The 2017 ARRL Field Day has come and gone and reports of how stations and clubs did during the event are starting to circulate. As usual, this year’s Field Day fell on the fourth full weekend of June and went from 18:00 UTC on Saturday June 24 to 21:00 UTC on Sunday June 25. We participated in a little bit of class 1D operations but did not have a lot of spare time to make contacts within that window.
For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the ARRL describes Field Day as “ham radio’s open house.” Tens of thousands of hams throughout North America set up temporary stations in public places to demonstrate the science behind, skills involved with, and service provided by Amateur Radio operation. The ARRL says that the event “combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event” and calls that event, which has been going on since 1933, the most popular event in ham radio.
Many local hams and several local clubs participated in this year’s Field Day event. Speaking on KY4KY B.A.R.S. club performance, club president Buddy Sohl shared that, despite some early equipment issues, their stations, which were in operation for 95% of the total Field Day time, concluded with more than 1700 contacts made between CW and SSB. W4CN A.R.T.S. club secretary Glen Gawron Sr. shared that their operation included more than 650 contacts, mostly in phone mode, but also in CW and PSK31 modes.
More than just an excuse to hang out with fellow hams or a fun exercise, the annual Field Day operations are just that – an exercise of amateur radio operating abilities. As with any other perishable skill, this one must be exercised to keep it in shape. Portable, field-expedient stations set up for this event somewhat simulate the types of stations that might be set up in times of disaster, during which traditional forms of communication are often overburdened to the point of being unusable or knocked out completely. During such situations, the skills, resourcefulness, and resiliency of these radio operators and their equipment provide a vital lifeline of communication between emergency operation centers, and between those affected by the situation and their loved ones or responders outside of the affected area.
If you worked Field Day 2017, let us know how you did in the comments below.
If nothing else, this shows the power of amateur radio as a worldwide communications tool and how certain government actors can see it as a threat to have reliable, infrastructure-free communication available to the people.
As the coup – which has now resulted in a third of the Turkish military being “jailed” – was unfolding, I saw at least one Turkish station spotted on dxwatch. Although I could not hear the station, I was able to listen in to the emergency net on 20M controlled by an Israeli operator whose callsign I won’t post here.
How enforceable this is is up for debate, but I would imagine that consequences would be harsh for anyone caught seeking to operate without their now-revoked licenses.
Update: Some sources are now reporting that the announcement below regarding revocation of licenses in Turkey does not affect amateur radio operators.
Source: Turkey gouvernement revokes 3213 ham radio licenses:
(the linked post has now been updated to reflect that the information about ham licenses being revoked has been disproved)
It has been confirmed by Supreme Council of radio and television of Turkey (RTUK) the news that Mr. Erdogan – the president of Turkey has revoked 3213 national ham radio licenses. The HF radio in Turkey is now silent. No transmissions are allowed.
Following the coup d’etat – of July 5th – many things are changing in Turkey. TV , Radio licenses have been cancelled and this involved also our colleagues : ham radio amateurs. The number of amateur radio operators in Turkey is not too much, but according to the site TRAC.org it looks like that around 3000 licenses have been revoked. Who’s transmitting outside turkey without licence should be considered a pirate – said Mr Erdogan.
The Supreme Council of radio and television of Turkey (RTUK) has cancelled the licenses of over 20 radio and television broadcasters as well ham radio operators.
The Telsiz ve Radyo Amatörleri Cemiyeti (TRAC) is the national non-profit organization for amateur radio enthusiasts in turkey. The TRAC was founded in 1962 as the Türkiye Radyo Amatörleri Cemiyeti, adopting its current name in 1980. It’s located in Istanbul, with branches in 44 locations across Turkey. TRAC is the national member society representing Turkey in the IARU. Now, it has been closed down.
We look forward to have news from Turkey ham radio league.
FEMA will be trying out their next-generation alerting capabilities today when they issue an internet-based test message through the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) based IPAWS system. CAP Messages delivered through IPAWS are used to drive numerous alert systems, including supplementing over-the-air Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA – formerly Commercial Mobile Alerting System or CMAS), overhead highway signs, and more.
This test message will not go out over NOAA’s Weather Radio system but will be delivered electronically to CAP-enabled equipment, including many cell phones (depending on settings).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct a test of the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) this afternoon for Kentucky around 2:30 PM EDT, 1:30 PM CDT. This test WILL NOT involve NOAA Weather Radio, but you may get the message on your cell phone via the Wireless Emergency Alert System (EAS). The text of the message will be very similar to that used with the EAS Required Monthly Test messages.
One crucial aspect of the Amateur Radio Service is emergency communications. When disaster strikes and infrastructure fails, ham radio shines. From local to long distance communication, the knowledge and equipment that radio amateurs bring to the table is invaluable.
When cell towers go down, traffic handling systems can quickly relay information to friends and family across the nation or around the globe. When the power is out, hams know how to run their rigs from alternative power sources. When disaster relief teams show up, practiced radio amateurs know how to efficiently coordinate their communications to ensure that aid is given where it is most needed. As such, ham radio and Red Cross often go hand-in-hand (in fact, I even took my ham radio license exam at the Red Cross in downtown Louisville).
However, a recent report from Pro Publica’s Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger and NPR’s Laura Sullivan indicates that Red Cross operations might not be running at quite such a high level of efficiency.
Top Red Cross officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it,” Rieckenberg says. “They were not interested in solving the problem — they were interested in looking good. That was incredibly demoralizing.”
Read more at The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster.
Seeking reliable backup communication in a crisis, emergency managers are finding new solutions in an old technology: ham radio.
“It’s just another avenue, another opportunity for us to be able to communicate,” said Herb Schraufnagel, public safety captain with Emory University Hospital Midtown.
Emory HealthCare is among a growing number of hospital systems to adopt ham radio. Hospital administrators and government officials took a lesson from Hurricane Katrina, which left some Gulf Coast medical centers isolated from the outside world, as landlines and cell towers failed.
When power, phone and Internet services go down, a battery-powered amateur radio and portable antenna can provide that crucial link to the outside world. Continue reading on FoxNew.com