Five men spent Saturday afternoon and most of the night in Greater Ottumwa Park trying to make contact with other amateur radio operators across the USA and Canada and Sunday morning they were back at it.
Howard Thompson, with the Germantown Fire Department explained. The 24-hour event is primarily an exercise to demonstrate that the participants can set-up and operate a portable radio station in the event of an emergency that disables electronic communication. "We've seen it go down on several occasions, and the radio operators can perform their duties without any of the modern conveniences around".
Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, according to the National Association for Amateur Radio's website. All equipment in use Saturday afternoon is owned and maintained by members, whose motto is, "Ham radio works when other systems don't".
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Ham radio operators are amateurs with licenses from the Federal Communications Commission. "We're only missing a few section in Canada and they're not the heavily populated ones", said Hawk.
On the subject of why they're called ham radio operators, Christovich insisted it had nothing to do with ham. Members of the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club, which covers Aiken County, are participating in the exercise and taking shifts during the weekend. I used it to learn about the coverage of our local repeater, but also to hear what the effects were when two local radios were both using the same repeater and high power at the same time.
The practice is a hobby that could be used should other means of communication be impacted during a disaster.