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  • Writer's pictureJournal Staff Report

Amateur radio operators reach out across the nation

Mine Creek Amateur Radio Club members Larry Leonard of Mound City, left, and Larry Burchett of Paola discuss software used for interfacing the computer with the radio during the club's participation in a national ham radio field day on Saturday, June 22. (Submitted photo)

LA CYGNE – Thirteen members of the Mine Creek Amateur Radio Club made contact with more than 80 other radio clubs in 30 states over a seven-hour period during a national Ham Radio Field Day on Saturday, June 22.

Beginning in the early afternoon, the club set up a field radio station at La Cygne Community Park. Sponsored by American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio, the field day provided an opportunity for members to gain experience in setting up

and operating a ham radio station in the field.

“Power sources, antenna selection and installation factor into the logistics aspect of the event,” said ARRL Kansas Manager Ron Cowan. “Other goals of this training weekend are working as a team  and operating in a field setting where conditions may be less than optimal.

Lessons learned are a big part of it.”

During set up, a cable was found to be defective. Once replaced, operation was able to begin. One of the three antennas selected for use was not the best for the given location of set up, Cowan said.

Members decided to give it a try anyway to see how it performed. As they predicted it was too close to the ground to function well. Still, it was usable for contact with Texas, Ohio and many other states.

Peggy Bryant of Centerville, left, learns how to adjust a portable antenna with Robert Jackson from Osawatomie. (Submitted photo)

Cowan said that with three operating positions set up at the pavilion, members paired up with one logging on computer and one operating the radio. Information was exchanged with the other groups using voice and International Morse Code on shortwave frequencies. This provides skill learning that may be required for a communications disaster.

This was the first time for several new members to participate in an event like this, he said. They found it to be a great learning experience not only for emergency purposes but also for daily casual operating from their home stations.

The Amateur Radio Service requires a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For new operators, the entry level exam consists of 35 questions on FCC rules, basic radio theory and operating procedures.

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