Ham Radio Field Day

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(Photo above: HIDARG ham radio operators Jeff Moore (left) and Max Vaughn operate an emergency station set up in the St. Charles Bend parking during a drill last November. This station is similar to what they will build at Ham Radio Field Day on June 27-28 | courtesy of ARRL, HIDARG and PIO DONALD SHURTLEFF)

Ham Radio Field Day is an annual event that is both a training exercise and a contest. The American Radio Relay League and the High Desert Amateur Radio Group (HIDARG) are hosting this year’s event in Central Oregon.

Ham radio operators from the High Desert Amateur Radio Group will construct a complete operating station in a remote location in Sisters.

Deschutes County has a large population of amateur radio operators. Here are some numbers. Bend: 448, La Pine: 101, Redmond: 109, Sisters: 60.

The objective of Ham Radio Field Day is to work as many stations as possible on amateur radio. The event is designed to develop skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with the capabilities of Amateur Radio.

The public is invited to visit the station on Saturday, June 27 from 11am to 8pm and on Sunday, June 28 from 8am to 11am at Creekside Park at Hwy 20 and East Jefferson Avenue in Sisters.

Ham radio operators will be available to discuss communications preparedness with people interested in knowing what they can do to stay in touch during disasters. There will be a special station available that will allow members of the public to talk on the air.

What is Amateur Radio?
When cell phones, regular phones, the internet and other systems are down or overloaded, Amateur Radio still gets the message through. Radio amateurs, often called “hams,” enjoy radio technology as a hobby. But it’s also a service –a vital service that has saved lives when regular communication systems failed.

Who are Hams?
Ham Radio operators are movie stars, missionaries, doctors, students, politicians, truck drivers and regular people. They are all ages, sexes and income levels linked by their interest in wireless communications technologies. There are more licensed American Amateur Radio operators now than ever before in history.

Why do you need a license?
While license application requirements vary by country, the Amateur Radio Service is also controlled by international law and agreements because radio waves do not stop for international borders. In its regulations (Part 97), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognizes the ability of the hobby not only to advance radio communication and technical skills, but also to enhance international goodwill.

What do Amateur Radio operators do during and after disasters?
Amateur Radio operators set up and operate organized communication networks locally for governmental and emergency officials, as well as non-commercial communication for private citizens affected by the disaster. Amateur Radio operators are most likely to be active after disasters that damage regular lines of communications due to power outages and destruction of telephone, cellular and other infrastructure-dependent systems.

How do Amateur Radio operators help local officials?
Many radio amateurs are active as communications volunteers with local public safety organizations. In addition, in some disasters, radio frequencies are not coordinated among relief officials and Amateur Radio operators step in to coordinate communication when radio towers and other elements in the communications infrastructure are damaged.

What’s the appeal of Ham Radio?
Hams are at the cutting edge of many technologies. They provide thousands of hours of volunteer community and emergency services when normal communications go down or are overloaded. All of them enjoy being creators, not just consumers, of wireless technology. Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) is a popular hobby and service in which licensed Amateur Radio operators (hams) operate communications equipment.

Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators. Ham radio stations may consist of nothing more than a portable radio…or…multiple transmitters, receivers, computers and large antenna systems.

High Desert Amateur Radio Group
Donald Shurtleff
541-771-2065
donshurtleff@earthlink.net

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