(BLOOMINGTON) – On the fourth weekend of June every year, more than 35,000 amateur radio operators, often called hams, get together with their clubs or friends to set up and operate ham radio stations to practice emergency communications from remote locations. It’s called Field Day and is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League.
Bloomington Amateur Radio Club (BARC) will host Field Day on June 22-23 at Flatwoods State Park on Flatwoods Road. It’s just west of Ellettsville, just east of McCormick’s Creek State Park. (Turn south on Flatwoods Road off State Road 46 at Richard’s Small Engine Repair.) There is no charge to enter the park or to attend Field Day and the public is invited.
Activities begin after 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22 and end 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23.
Those attending will see how amateur radio works and is used in emergencies. Try the “Get on the Air” radio station. Field Day is a picnic, a practice for emergencies, an informal contest, and fun!
Besides practicing emergency communications – operating radio gear in abnormal and non-optimal conditions – the contest goal is to talk to as many other ham radio stations across the US and Canada as possible. BARC members use these same communications skills at the Hilly Hundred and fundraiser marathons and walk-a-thons such as for the American Cancer Society – all large, preplanned, non-emergency activities.
Despite very complex modern communications systems—or maybe because they are complex—ham radio is called into action again and again to provide communications in crises. Hams are well known for communication support in real disasters. In Monroe County, BARC members often provide assistance to the Salvation Army and Monroe County Emergency Management office, and aid the National Weather Service in Indianapolis during storms and severe weather by holding emergency radio networks and offering assistance of trained weather spotters.
What is amateur radio?
Often called “ham radio,” the Amateur Radio Service has been around for 105 years. It’s a worldwide community of licensed operators using the airwaves with every means of communications technology.
Ham operators range are youth to grandparents. Most are typical folks who enjoy learning and being able to transmit voice, data, and pictures through the air to unusual places, near and far, without depending on commercial systems.
The amateur radio frequencies are the last remaining place in the usable radio spectrum where an individual can develop and experiment with wireless communications. Hams not only can make and modify their equipment but can create new ways to do things.
For information about ARRL Field Day contact Jimmy Merry at 812-391-2661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.