Skyline Radio Club will be ‘talking’
during Amateur Radio Field Day
By Kristi Shields
EPHRAIM—Members of the Skyline Radio Club will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day contest June 27-28.
Field Day will be held in a rural area of Sanpete County, on Skyline Drive just south of Ephraim Canyon Road. This local event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
Since 1933, amateur radio—also known as Ham Radio—has allowed people to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, said Jim Weeks, Skyline Radio Club president. Ham Radio also provides a free service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone, the internet or the National Power Grid.
Thousands of Ham Radio operators across North America have established temporary Ham Radio stations in public, rural and home locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio, Weeks said.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s reliability under any conditions from almost any location and its ability to create an independent communications network, Weeks said.
Dave Mitchell, a member of the Skyline Radio Club, said: “It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the internet and communicate with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other, but if there is an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate.”
Mitchell said the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage is that it functions completely independently, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes.
“Amateur radio would also be the first line of emergency communications should an electromagnetic pulse strike a particular area,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said Hams can use a wire in a tree as an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter, and communicate halfway around the world. Hams do this by using a layer of earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves.
“Ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down,” Mitchell said.
Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. The ages range from 5-year-olds to 100-year-olds. There are a total of three million licensed Hams worldwide.
The three different types of licenses are technician, general and amateur extra. Each license requires you to pass an examination that varies between 35 and 50 questions, depending on the level of expertise.