Skip to comments.Amateur radio operators go on air for field day
Posted on 06/26/2009 12:06:22 PM PDT by BenLurkin
[H]am radio operators will test their emergency communications capabilities with amateur radio clubs across the nation this weekend.
The field day, the culmination of National Amateur Radio Week, known as the Nationwide Emergency Communications Drill, is intended to give the public a glimpse of the services amateur radio operators provide and a chance to meet the operators themselves.
"In a disaster, when phone lines, cellphones and the Internet are all down, ham radio operators will be on the job," said Jon Clark, president of the Antelope Valley Amateur Radio Club.
The club will set up at the north end of Lancaster City Park, with members manning radios from 11 a.m. Saturday to 11 a.m. Sunday.
In Palmdale, members of the Amateur Radio Club of the Lockheed Employees Recreational Club, will play host to a field day in front of the Lockheed Federal Credit Union on Eighth Street East, just south of the guard gate at the Lockheed facility. The field day begins at 11 a.m.
"It's not just about showing people what the hams do, but it's important because there's a need for more people to be involved in amateur radio," said Roberta Alexander, a Lockheed Employees Recreational Club board member.
The national event is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, a national organization for amateur radio. It originated the concept of a nationwide field day.
Amateur radio operators, better known as "hams," participate by gathering at a common meeting ground and communicating with each other without depending on outside power. They will talk with each other - across the Valley, with hams elsewhere in the state and with hams across the nation, to demonstrate forms of communicating on emergency power supply and the radios' capabilities when a disaster occurs.
(Excerpt) Read more at avpress.com ...
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When I was in the Navy and there were no cell phones Ham operators in the US ran what was called the MARS network. If you were out at sea you could connect to a ham operator in the US who would dial a loved one for you collect and you could talk for 5 minutes. They were usually the best 5 minutes of the day, God bless them.
I suspect this thread might bring in a few FR Hams.
I recognize the one of the first things to go wrong in any critical event or emergency is communications. I expect there to be many critical events in the coming months and years. Our country is falling apart and I expect it’s going to get very ugly.
Most of us have cellphones and other means to communicate and gather information, however, it seems to me that Ham radio could be of great assistance.
I would appreciate any of you Ham’s coming forward on listing or commenting on justifications for the expense and effort for a guy to get into Ham radio.
My initial thoughts are to purchase a base for my home, and portable for my boat (I do have marine radios) and vehicles.
Should I get into this, I would not seek the ability to simply talk to someone in my area, but around the world. I live near the top of a mountain and have the property to even put up a tower.
Thanks for any responses. I will be away from the computer... my wife has assigned me an outside project. ;>)
Well, I can only give you one small example. In 1992, I was living in Lynchburg, VA when a vicious squall line with 80+ mph straight-line winds tore through the entire area one Friday afternoon. Power to the entire metro area, over 150,000 people at the time, was knocked out. Emergency communications were still partially functional, but the phone lines that connected the City of Lynchburg’s emergency operations center to the three surrounding counties were knocked out, so in the case of a major problem such as a fire, it would be difficult or impossible to call the other jurisdictions for mutual aid.
One ham had a 2m VHF repeater that somehow was still working. So when the local ham club’s representatives arrived at the Lynchburg EOC (as part of the city’s emergency plan), they were requested to send people to the surrounding counties’ dispatch centers, and use that repeater to pass any necessary traffic back and forth so mutual aid could be requested in a serious emergency. None was needed, as it turns out, and the phones were back working in about 6 hours. But the hams were deployed and on station less than 90 minutes after the storm blew through.
I’ve had an Advanced class license since 1992 and I’m not active right now. But remember that this is Field Day weekend, I think I’ll drag my little portable HF rig out and charge it up, and see if I can talk to a few people.
Define what you mean by “get into ham radio.” There’s levels of involvement... from the small involvement (low power HF rig with a wire thrown up into a tree) up to moonbounce comm with 28’ dishes and 1kW power amps.
HF, VHF, UHF, SHF... there’s ham bands all over the place.
Personally, I think that given what you’ve given us, a 2M/440 dual-band rig that you could power up in the house and put into your car/truck is a great starting point. Figure a couple/three hundred bucks for the rig, you can buy whips for either the car or home and work your way up from there to directional antennas and the like.
There’s tons of used radios out there too — which keeps the entry price down on equipment.
To talk “around the world” — you’re now talking HF and HF antennas, which take up real estate if you want efficiency at all. If you have a choice whether to put money into a) bigger, more efficient antennas or b) higher power output, always go with “more antenna, higher in the air.” The reason why is that “if you can’t hear ‘em, you can’t work ‘em” is still the rule in radio, and you can’t hear any better with a bigger transmitter. There just is no substitute for “intercept area” of large antennas, especially when you’re talking HF.
