Training event planned at Waupaca’s South Park
By Angie Landsverk
From noon Saturday, June 27, to noon Sunday, June 28, members of the Waupaca County ARES-RACES Group will participate in the event.
It will take place in Upper South Park, by the new pavilion.
“The public can stop by. It is geared toward them,” said Jess Landre, who is a member of the group.
The local organization of ham radio operators volunteers to provide primary and supplemental communication to government agencies, private disaster response organizations and other nonprofit organizations in the county.
Kent Pegorsch is also a member and said the most common way in which they volunteer is for storm spotting, particularly during the summer.
The group meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month, in the lower level of the Waupaca County Courthouse.
Field Day gives amateur radio operators the opportunity to set up their radios in a setting and see how many contacts they are able to make throughout the world.
“It’s a good chance for our group to test our equipment to make sure it will work on emergencies, like weather events or any other natural disasters,” Landre said.
Charles Clark said Field Day is a competition.
“You get points, depending on the type of contact you make, the frequency,” he said.
Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day.
It is a way for them to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio.
Amateur radio is sometimes called ham radio and for more than 100 years has allowed people to experiment with electronics and communications technologies while also providing a free public service to their communities when there are disasters.
Ham radio functions independent of the Internet or cellphone infrastructure.
It is able to interface with tablets or cellphones and may be set up just about anywhere in a matter of minutes.
The purpose of Field Day is to demonstrate how ham radio operators are able to work reliably under any conditions and from almost any location to create an independent communications network.
Last year, more than 45,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day.
Some amateur radio operators set up in lighthouses. Others do so in mountains.
They may throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter, and communicate halfway around the world.
There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, ranging from ages 5 to 100.
People may email W9SBU@WaupacaCountyARES.org and visit www.waupacacountyares.org to learn more about Field Day and Waupaca County ARES-RACES.
Landre said there are many areas to specialize in within amateur radio.
He joined the group a little more than a year ago.
Landre said he was prompted to join after an annual fishing trip in northern Wisconsin, where there was not always the best cellphone reception.
“So I decided to explore ham radio and am happy with the results,” he said.
Landre said Field Day will be an informal event.
“Whoever wants to come, come,” he said. “You don’t have to be an operator to come.”