The Highland Amateur Radio Association will participate in the national training exercise Field Day

Courtesy of John Levo
Highland Amateur Radio Association

Those writing amateur radio history will note that “hams” have been transmitting from “the field” since radio experimentation began in the 1800s. In 1933, the national amateur radio organization, the American Radio Relay League, officially held an event to teach amateurs how to quickly deploy communications equipment, set up temporary radio stations, and provide communications in the event of an emergency or natural disaster when normal means communications are lost or overloaded.

During these exercises, hams operate from tents or other structures in public parks, agricultural fields, or local government emergency operations centers. Normally these locations are off the grid. Therefore, hams turn to generators, batteries, and solar to power their equipment.

While it is not known whether early Highland County amateurs participated in these early Field Day exercises, it is known that area hams began participating in the annual event from late June to late 1950s when a group of Hillsboro High School goers traveled to Baldwin Hill near Carmel. to participate in the event.

In the early 1960s, a group called Rocky Fork Emergency Net operated for several years out of Peach Mountain in Adams County. Since those days, local hams have held these practice drills at various locations around the county, including Fisherman’s Wharf, the County Fairgrounds, Liberty Park, and at a location south of Hillsboro near WSRW.

Although to some this may seem like a reason to “get on the radio”, it has a very serious purpose. Aside from the fun and social aspects of the event, training amateurs on how to select the best site from which to establish radio communications, the types of equipment and antennas to use, and how to communicate effectively with representatives of government and social agencies remain of paramount importance. in emergencies when radio amateurs are required to establish or back up communications or provide radio support in shelters, hospitals or operations centers.

Additionally, Field Day gives amateurs the opportunity to use equipment, antennas and modes of operation that they may not have available at their own home stations. Additionally, it also gives hams the chance to meet face to face with those they are talking to live.

Members and their families will enjoy the club’s traditional Field Day picnic on Saturday evening.

On Friday evening, June 24, members of the Highland Amateur Radio Association (HARA) will travel to the Field Day 2022 site near New Vienna to begin preparations for the official start of the event at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. Then they will return to the site late Saturday morning to begin setting up the tents, stations and antennas.

At 2:00 p.m., the generator will be turned on and, over the next 24 hours, contact will be made with the hundreds of similar operations across North America. Contacts will be established by voice, CW (Morse code) and digital transmission. An attempt to make contact with the International Space Station is also planned.

Anyone interested in seeing the operation or learning more about amateur radio is encouraged to visit the Field Day site anytime during the weekend of June 24-25. The event takes place at the Levo Family Century Farm, 810 Levo Road, New Vienna. It is located near the Snow Hill Country Club.

The Highland Amateur Radio Association is an organization of over 140 Federal Communications Commission-licensed amateur radio operators who live or work primarily in Highland County. For more information on Field Day or amateur radio, go to www.arrl.org. Local participation information can be found on the Club’s Facebook page or by contacting [email protected] or HARA’s Chief Information Officer, John Levo, (937) 393-4951.