The Highland County Highland Amateur Radio Association (HARA) will demonstrate their emergency communication capabilities on June 26-27 when the club participates in an annual North American amateur radio training exercise near New Vienna called Field Day.
“When a natural disaster or an area emergency causes smartphones, the internet and other electronic communications to be unavailable, amateur radio operators can serve as the bridge for civic and emergency officials to share information,” HARA Information Officer John Levo said in a news release. “Those amateur operators, often called ‘hams,’ provide free backup communications by using their own equipment for everything from the Red Cross and FEMA to the local government and public service agencies.”
During the weekend, HARA will be one of over 18,000 amateur radio clubs or groups that will set up a temporary transmitting station in public places throughout the United States and Canada to show ham radio’s science, skill and service to the communities they serve, according to HARA Field Day Co-chairman Richie Hagen.
“We use events like Field Day to make sure we can set up and operate emergency radio facilities should the need arise. Besides serving as a training exercise, our members enjoy learning how to set up our equipment and antennas in an off-the-grid location and then using it to communicate with other stations operating in similar conditions throughout North America,” Hagen said. “As some members do not have home stations, it gives them an opportunity to use different frequencies to use not only voice communications, but new digital modes and even ‘old-fashioned’ Morse Code to communicate with. Plus it’s a way to get to know other people who have an interest in radio communications and electronics.”
Levo added, “Field Day has become a tradition with Highland County hams who have participated yearly in Field Day activities since a group from the Hillsboro High School Amateur Radio Club first journeyed to Carmel in the late 1950s to operate a station on a high point behind the Chester Baldwin Farm.”
According to the sponsoring American Radio Relay League, more than 1.3 million contacts between Field Day stations occurred during the 2020 Field Day, with more than 80,000 individual amateurs participating.
The public is welcome to visit the HARA Field Day location any time during the weekend. Although set up begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, the event officially begins that afternoon, and ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The event will be held near the Snow Hill Country Club at the Levo Century Farm, 810 Levo Road, New Vienna. Signs from SR 73 will be posted.
Visitors will not only observe ham radio in action, but be given an opportunity to get on the air and contact people at similar stations across the continent, Levo said.
The Highland Amateur Radio Association is an organization of more than 130 people in Highland and surrounding counties who are either licensed by the Federal Communications Commission or have an interest in electronics and radio communications.
More information about the hobby and the benefits it provides a community can be found at the American Radio Relay League’s website — www.arrl.org — or by contacting Levo at 937-393-4951.
Information for this story was provided by John Levo, HARA information officer.