Fortunately, if you have trees up on your mountain, you can make wire HF antennas quite cheaply and VERY effectively. All it takes is room to spread them out and trees into which to hoist the wire.
best bent wire
Not all of the MARS traffic consisted of phone patches. I operated Navy MARS for 20 years. (beginning in 1976) I have a certificate of appreciation from a Rear Admiral thank me for 15 years of service.
At one point I belonged to a HAM club in AZ where the “Chief” of Army MARS also belonged. Great guy.
There were some really good operators, not all retired military, but all loved the military.
There are very very few “lefties” in the HAM community. I’ll bet if you had a way to access it, there are very very few “lefties” that are engineers either.
Roger that!! There's a fairly large group of us on the South West side of Chicago that chat on 146.445 (Simplex) and you won't find an Obama supporter in the bunch.
Our nightly chat typically consists of what the a**hole in chief has screwed up that day. Granted, I'm usually the instigator and the conversation starts with something I posted on my blog, NoBamaNation
As for my station:
Kenwood TS-940SAT (HF Rig) w/Heathkit SB-220 amp
Kenwood TS-711A (2 meter all-mode) w/KLM 200w amp
Kenwood TS-811A (440mhz all-mode) w/KLM 200w amp
My "Antenna Farm"
Rohn HDBX-48 Tower
Mosley 33 Classic (10/15/20M)
Stacked Cushcraft 13B2 (2m) horizontally mounted
Diamond 2m/440 omnidirectional vertical
Solarcon IMAX-2000 (10M Vertical) Alpha Delta DX-CC Wire (10 - 80, inc. 12, 17 and 30)
I have a Com-Spec TE-32 mult-tone CTCSS Encoder on my Kenwood 940 for 10 Meter FM repeater communications. Last night I chatted with other Ham's in Los Angeles and New York on a LA based repeater. That was waaaaaay cool and finally 10M is opening up.
It's going to be a fun field day!
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CL33 is great little beam. Had one and it worked great. The capacity feed mechanism is balanced and very efficient. Very old design, but one of the best that Mosely built.
I am not as active as I once was, but it may be important again if the chaos progresses.
My favorite radio (have quite few) is my Collin 75S-3/32S-3 Pair. Have had them a very long time, but it is still the Swiss Watch. Many years ago I built a synthesizer to allow general coverage with it. This was my NAVY MARS station for many years.
I live in fly-over country in Central TX, and do not want to be in the city. My family has been in this county since 1886. I moved away for 25 years, but do not plan to move again. No stinking Commie is going to run me off.
Which is exactly why I got into it just over a year ago. Received my Technician's license in February of '08 and upgraded to my General a few months later.
Hate to say that I saw the election of "the one" coming, but I did and as far as I'm concerned Ham Radio will be the one form of communications that they won't be able to stop when they shut down the Internet (or censor it heavily.) We may be the last remaining voices of dissent sometime soon. (And I routinely take to the air and voice my dissent!)
73's, happy field day!
..I suspect this thread might bring in a few FR Hams....
I listed my base station above, much of which I got on the cheap or free. For example, my Mosley CL-33 beam was free. That's a $600 antenna that I received from another Ham who was upgrading to a different antenna. My tower was #200. The radio equipment cost me about $1,000 in total (bought at local Hamfests, silent keys, etc..
My mobile is a Kenwood Dual-Bander 2m/440 rig which cost me #250 at a hamfest earlier this year, and a Diamond dual-band antenna which I got for free from another Ham. (Ham's tend to give away lots of stuff, most of it very useful.)
But the best reason to get into it in my opinion: You meet an awful lot of very nice, very helpful people, most of which are more than happy to help you get started through either very cheap equipment, "loaners" or sometimes free stuff.
When my tower went up, I had 10 people over here helping out, doing everything from digging the 5x5x4 foot hole the base required, hepling pour the cement base, raising the tower and putting the antenna's up on top. All for the cost of free brats, burgers, hot dogs, cold beer and camaraderie.
I had always wanted to get into Ham radio from a young age (I'm 46 now) and finally did back in 2008. I've met more really good friends in the last year and a half than I think I have my entire lifetime. I think that says something about the amateur radio community.
My youngest seems to really enjoy hearing the conversations from around the world and helping dad out with my different projects. He helped me tune an antenna that we're taking up to our summer place next weekend. It took 3 hours to tune an old 2m Cushcraft Ringo Ranger including lots of measuring, math, etc.. all of which he really enjoys. It was a fun three hours for us, and once we got the antenna tuned in he had a great sense of accomplishment. (Yes, it took 3 hours because I let him do it, but it was so well worth it.)
Cq field day
CQ Field Day
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