Saturday June 28th may be just another lazy day in the summer to most, but to the members of the recently formed Hancock Amateur Radio Association (HARA), as well as for ham radio operators across the country, it will be their annual Field Day Exercise. More than just "Let's have a picnic and operate ham radios in a field", the annual Field Day prepares hams for those times when disaster strikes, taking out basic telecommunications infrastructure.
"When an Emergency Manager can't get a dial-tone, he starts looking for his ham operators to get emergency messages dispatched", says Harold Gillim, president of HARA. "The club has been working closely with County officials to have hams in the Emergency Operations Center, fire stations, and wherever needed during emergencies". Many of the places where the hams operate during emergencies have no permanent facilities, so the inventiveness of the hams in setting up their equipment and antennas becomes very important. "That's where Field Day comes in," says Gillim. "The American Radio Relay League (the national association of ham radio operators) sets the date of Field Day when hams all over America can practice the skills necessary for when we do this for real."
Club members also provide information to the National Weather Service office in Louisville during severe weather through the Amateur Radio "SkyWarn" program.
The public is invited to visit the HARA Field Day Station at the Hancock Emergency Operations Center in Hawesville, located at 655 Hawes Boulevard (old Hwy 60 across from the water tower). Visitors will see ham radio in operation, and will be able to ask questions about the hobby. Most aspects of ham radio will be demonstrated from continent spanning High Frequency radios, to hand held units for communicating around the county. The Field Day operation begins at 1:00 p.m. Saturday and will continue into the evening.
Anyone can become a ham radio operator by passing an exam administered by radio club members. Club members will be on hand to answer any questions the public may have about ham radio, and how to get a ham license. Further information can be obtained by calling (270) 295-7204 and asking for Harold Gillim, or check the Internet athttp://www.qsl.net/ky4hc/.
Submitted by: Jim Mason W4RCX
Telephone: (270) 926-5430