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Local ham radio operators take part in Field Day weekend, invite visitors
MARK AULICK/special photo Local amateur radio operator Frank Qualls, call sign AB7HA, shows a young visitor a radio setup being used to demonstrate emergency communications across North America during the 2021 ARRL Field Day. Two area amateur radio clubs,
Local amateur radio operator Frank Qualls, call sign AB7HA, shows a young visitor a radio setup being used to demonstrate emergency communications across North America during the 2021 ARRL Field Day. Two area amateur radio clubs, STARS and SARA, will participate in the 2022 Field Day and welcome the public this weekend. (MARK AULICK/special photo)

Ham radio operators from the Statesboro Amateur Radio Society, or STARS, and the Southeastern Amateur Radio Association, or SARA, which is based in Twin City, will be participating in a nationwide amateur radio exercise, the ARRL Field Day, from 2 p.m. Saturday until 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25-26.

Some “hams,” as licensed amateur radio operators call themselves, from Bulloch and surrounding counties will set up radio transceivers, antennas and other equipment at the Bulloch County Horseman's Association Arena on Mill Creek Road. Other ham operators may set up stations in their backyards and other locations to operate individually or with their families while participating in the Field Day.

Many have portable radio communication capability that calls on alternative energy sources such as generators, solar panels and batteries, notes the STARS and SARA press release about the event. Predictions of an active 2022 hurricane season make this year’s Field Day especially noteworthy, said STARS President Mark Aulick, call sign KF4MLT.

“Hams have a long history of serving our communities when storms or other disasters damage critical communication infrastructure, including cell towers,” Aulick said. “Ham radio can function completely independently of the internet and phone systems, and a station can be set up almost anywhere in minutes.

“Hams can quickly raise a wire antenna in a tree or on a mast, connect it to a radio and power source, and communicate effectively with others," he said.

 

An ARRL event

The American Radio Relay League, which is the largest association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the United States and uses the trademark, “The National Association for Amateur Radio,” has organized ARRL Field Day events since 1933. Hams from across North America ordinarily participate by establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations to demonstrate their skill and service.

During Field Day 2021, more than 26,000 hams participated from thousands of locations across North America. According to the ARRL, there are more than 750,000 amateur radio licensees in the United States and an estimated 3 million worldwide.

 

Guests welcome

The STARS and SARA activities this field day will have four basic aspects, Aulick writes.

First, the ham operators will be practicing emergency communications set-up and operations. At the Bulloch County Horseman's Association Arena, they will have a generator on-site to supply emergency power to radios, an emergency communications, or “emcomm” trailer, a portable tower from which to hang antennas, and basic wire antennas such as might be used in an emergency. The equipment is to be set up on Saturday morning.

Second, the amateur radio enthusiasts will take part in an operating contest, trying to make as many contacts with other Field Day stations as possible during the 24-hour period from 2 p.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Third, the event serves as a fun, club activity for both the Statesboro Amateur Radio Society and the Southeastern Amateur Radio Association, and Aulick notes that many area individuals are members of both clubs. The clubs will display the joint club banner and the supply meals for the Field Day participants. They will be using the STARS call sign, KF4DG, for this contest, but they use the SARA club call sign, KJ4MKS, for shared Winter Field Day activities.

Fourth, this summer field day is an "open house" for amateur radio.  The clubs earn bonus points in the contest for activities designed to stir interest in ham radio among the public. So they are inviting people to visit the Field Day site, publish information about it on social media and engage in a radio talk show discussing Field Day and amateur radio in general.

The clubs will even have a radio dedicated to allowing non-licensed persons to make Field Day contacts, so that everyone can have an opportunity to talk on the radio.

For more information about ARRL Field Day and ham radio, contact either STARS President Mark Aulick, email kf4mlt@arrl.net, STARS President, or SARA President John Smoyer, email jsmoyer@pineland.net,  and visit www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.

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