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posted: 6/16/2012 8:57 AM

Radio amateurs to test their skills at Field Day

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Submitted by McHenry County Emergency Management Agency

The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services, a division of the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency, will participate in Field Day from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 23, and from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, June 24.

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The Field Day station will be in front of the McHenry County Government Center, 2200 N. Seminary Ave. in Woodstock. The public will have an opportunity to operate official Field Day stations and learn firsthand what ham radio is all about.

Field Day is 24-hour annual exercise sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the National Association for Amateur Radio. This is an opportunity for federally licensed radio amateurs to test their skills and equipment in the field by making radio contacts and using various modes of communications with other operators all over the country.

Amateurs have a long history of providing emergency communications when normal systems are overloaded or offline. One example was Hurricane Katrina when ham radio was the only viable communications mechanism in the disaster area. In cases like this one, radio operators are quick to respond with their own equipment and at their own expense.

As the name implies, field day is an exercise held outdoors using generator power. It is meant to simulate disaster conditions where commercial power would not be available. In addition, the exercises simulate the same challenges the operators would face in a real disaster scenario.

Over the weekend, amateur radio operators will be demonstrating various radio techniques ranging from classic Morse code all the way to more modern digital and satellite communications. Several clubs in the area will even be experimenting with TV signals and microwave communications equipment.

For more information, call the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency at (815) 338-6400 or visit website www.mcraces.org. American Radio Relay League field day information can be found at www.arrl.org/field-day.

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