published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Ham radio Field Day to be held at Istokpoga Park
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- When there's an emergency in your neighborhood, who are you gonna call? In this case, it just might be members of the Highlands County Amateur Radio Club.
The "hams," as they are known, will be out again this weekend off U.S. 98 at the Istokpoga Park to "make ready" and test their preparedness skills in case they are needed in the wake of a natural (or man-made) disaster.
The event actually is billed as a competition. The Field Day exercise is a national event, where similar clubs across the nation and around the world gather to set up shop then make contact with each other to see how things would work should the need arise.
In past years, the local organization has made as many as 1,200 contacts in a 23-hour period.
In the aftermath of a disaster, communications can become difficult, especially if the power grid goes down. That's where amateur radio club members get a chance to shine. There are those who even use solar generators to power their broadcast units to reach out and touch other stations to get out and exchange information.
"Our slogan is 'When All Else Fails - Ham Radio Works,'" said club president Frank Sealy.
This year's Field Day will get started officially Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. and run until Sunday at 11 a.m. with club members broadcasting using both voice and digital computer-linked stations which communicate keyboard-to-keyboard.
"This is not your grandfather's ham set anymore," Sealy said.
In addition to making as many contacts as possible, club members say they want to show off their stuff in a user-friendly environment. Not only will members of the public be able to meet the men and women of the club and learn more about the equipment and how it's used, one operating station will be reserved for the public.
"This is a chance for people to try the hobby when there are lots of people on the air," said Sealy. "A newcomer can talk to a half dozen locations in just a few minutes.
A "GoTo" or Get On The Air unit will be available for those who want to talk (or type) on the amateur radio bands.
The club meets the third Monday of each month in the Bert J. Harris Agricultural Civic Center beginning at 7 p.m.
Small Banner Ads