The Milford Amateur Radio Club participated in the national Field Day over the weekend of June 22-23. MARC members set up emergency radio stations behind Meadowview Elementary School in Milford.
Field Day is a national event that takes place on the fourth weekend in June. Amateur radio operators, also known as hams, demonstrate their capabilities over a 24 hour period. The event demonstrates the effective communication of radio during emergency situations when other communication is unavailable.
“When all else is gone, all that’s left is the radio,” MARC member Carl Tulanko said.
In addition to an emergency preparedness demonstration, the Field Day also serves as a sort of competition. Groups are awarded points for the number of functioning stations, the source of power, and number of contacts made, among other opportunities.
“We normally do fairly decent with points,” said MARC Vice President Mike Ernst. “Last year I think we finished in the top ten in Ohio.”
Four stations were in operation behind the school. Two were voice operated radios and the third was a Morse code station. The fourth was a Get on the Air station. This was used to allow inexperienced community members to use ham radio equipment to make contact with other stations across the country.
Each of the stations was powered either by generator or solar panel.
MARC consists of volunteers who have made a hobby out of radio operating. These members come from varying backgrounds, from real estate agents to engineers and retirees.
The Clermont Amateur Radio Emergency Services group is also part of MARC. They respond to emergency situations where other forms of communication are down. CARES responded last year after the tornado struck Moscow, Ohio. All forms of emergency communication, including 911 services, were shut down by the storm. CARES served as the main source of communication for the area for over four days.
Ham radio communications reach all around the globe. Signals can be bounced off satellites in space to reach stations that are too far out of range for direct contact. Some stations even bounce radio signals off the moon.
Another important aspect of ham radio is the ability to send email.
“One thing we want to bring back in these disaster situations is email,” Ernst said. “That’s how people communicate now.”
Final scores for MARC’s performance during Field Day will not be available for a few more weeks.
MARC meets on the second Thursday of every month at the Faith Church on Price Road in Milford. To take radio classes or become a member, visit the MARC website at www.w8mrc.com.