The annual Amateur Radio Field Day is at hand. (June 22-23, 2013) It is held the 4th weekend in June here in North America. Other regions have similar exercises on various dates. This has been going on since 1933. There are well over a thousand stations that will be operating around the region with participation by over 30,000 amateur operators.
Field Day is one of the largest single emergency preparedness exercises in the country. There are a wide range of Field Day stations participating in the event ranging from stations set up under tents in remote areas running completely off “Emergency Power” to operations inside Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs).
The use of rapidly deployed stations are greatly encouraged because in real emergency situations commercial power and other vital infrastructures are often disrupted. This valuable practice prepares amateur operators to effectively respond and operate in emergency conditions. When the grid has been damaged by disaster conditions the emergency response often uses amateur radio communication to save lives.
There is an integrated contesting component to Field Day. The goal of the contest is to make as many contacts with other stations during the contest period. This serves to familiarize the operators participating with communicating across various regions using different bands. This is also an excellent opportunity to exhibit the capabilities of amateur radio to the public. Follow this link for the Contest Rules.
To find a Field Day station near you use the ARRL Field Day Locator