Summer is coming on us quickly and with it comes the American Radio Relay League’s Field Day. This is “Ham Radio’s Open House”, and is the largest exercise in amateur radio to show the ability for radio operators to get on the air in an emergency.
The ARRL encourages Ham’s across North America to get out and set up a station without established antenna’s and power. The league also wants Ham’s to take the opportunity to show the public what we are capable of doing with our gear. This can be done in a multitude of ways; your imagination is your only limit. The goal is to educate the public on the uses of amateur radio.
The ARRL Field Day started in 1933 after being announced in the June 1933 QST. This Field Day was on the 2nd Saturday in June and lasted for 27 hours. Field Day continued year after year, and in 1936 was so popular that they did it again in August of the same year.
The bands went silent from 1942-1945 as all Ham activity ceased during World War 2. They came back with a bang in 1946 adding a VHF category. We have been having Field Day since then. Adjustments were made to the rules and dates over the years, but we kept getting on the air to show our abilities.
The goal of the ARRL Field Day is:
“To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands), and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions.”
According to the ARRL, the number of participants has been around 30,000 people each year.
The St. Louis and Suburban Radio Club also loves to participate in Field Day, and we are continuing to do it again this year. While the ARRL has a push for the contesting side of things, along with the public information, we push the social aspect of the event. Oh, we will keep score in the contest, but our goal is to get together with each other and have a great time as a club. It is just a shame that we do not get points for the potluck food we bring!
Our Field Day will be at the James S. McDonnell Park at the McDonnell pavilion from Saturday, June 23rd at 1:00 PM through Sunday June 24th, 1:00 PM. We are going to show off our ability to get on the air without using commercial power or antenna structures. I want to encourage as many of you as possible to come out and show your love for amateur radio. Plus, this is a great opportunity for our club to educate the public on why we love our hobby and why our hobby is important to them in a disaster.
This SLSRC event is open to all people. If you know someone that you have been trying to get involved in amateur radio, then bring them out and let them play with the gear. This may be the spark(gap) that peaks their interest in the hobby that you enjoy so much. Remember, you do not have to be a club member or even a ham radio operator to come see us in action. Take this opportunity to introduce someone to the world of amateur radio.
Keep an eye on our website and club email announcements for more details about our ARRL Field Day on June 23rd and June 24th.
Bill Carroll, KC9CIK