Every June, more than 40,000 ham radio operators throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places for International Field Day.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s science, skill and its service to our local communities and beyond. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933 and remains the most popular event in ham radio.
Field Day is a combined picnic, campout, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, fun.
This year, the Comox Valley Amateur Radio Club will be conducting Field Day at Filberg Park in Comox. Beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, Field Day runs for 24 hours.
While some groups treat it as a contest, others use the opportunity to practise their emergency response capabilities, demonstrating the capabilities of the Amateur Radio Service to organizations that amateur radio might serve in an emergency, and to the general public.
Field Day is one of the highlights on the ham radio calendar, and that includes the Comox Valley Amateur Radio Club, too. The contest part involves contacting as many other stations as possible, and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.
We use these same skills when we help with events such as marathons, fundraisers such as walk-a-thons, celebrations such as parades, and exhibits at fairs, malls and museums. These are all large, pre-planned, non-emergency activities.
Despite the development of very complex, modern communications systems — or maybe because they are so complex — amateur radio has been called into action, again and again, to provide communications in crises when it really matters. Radio amateurs are well known for their communications support in real disaster and post-disaster situations.