Ham operators to hold field exercise this weekend
Hundreds of amateur radio operators from around Kansas will participate in a 24-hour field communication exercise as part of an international annual event.
The Northeast Kansas Amateur Radio Club will begin setting up at noon Saturday at the Thompsonville Shelter, on the west side of the dam at Perry Lake.
Operators will be on the air for 24 hours trying to contact thousands of other operators around the United States and Canada as part of the American Radio Relay League's Field Day.
"Field Day is a way for hams to get outdoors and have fun under some difficult conditions," said Rob Nall, president of the Northeast Kansas Amateur Radio Club, referring to the potential for rain or wind during the event.
"But it's also a chance to fine-tune emergency communication skills. We use generators and battery power, and we set up antennas in the field.
"The idea is to put together a self-sufficient, working station quickly and begin making contacts."
The AARL Field Organization has been effective in establishing emergency communication nets during and after floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other major disasters.
Members of formal emergency organizations such as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the Radio Amateur Communication Emergency Services regularly participate.
An estimated 35,000 hams in the United States and Canada participate in Field Day each year.
Participants in the event must be licensed amateur radio operators.