By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT Belvidere Daily Republican
Paul Larson, vice president of the Big Thunder Amateur Radio Club reaches out to operators elsewhere in the country and beyond.


“Field Day for the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) is held every fourth full weekend in June,” said Matthew Tracy, president of the Big Thunder Amateur Radio Club.

“We operate for 24 hours, from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday. It is a way to test the ability of amateur radio to operate in less than ideal conditions without power. We are running a simulation of a situation such as they had in Florida and Puerto Rico where the hurricanes knocked out the power and cell phones didn’t work.

“They communicated a lot with the United States by ham radio to ask for help and supplies. A lot of the amateur radio operators in the US work with emergency services.

“This weekend we are using nothing from the power or communications grids. We brought what we need with us and we will take it all home tomorrow. We held a winter Field Day [last full weekend in January] and we were able to talk with San Andreas Island off Nicaragua.”

According to the ARRL website, ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations. Field Day is a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies, an informal contest, and, fun. They will use every kind of shortwave radio, HAM device, and two-way radio available to them over the weekend.

It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities.

For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar. The contest part is simply to contact as many…

For complete article, pick up the July 1 BDR.

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