Amateur radio enthusiasts gather for annual contest in St. George – St George News

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ST. GEORGE- Amateur shortwave operators gathered at Dixie Technical College over the weekend to enter the annual “Field Day” competition to see which group could make the most contacts in North America in a 24-hour period. .

At the 2021 Amateur Radio Field Day contest with members of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club, St. George, Utah, June 26, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Beginning at noon Saturday and ending at noon Sunday, members of the St. George-based Dixie Amateur Radio Club gathered in a room at the Dixie Tech Emergency Response Training Center where a number of amateur radio stations were busy. Each station was connected to antennas outside that the radio operators had erected before the official start of the competition.

“We are contacting stations across the United States and Canada,” said Ric Wayman, former president of the local amateur radio club and supervisor of this year’s Field Day event.

field day was started in 1933 by the American Radio Relay League and had 169 participants at the time. Decades later, the annual event is estimated to involve up to 40,000 people across North America. The Dixie Amateur Radio Club has been involved since 1985.

“I was there,” Wayman said. “This is our 36e consecutive year. »

There are no major prizes at the end of the contest beyond bragging rights for next year, Wayman said, adding that one of the purposes of the event is primarily for fun and entertainment. educating participants on the use of the radio, as some of them are newcomers.

One of the antennas used by the Dixie Amateur Radio Club during the 2021 Field Day Amateur Radio Competition, St. George, Utah, June 26, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We’re happy to share this hobby with anyone,” said Dave Merrill, current president of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club. Although the club has 120 members, he said there are many amateur radio operators throughout the county.

During the contest, the radio club contacted 49 states and eight Canadian provinces. The only state missed was Louisiana. In addition, contacts were made with Australia and New Zealand along the way.

By the end of the competition, the club had earned 2,146 points before any bonus points, Wayman said after the event’s conclusion. In the past, one group has scored more than 300,000 points, he said, but that’s largely due to running around 30 radio stations and gaining a wealth of contacts. The local radio club ran three stations for this year’s contest.

The results of the contest won’t be known until December, according to the American Radio Relay League’s website.

Being an amateur radio operator is a lot of fun, Wayman said, adding that anyone can get into it, regardless of age or background.

At the 2021 Amateur Radio Field Day contest with members of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club, St. George, Utah, June 26, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

One of the club members present at Field Day on Saturday night was 14-year-old Ryan Seegmiller. He and members of his family got into the hobby after buying a jeep that already had an amateur radio installed on it.

“I love talking to people,” Seegmiller said.

The furthest contact he said he made by radio so far was with another ham operator in Australia.

“You can do it for fun. You can do it at the end of the world, like in an emergency,” he said. “It’s great fun anyway.”

Wayman said a motto of the amateur radio club is: amateur radio when all else fails.

In recent years, there have been radio advertisements acknowledging the help that amateur radio operations can provide in times of disaster.

The City of St. George also recognized the local contribution of amateur radio operators. Last week, Mayor Michele Randall read a proclamation declaring June 21-27 “Amateur Radio Week.”

“We really appreciate Mayor Randall and what she has done for amateur radio in the community,” Wayman said.

Local amateur radio operators have helped the town meet its communication needs for more than 20 years and have regularly participated in annual events like the St. George Marathon, he said. The local club also assists the city and county in disasters near you and maintains a presence at the Washington County Emergency Services office.

Ed. note: Ric Wayman is a weekend editor for St. George News.

Click on the photo to enlarge it, then use the left-right arrow keys to browse the gallery.

Copyright St.George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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