The annual Amateur Radio Field Day is again at hand. (June 28-29, 2014) 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.
This is an excellent opportunity to get to know the radio amateurs in your area. Whether you are interested in the hobby or not making contact with the people near you that will be communicating in disasters is a good idea. It doesn’t matter whether the disaster is a naturally occurring event or one created by humans. There are many things that can (and do) happen to disrupt the communications grid. Where the cell phones, cable television, internet, and other service fail, the amateur radio community will still be communicating over a wide range of bands and modes.
If you will be in southwest Arkansas on field day weekend the WB5SPA Spa Amateur Radio Association is holding it’s field day at 401 Mid America Blvd in Hot Springs on June 28, 2014.
To find a Field Day station near you use the ARRL Field Day Locator .