Local amateurs will participate in National Field Day this weekend

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Amateur radio operators from the Statesboro Amateur Radio Society, or STARS, and the Southeast Amateur Radio Association, or SARA, will set up their equipment on Saturday morning to participate in the 24-hour national exercise on amateur radio, which will end on Sunday afternoon. .

The staging area will be the grounds of the Bulloch County Horseman’s Association Arena on Mill Creek Road. STARS and SARA members invite the public to visit as they show how amateur radio can provide emergency communications in disasters and also seek to interest others in the hobby.

On Saturday morning, amateur radio operators will erect a portable antenna tower, don a few basic wire antennas such as those that could be used for emergency communications support, and start a portable generator to power their radios on site.

“This is, after all, practicing emergency communications, so we’re going to be training with emergency power,” said Mark Aulick, president of the Statesboro Amateur Radio Society, radio call sign KF4MLT.

Then, during the 24 hour period, from Saturday June 26 at 2 p.m. to Sunday June 27 at 2 p.m., amateur radio enthusiasts will establish two-way contact with as many other stations in the United States and Canada as possible, by recording each successful call. Probably eight to 15 local licensed ham operators will participate, operating two stations but also providing a third as a “Get on the Air” station for use primarily by interested but unlicensed visitors.

Licensed Operators can help these visitors get on air and contact stations across America and potentially around the world.

“We like people to come there. … ”Said Aulick. ” Everyone is welcome. “

Local organizations specifically invited Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown, at least one member of Statesboro City Council and young people from a local explorers’ troop, Aulick noted.

88 years of tradition

Amateur radio has been around for over 100 years now, advancing with technology to enable people from all walks of life to learn and experiment with electronics and communications. Amateur radio operators also provide a free public service with disaster and emergency communication capabilities. The national Field Day tradition itself is 88 years old and dates from the first such exercise in 1933.

The American Radio Relay League, or ARRL, the nation’s largest association of amateur radio operators, continues to coordinate Field Day.

In a press release, ARRL Communications Officer David Isgur compared amateur radio to the daily use of smartphones and computers for communication, which provide ease of use for people with little or no no knowledge of how they work.

“But if there is an interruption in service or if you are out of range of a cell phone tower, you have no way of communicating,” he said. “Amateur radio operates completely independent of the Internet or mobile phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be installed almost anywhere in a matter of minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communication failure.

Amateur radio now offers a number of digital modes of operation, such as EchoLink, which works over the internet, Aulick noted. But for Field Day, operations here will primarily be through voice transmission over traditional high-frequency, or HF, bands, also known as shortwave.

The ARRL reports that there are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, ranging in age from 8 to 100 years old. More than 35,000 people participated in Field Day 2020 activities from thousands of locations, according to the ARRL.

A Field Day event was held here last year, but with limited attendance due to the pandemic.

At last week’s city council meeting, Mayor Jonathan McCollar issued a proclamation naming June 21-27 as Statesboro Amateur Radio Week and recognizing the day’s event on the ground. For more information on Field Day or Amateur Radio, contact Aulick at [email protected] or visit www.arrl.org.


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