Amateur radio operators set up for the annual field day at Northfield Center

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The Nordonia Hills area was ‘radio-active’ the weekend of June 26-27 when ‘HAM’ radio members of PrepNet, a local emergency preparedness group, took part in the annual Field Day event of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

Field Day began in 1933 and has grown into an annual event with nearly 40,000 amateur radio operators participating that year across the United States, its territories and Canada.

The purpose of Field Day is to simulate operating radio stations under emergency conditions and to contact as many other stations as possible. It also allows experienced operators to teach beginners and educate the public about this wonderful hobby and its rich history of public service.

AJ Kuches (KE8OMG), 13, with Vince Kapsandy (W8VRK).

Seven licensed operators from Northfield Center and Sagamore Hills, aged 13 to 72, operated three stations continuously for 18 hours. The stations were installed in the Northfield Center Gazebo. Confirmed voice and Morse code contacts have been established with 47 states, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and 5 Canadian provinces.

The stations were so well received that several foreign countries made contact with the group, including those in Europe, Africa, South America, the Canary Islands and a rare contact with the Balearic Islands of the Mediterranean Sea.

Paul Buescher (N8HHG) on the air with the Balearics.

Early Sunday morning, the group waited for the International Space Station to pass overhead in the clear, dark sky. When spotted, a handheld radio was used to transmit a signal to activate a Russian radio repeater aboard the station, which was used to attempt further Field Day contacts.

Amateur radio has always stepped in when all other communications have failed under emergency conditions. This Field Day event was the fourth time the PrepNet group honed their technical skills away from their home stations. They are ready, willing and able to use these skills to help the communities of Nordonia Hills and beyond, whenever the need arises.

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