Licensed Amateur Radio Operators, aka “hams” spent a recent weekend practicing community outreach, emergency preparedness and technical skills.
Radio clubs across the United States and Canada have taken their equipment outside to the field to run on backup power, competing for points to make contacts around the world. They also had some great food to keep their energy up for the 27 hour contest.
The first field day was in 1933, and operator FE Hardy said in a national hobby magazine: “The real purpose of this competition is to test ‘laptops’ wherever they may be available. . “
This year the W3LF Contesting Club, an organization of the Sussex Amateur Radio Club, set up their equipment in Redden Forest, just north of Georgetown. They used a shelter in the park which turned out to be a great choice as it rained a lot.
Although the rules have changed in the 88 years since 1933, the goal is still to give ham operators a chance to work under emergency conditions. In the event of a disaster, hams using generators or portable batteries that run on gasoline or solar energy can and do offer their services to local authorities.
“Field day gives us the opportunity to make sure we can meet the demands of an emergency and at the same time have fun,” said Butch Wlaschin, president of the Sussex Amateur Radio Club. “We are still compiling the results of our three stations this year. But we have worked with hams from coast to coast and all the way to Lithuania and Norway.
For more information on local amateur radio, visit sussexamateurradio.com.