Local radio club has a Field Day

By Alex Lloyd Gross

photo Alex Lloyd Gross Delaware Valley News.com Robert Hecht and Adam Huffnaglle work during Field Day for Penn Wireless

Ham Radio  is alive and more relevant today than ever before.  Showing that it is possible to make contacts using only emergency power , the Penn Wireless Association took part in a nationwide exercise put on by the American radio relay League called Field Day. The event was  held this past weekend  June 25 and 26  2016. It’s always held on the last full weekend in June.

The radio club, based in Levittown Pa.,  did their  part by hosting Field Day at Tyler State Park.  As curious  onlookers watched as they mowed circles in high grass and strung up masts for antennas,  it would look like they were making crop circles.  The contacts they would make were much more down to earth, with most of the people who their members talked with  set up similar stations across North America.   North Carolina, Wyoming, Virginia, Florida and Canada were frequent recipients of the clubs call.

Basically, members will set their radios on certain frequencies and call out CQ ( or is any one there). When another  station answers, the conversation is brief.  The stations call sign, how many stations and if they are being run on auxiliary power and the location.  A lengthy conversation is frowned upon  during Field Day. many stations are waiting to contact and  the radio waves might not make it to the next caller.   It changes constantly, sometimes in mid conversation.

Field Day lasts 48 hours and by that time, all of the equipment must be closed up and put away. That could take a few hours.  The Penn Wireless crew had three stations set up, running Morse Code and voice.  The curious were shown what the radio exercise was all about. By doing this,  the public can see the skills needed for making contacts in an emergency. Ham Radio played a huge part in the recent Haiti earthquake and ham operators are  pressed into action during hurricanes and  other extreme weather  situations here.

Locally, hams were used and set up a communications presence in the Bucks County  911 center during  hurricanes and floods. Penn Wireless members were part of that.

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