Amateur Radio Field Day A Great Success At The Fairgrounds
Amateur radio operators from around the Estes Valley competed in their second annual Field Day test of emergency communications readiness on June 27 and 28, 2009. Sponsored by the Estes Valley Amateur Radio Club, this year’s activities featured four stations run either on battery or gasoline generator power for a 24 hour period from the east side of the Stanley Fairgrounds. The main purpose of this exercise was to test the ability of radio operators and their equipment to respond to a local or national emergency by quickly setting up portable stations to carry out communications when regular systems are overloaded or not functioning.
Since the 1930s “ham” radio operators have provided emergency communications in response to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, human made disasters, such as the attacks on the World Trade Center, and major forest fires. The Field Day event, held each year for nearly 80 years, annually attracts more amateur radio operators than any other communications event nation-wide.
Nearly 40 participants helped the Estes Park stations contact 670 stations in 49 states, most Canadian provinces and several foreign countries; 341 contacts were made by International Morse Code and 329 contacts by voice communications. The number of contacts was more than double the number made the previous year. In addition to providing an information table, several public officials viewed the operations and interested parties were given tours of the stations.
One station was operated for beginning amateur radio operators and another made five contacts while transmitting very low power and operated on a car battery. A highlight was the operation of the International Morse Code station by Bill Richards, a World War II veteran who served in the Asian Theater in the 413rd Signal Company. He communicated using five word secret coded messages he sent and received at Hsing, China and near Calcutta, India.