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Your weekend: Have a field day

Submitted by on 1, June 25, 2009 – 9:00 amOne Comment
Field Day 2008. Photo from ARCA website.

Field Day 2008. Photo from ARCA website.

Attention, radioheads: The Amateur Radio Club of Alameda and Alameda’s Community Emergency Response Team are joining forces for this year’s Field Day, and they’ll be showing off all kinds of cool gear from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 27 at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach.

Strictly speaking, Field Day is a contest designed to test ham radio clubs’ skills in an emergency. Here’s a brief explainer from the ARCA website:

For many radio clubs, including ARCA, field day is a “peak experience” that all club members look forward to participating in whether they work any other contests or not. Some of the factors, which make field day unique, are: 1. Field Day is really done in “the field”, with tents, portable radio transceivers, emergency power, and portable antennas, 2. Field day not only tests and challenges an individual operator’s communications skills (it certainly will do that), but it also test and challenges the whole club’s ability and flexibility in mounting a major effort on the magnitude that would be encountered in a major disaster.

ARCA’s Kathy Kennedy, who has been doing ham radio for the past two years under the handle “Rose,” said the event is also designed to encourage more people to become ham radio operators. She said it’s easy and open to anyone of any age, provided they can complete the training and pass a 35-question licensing test. (It’s also free, save a nominal fee for the test.)

But the two groups are also using the event as an opportunity to show off two new, gear-loaded emergency response trailers purchased with donations from Bay Farm Island businesses. They’ll also have tents set up on the beach offering a Morse Code demonstration and additional information about becoming a ham radio operator and on CERT.

They’ll also be set up to allow folks to go “on-air” to see who in America they can reach.

“Come on down to Crown Beach, and we’ll see who we can reach,” Kennedy said.

They’ll be out near the sail shed close to Shoreline Drive. For more information, call 523-1397. (And for more on the city’s disaster preparedness efforts, click here.)

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