Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — Amateur radio operators spent 24 consecutive hours scanning for and talking to other hobbyists during an annual field day that started at 1 p.m. June 25.
“We set up and we operate for a full 24 hours non-stop, and try to make as many contacts as possible,” Washington Area Amateur Radio Club President Mark Lukins said. “It’s practice for us on honing our operating skills and using our equipment, assembling our equipment.”
The group set up shop outside the Washington County Hospitals and Clinics for the weekend. Lukins said it was the place they’d likely be needed in a disaster.
“It’s a served agency … during the time of an emergency, the hospital can work with us on helping them acquire the emergency communications they need when other communication services are down,” he said. “We set up here as kind of a practice, that if we would ever need to be utilized, we’ve set up here before, we know what we need to do.”
While it’s a serious scenario to imagine, Lukins said the field day practice was still an enjoyable hobby.
“When we’re not doing these events and these drills, we’re just talking to other HAMs around the world,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, you make a lot of friends worldwide. We enjoy it.”
Lukins said events like the field day were a great opportunity to get in touch with the communities served by HAM radio clubs.
“Anywhere in the country, if you see a HAM radio event feel free to stop by,” he said. “Folks would love to explain what they’re doing it, why they’re doing it, and how they’re an asset to their community. We can also explain to them how they can become a HAM radio operator.”