Ham radio operators to hold field day Saturday

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In past years, the radio club operated from Sunset or Woodland Parks on Field Day, and usually came in first in its class in Iowa and first or second in the Midwest Region for stations operating "in the field". Dickinson County area "hams" will join thousands of Amateur operators showing their emergency capabilities this weekend. See ham radio in action by visiting Wilton EMS headquarters between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The event is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, a national organization for amateur radio operators, and locally by Lee County Emergency Management. Mingling usually begins around 6:30 p.m., Bechtel said.

According to Kutzko, the Field Day event is a great way for those interested in ham radio to participate in the hobby that promotes a variety of scientific disciplines, and can be an important tool in the face of disaster and emergency situations.

"We encourage all comers", Ian said, again noting that no license is necessary to make a contact using the GOTA station.

"We may not talk to anybody on board, but they have automated systems that we will be able to talk with", Gregg stated.

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Club members maintain the Wyandotte Repeater, which extends the distances that radios reach to allow for emergency communications, and provides communications support for a number of local events such as the Metro Grand Spring Tour. "Field Day demonstrates ham radio's ability to work reliably under nearly any conditions from any location and create an independent communications network".

"If you think cell phones and the internet have made ham radio outdated, think again", said Chuck Brew, vice president of the CCECPSCO.

Clubs and individuals set up gear and temporary antennas away from home using emergency power sources such as batteries, portable generators, solar panels and anything other than household power.

Field day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. "In that time, it's grown into a worldwide community of licensed operators using the airwaves with every conceivable means of communications technology". "There are over 750,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100", Fisher said.