Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association

Amateur Radio “Field Day” June 24th and 25th Demonstrates Science, Communication Skills, and Public Service

Members of the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, Inc. will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, from 2pm Saturday, June 24th – 2pm Sunday, June 25th. Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during the annual ARRL Field Day to showcase the science and communication skills of Amateur Radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

Field Day highlights ham radio’s abilities

Hams from across North America ordinarily participate in Field Day by establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations to demonstrate their skill and service. Their use of radio signals, which reach beyond borders, bring people together while providing essential communication in the service of communities. Field Day highlights ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent, wireless communications network. Some hams will also use the radio stations setup in their homes or taken to their backyards and other locations to operate individually or with their families. Many hams have portable radio communication capability that includes alternative energy sources such as generators, solar panels, and batteries to power their equipment. This year’s event is also noteworthy given that a particularly active hurricane season is predicted. “Hams have a long history of serving our communities when storms or other disasters damage critical communication infrastructure, including cell towers”. Ham radio functions completely independently of the internet and phone systems and a station can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. Hams can quickly raise a wire antenna in a tree or on a mast, connect it to a radio and power source, and communicate effectively with others”.

During Field Day 2022, more than 40,000 hams participated from thousands of locations across North America. According to ARRL, there are more than 750,000 amateur radio licensees in the US, and an estimated 3 million worldwide. Among the tenets of the Amateur Radio Service is developing and practicing skills in radio technology and radio communications, and even contributing to international goodwill. Hams range in age from as young as 9 to older than 100. A self-study license guide is available from ARRL.

Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world. Hams do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves. In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters or emergencies if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.

“We hope that people will come and see for themselves, this is not your grandfather’s radio anymore,” said Allen Pitts of the ARRL.  “The communications networks that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives in the past months when other systems failed or were overloaded.”

Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, Inc.

In Herkimer County, the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, Inc. will be demonstrating Amateur Radio in a field near the home of Hank KB2VLP and De Crofoot KB2VLO on Kilts Hill Road, Little Falls on June 24th & 25th, 2023.  They invite the public to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.

To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to https://www.arrl.org/public-service . The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. You can see what modern Amateur Radio can do.  They can even help you get on the air!

The FHARA welcomes new members that are already licensed or are interested in becoming an Amateur Radio Operator and regularly offers an FCC entry level course for Technician (no morse code required). The FHARA meets monthly, usually on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at the Herkimer County 911 Center on Lou Ambers Drive in Herkimer, NY.

Emergency Communications Training Available

The FHARA is also offering training for all levels of ARES/RACES Emergency Communications and is prepared to assist with Emergency Communications during times of Emergency or Natural Disasters on a County, State or Federal level. The newest addition to the FHARA is a 24’ Emergency Communications Trailer for assisting with emergencies when needed. It will also be used for non-emergency events such as the Violet Festival Parade, the Boilermaker 10K, Herkimer County Fair, New York State Police Pumpkin Patrol and many other public events. The trailer is available to the FHARA through a partnership with the Herkimer County Health Department. The trailer will be in use at Field Days although it has not yet been completely outfitted or had graphics applied yet. Be sure to check it out though.  

The FHARA hosts a Weekly Monday Night Net at 7pm on the frequency 145.110 (-0.6 MHZ) PL Tone 167.9. Members check in and are updated on any Association news or functions. A short Emergency Preparedness Training is usually broadcast every week as well. Any Licensed operator can participate regardless of whether or not they are a member of the Association. Weekly check-ins include ham radio operators from Herkimer, Montgomery, Fulton, Schoharie, Chenango, Otsego, Oneida and Madison Counties.

Anyone interested in the FHARA can attend a meeting or call Educational Committee Chairman, Chris Bouck KB4CMF at 1-315-429-3927 or Association President Don Peterson KD2ILO at 1-315-868-3283 for more information. More info can be found at www.fhara.net.

Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association

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