homepage logo

Local amateur radio operators to hold annual National Field Day

By Staff | Jun 18, 2019

The area’s amateur radio operators will again demonstrate their “Skill, Service, and Discovery in Radio Communications” in a field day event set for this weekend.

Members of the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club will be at the North Fort Myers Community Park, 2000 N. Recreation Park Way, this Saturday and Sunday for their annual National Field Day, which will take place over the course of 24 hours, from 2 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is open to the public and organizers encourage attendance to help mark the 60th anniversary of the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club.

John Wells, club spokesperson said they focus on skill, service, and discovery.

“Skill is required to operate the radios, but the skill is dying out. We also do service to the community. We do hurricane events and other outreach,” Wells said. “We also do discovery, new technology and new techniques.”

Wells said they were able to come up with the rudimentary beginnings of the cell phone through the technology they formulated. Even today, ham radio operators are able to do things like send e-mail without the internet, Wells said.

Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any condition from almost any location and create an independent communications network.

These operators will set up in the concession area near the football field to make contact with other operators throughout the country and the world.

“The idea is to go to someplace different and set up and operate from there. You’re not only learning to operate your radio, but also to do it without power,” Wells said. “We also set up antennas that we normally would not have.”

This year, operators will demonstrate ARISS – the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station – which was utilized to allow Lee County students to communicate with an astronaut as the station passed over Florida.

For more than 100 years, amateur radio has provided a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cellular phone or the Internet.

Since 1933, operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase their skill. More than 35,250 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day last year.

Ham radio can function completely independent of the Internet or cellular phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. This concept has been effectively applied in many emergency situations and their aftermaths.

After Hurricane Michael last year, ham radio served as the only form of communication immediately after the storm, Wells said.

For more information, visit fmarc.net, arrl.org or contact Wells at pio@fmarc.net.