep your eyes open this weekend and you may see groups of amateur radio operators in unexpected places. Ham radio operators and their equipment both local and around the world will participated in the annual “Field Days” exercise. While the goals is doomsday disaster preparedness drill, it is also a day for friendship.

Ham Radio Field Day Amateur Radio Operators Field Day 2008

Ham Radio Field Day 2008 Amateur Radio Operators. Photo by davef3138 from the Crow River Amateur Radio Club Field Day event at the Hutchinson airport.

Photo by davef3138 from the Crow River Amateur Radio Club Field Day event at the Hutchinson airport.

According to the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League) Field Day is the largest on-the-air operating event in Amateur Radio with 35,000 participants. Ham operators set up their equipment as if a real emergency had stuck.

Working outdoors in tents, makeshift housing or remote locations for 24 hours. We set up antennas on the spot, some using long wire antennas strung between trees.

During the contest, participants connect with as many other operators as possible. Some will use voice channels while others use Morse code to contact others.

Groups welcome all licensed amateur radio operators to take part. Many clubs encourage the public to stop by and learn more about the hobby.

Dwindling membership of the amateur radio hobby is due to high technology computers and cell phones. I earned my first ham Novice license with call sign KB4AAG in 1980. A couple of years later, I changed my call sign to N9GYG upgraded to my current the Extra Class license.

To learn more about emergency radio.

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