Capital District Amateur Radio Operators Participating in National Emergency Exercise
Annual “Field Day” Operations to Test Communications Readiness and Skills
East Greenbush, NY – Amateur Radio operators across the Capital District and the nation will demonstrate their emergency communication skills during Field Day on June 25th and 26th. The annual event, which runs for 24 hours, allows thousands of “hams” across the United States and Canada to make contact with each other under emergency conditions which includes running their radios “off the grid” by using batteries, solar panels and generators.
“When all else fails, there’s Amateur Radio,” said Bryan Jackson, whose call sign is W2RBJ and serves as President of the East Greenbush Amateur Radio Association (EGARA). “When traditional communication systems fail because of severe weather, earthquakes or other catastrophic events, Amateur Radio is still able to communicate because it doesn’t rely on them. ‘Hams’ – as they are sometimes called – can operate their stations independently and make radio contact with other hams who are hundreds or even thousands of miles away, even under the most difficult conditions.”
Since 1933, Amateur Radio operators have annually used Field Day to demonstrate and test their emergency communication capabilities by establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations. EGARA will hold its Field Day activities at the East Greenbush Masonic Temple at 710 Columbia Turnpike in East Greenbush, NY beginning at 2 pm on Saturday, June 25th and continuing for the next 24 hours. Members of the public are invited to stop by and observe the club’s Field Day operations and learn more about Amateur Radio and how to become involved in it.
Nationally, Field Day is sponsored by the Amateur Radio Relay League – or ARRL -- the national association for Amateur Radio operators. During this year’s Field Day weekend, hams all over North America will use their shortwave radio systems to log as many contacts as possible using voice, Morse Code and digital modes.
Jackson said Amateur Radio can also be a great gateway for young people who are interested in career paths in the technology and engineering fields. The knowledge learned from being an Amateur Radio operator is now further enhanced by the many new digital and computer technologies that are now being used. There is also no age limit required for obtaining an amateur radio license, and Morse Code is no longer required, making the licensing exam easier to pass. Currently, there are over 740,000 licensed hams in the United States, with some as young as age 5 and as old as 100. EGARA administers licensing exams locally several times a year and has information available on its website at www.EGARA.club..
“Ham radio is also the original social network, using shortwave radio to bring people together all over the world,” Jackson added. “When hams seek to make contact by calling ‘CQ’ (calling any station), they may wind up talking with a fellow ham who’s across town -- or someone who is in Europe, South America, Africa or even the Far East. Amateur Radio truly brings the world together and it’s been doing it for well over 100 years.
“We invite anyone who would like to learn more to stop by our Field Day event.”