Here we are. Another year and another Field Day is upon us.
What is Field Day?
Field Day according to ARRL, (Amateur Radio Relay League), is “…..ham radio’s open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.”
The main objective is to “work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions” (http://www.arrl.org/field-day).
This year, Field Day for Calhoun County will once again be held at the Calhoun County EMA Building in Jacksonville, Alabama, at 507 Francis Street West. Starting at 18:00 UTC on Saturday, June 23rd, and going until 20:59 UTC on Sunday, the EMA will be available for amateur (or ham) radio operators to not only practice their radio skills, but to also help educate the public about the hobby and its benefits during times of emergencies and natural disasters.
One of our main goals is to set up a GOTA (Get On The Air) station for anyone who is unlicensed to make contact with other amateur radio operators around the country. We want to show people in this age of internet and cell phones, this hobby, which has been around since 1896, is still alive and going strong. In fact, in this modern digital age, ham radio is the ONLY form of voice communication that will work in times of power failure or natural disaster.
Just this past year, amateur radio operators from our area put the skills they’ve learned to the test when Jacksonville, Alabama, and the campus of JSU was hit by an EF-3 tornado on March 19, 2018. Many hams volunteered their time to set up stations at strategic zones to help provide communications between emergency personnel, clean up crews, and Net Control that was stationed at the EMA. Without this valuable service, getting help to those in need would have been difficult.
If you’re an amateur radio operator and you’ve never participated in a Field Day event, go to www.arrl.org/field-day, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on Field Day Site Locator to see if there’s Field Day Event near you. If you aren’t a licensed operator and are interested in becoming one, go to your local Field Day Event and check it out. Amateur operators are always happy to tell you about this hobby and will help steer you in the right direction should you decide you want to test for your license.
73 and see you on the air!