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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Amateur radio operators band together for emergency simulation test – St. Augustine Record

American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) annual Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held in the U.S. and Canada.

On the fourth weekend of June each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs (hams) gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Until recently, local ham radio clubs competed against one another to make as many contacts as possible under simulated emergency conditions. In the 2018 ARRL Field Day, however, a consortium of local clubs from Daytona Beach to St. Augustine will gather together under the banner “CQ Florida” to compete with as many as 35,000 ham radio operators around the country.

Members of the Flagler Palm Coast Amateur Radio Club, Daytona Beach Amateur Radio Association, St. Augustine Amateur Radio Society, Flagler Emergency Communications Association, American Legion Amateur Radio Club 5th District and Flagler County Assist REACT Team 4800 will participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise June 23-24. The exercise will last 24 hours, beginning at 2 p.m., at Hammock Community Center, 69 MalaCompra Road, Palm Coast.

Field Day is a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies and an informal contest. During the event, many aspects of amateur radio come together to highlight its many roles. While some see the 24-hour experience as a contest, others will use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. The Field Day also provides an opportunity to demonstrate amateur radio to the organizations it could serve during an emergency, as well as the general public.

During the contest, ham radio operators simply contact as many other stations as possible and learn to operate the radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.

Hams are well-known for providing communications support in real disaster and post-disaster situations. Despite the development of very complex, modern communications systems — or maybe because they are so complex — ham radio has been called into action again and again to provide communications in crises when it really matters.

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