Some of you might have seen a few of my live YouTube broadcasts this past weekend and wondered what the hell I was doing. I was participating in an activity that more than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the United States and Canada do with their clubs, groups, and friends on the last full weekend of June each year: Field Day. The official operating times for the event are 1800 UTC Saturday to 2059 UTC Sunday.
There are many aspects of amateur radio and one of them is emergency communications. In the event of a natural disaster or national emergency, amateur radio operators become the backbone of the communication system, allowing first responders to focus on what they are trained for.
The purpose of the weekend is for radio clubs and individual operators to break out their equipment and put it and their operating skills to the test. In addition to testing equipment and operations, it is also an open house to teach the general public about amateur radio.
In years past, I have participated with a radio club hosting multiple transmitters. In other years, I have gone camping with a few friends and we have operated as individual stations. This year, because of COVID-19, I just operated from the air-conditioned comfort of my home.
If you are interested in becoming an amateur radio operator and need some help on where to start, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @OtherTimDavis. If you would like additional information on Field Day, please check out the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) Field Day website: http://www.arrl.org/field-day.