Saturday, June 25, 2016

ARRL Field Day is Today (Saturday) and Sunday

The Hams (Amateur Radio Operators) pictured here are participaeting in the annual Field Day event which begins today and ends tomorrow.

What is Field Day? you ask.

Well, it is that very special time of the year, which always happens on the last full weekend in June, when over 35,000 Hams in the US and Canada participate in a contest to contact as many people around the country and around the world as possible. 

It is also an emergency preparedness exercise in which Hams go on the air for 24 round the clock hours using only battery, solar, or generator power instead of the usual plug in the wall commercial power.


Basically because it is a good way to test their equipment -- since this is usually how they have to operate during disasters, floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and other events when commercial power is down.

During disasters Hams set up portable antennas, power up their radios, and go on the air to help the police, firemen, rescue squads, search teams, etc.

So Field Day is a good time to check and see if 'all systems are go'.

If you are a Ham you already know about Field Day and are likely participating.

But if you are not a Ham (Amateur Radio Operator) you are invited to attend the Field Day nearest you. You will be welcomed with open arms and will be shown what is happening. In so doing, hopefully you will catch the 'bug' and become a Ham.

There will also usually be a GOTA (Get on the Air) station to let non hams Get On The Air and experience the excitement of talking on the radio.

For those who can't attend a Field Day in person but have a Short Wave radio, you might hear some of the activity as you tune the dial.

Hint: The Bands on which you are most likely to 'find/hear' the Hams will be 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meters as well as the 70 CM band.

In Tennessee, the Chattanooga Ham Club will begin setting up the Antennas, Radios, etc. Saturday Morning and will go On the Air at 2 PM EST.  The 24 hours end at 2 PM EST on Sunday.

But don't just sit by your Shortwave radio, go to one of the thousands of sites that will be up and running in the US and Canada.  You don't have to stay all 24 hours but do drop in and see what is going on.  You will be amazed.

To find a Field Day Site near you, there is a nifty 'locator' on the ARRL website.

HERE'S THE LINK to the 'nifty locater' for a Field Day near you