CQ, CQ, CQ field day…
That was the mantra heard across Long Island this past weekend as local ham radio operators took part in Field Day, an annual exercise in emergency preparedness. (CQ is an invitation for anyone hearing the signal to respond.)
You might have seen them in open fields at schools, parks, parking lots, malls; small groups of people huddled over radio equipment connected to antennas strung between trees or held up by twine.
Establishing a satellite link for long distance communication
This portable antenna can be set up in a matter of minutes
In the event of a natural disaster, extreme weather (or worse) standard means of communication are sometimes knocked out leaving amateur radio operators, hams for short, as the only link to vital emergency services.
To demonstrate their emergency operating capabilities hams take their equipment outdoors for a 24 hour period running from 2pm on Saturday to 2pm the Sunday on the 4th weekend in June. During this time they try to contact as many other hams as possible sometimes making upwards of 50 contacts per hour.
It’s nice to know that on a moment’s notice amateur radio operators can set up effective, long distance and local communication systems that don’t rely on telephone, internet, power grid, or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.
As a former ham myself, I think this is pretty cool.