Local radio club hosts field day event

Staff Writer

COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Amateur Radio Club took part in the American Radio Relay League's (ARRL) annual Field Day on Saturday at the Whitley County 4-H fairgrounds. After getting all of their equipment set up, they began transmitting and receiving transmissions at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon and continued until 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 
The event served numerous purposes for both members and the community. The event brings together the local radio amateurs and also members of the community that may have an interest in the Ham radio field. 
The event is also used as a contest, challenging each club to make and log as many contacts as possible over the 24-hour period. 
According to the club Vice President Steve Hollzinger, the club was able to establish contact with 49 of the 50 United States. The only one they were not able to make contact with was Alaska. 
There are many different kinds of radios that Ham operators use. At the event, they had different stations set up around the fairgrounds.
For this years field day, the group had three of their stations up and running during the 24-hour duration. One of the stations was the UHF (ultra-high frequency)/VHF (very-high frequency). Another station was the HF GOTA (high frequency get on the air). Another station was called the HF (high frequency) SSB (single-sideband). This station was beaming with activity, members huddled around the device, one speaking on the microphone, another logging the contacts into a laptop computer.
For some, Ham radio may be their hobby, but it is also has the potential to save lives. Operators have helped authorities establish communication in times of emergency. Hurricanes, flooding, and other forms of extreme weather all have the potential to knockout means of communication. It is at this time that Ham radio operators can come in and open up lines of communication to assist the agencies in need.
They do not need cellular towers or an internet connection in order to function. Some do not need there to be a dedicated power source as they are set up to run off of a generator or solar panels.
If you are interested in learning more about Amateur radio, make sure to stop by their next club meeting. Club meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month in the lower level of the Peabody Library from 6-8 p.m.