Annual Field Day held for local amateur radio operators

Annual Field Day held for local amateur radio operators

Annual Field Day held for local amateur radio operators

The hobby provides a sense of community that isn't always present in today's social media exchanges. "It's a competition, but we do it just for fun", he said.

Tom Williams, a member of the Portsmouth Amateur Radio Club, says that what he enjoys most about the club is the camaraderie and the fellowship.

"That's a contact", he said smiling after a conversation in coded radio-speak over the airways and jotting down notes on the interaction. It's also a social event an offer an opportunity for operators to get together to do what they love.

The club held its annual Field Day over the weekend at the home of club President Tim Duffy on Sieg Hill in Shenango Township. "It's like another language, but I'm really glad I (learned) it, because it's been very useful", and "I think playing music-I play guitar, and I used to play accordion-has helped me with Morse code". "Before the computer phase, this was the ultimate electronics dream, to have a ham radio license", said Ben Berendts, of Marietta.

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Radios were able to operate off the grid, should the grid be down. "We'll take shifts and keep dialing and making connections to see how many we can get".

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.

"What we are doing is talking to people all over the U.S. and Canada with similar set ups", Field Day Chairman Mitch Stern said.

But, what's the difference between ham radio and the typical resources we use to communicate?

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To stay awake and energized, especially during the early morning hours, Sherwood and other members of the club had plenty of coffee on hand, as well as food and lawn chairs for as much comfort as possible. Locals hams have worked following tornados, including the big one in 1985, and phone outages, said member Joe Vaccaro. They are storm watchers for the area, an extra pair of eyes and ears for the National Weather Service.

A little while ago I had the chance to use a mobile radio with high power.

The county's mobile command center has a ham radio built into it so operators can start work immediately. "The county contacts us if they need our help". "You never know what you're going to catch".

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