Amateur Radio Field Day is Saturday in WorthingtonArea ham operators on hand for public event
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — More than a dozen amateur radio operators from throughout southwest Minnesota are expected to be in Worthington Saturday for a Ham Radio Field Day at the local airport.
The event caps off Amateur Radio Week, which is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio. The Worthington Amateur Radio Club is hosting the event.
Dan Anderson, a local amateur radio operator and district emergency coordinator for Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES), said the public is invited to the field day, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Field Day runs from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday. Anderson said amateur radio operators will be on hand to show off their ability to work under no power or low-power situations.
“We set up in a remote situation and do our thing for 24 hours,” he said. “The public is invited to come and see what we do anytime on Saturday afternoon.”
The ham radio operators will have their equipment set up at the Civil Air Patrol site at the airport, and one of two regional radio communications trucks will be on display for the public Saturday afternoon.
While Worthington has been home to an amateur radio operator’s club for many years, Anderson said the club has “been a bit dormant” recently.
“The hams have been getting older, some people pass away and drift away from the hobby, and there are no new hams taking their place,” Anderson said. “We’re doing some pretty good work getting ham radio repeaters up in the air and pushing for training and testing. We’re starting to build the ranks again from within.”
Anderson, whose full-time job as Nobles County Emergency Management director meshes well with his posts as public information officer for the Worthington Amateur Radio Club and district emergency coordinator for ARES, said he hopes the Field Day will attract more people to the hobby.
“For those who don’t have a license, they can come out and see what it’s all about,” said Anderson, who became a ham radio operator in May 2007.
Visitors may also have an opportunity to talk over the airwaves under the supervision of ham radio operators from Worthington, Windom, Fulda, Slayton and other surrounding communities who plan to take part in the event.
“With any luck, maybe some Iowa people come up, too,” Anderson said. Both Marshall and Sioux Falls, S.D., are planning Field Days on Saturday as well.
Anderson said changes in testing, such as no longer being required to understand Morse code, have made it easier for people to get involved in ham radio.
There are three different levels ham radio operators can attain; the first and most common level is that of Technician. A Technician has the basic privileges to operate on amateur radio. The second level is General, which involves additional authorization to utilize high frequency — a level that allows operators to talk to individuals across the country and around the world. The third level, Extra, opens an operator up to all amateur bands.
In addition to field day activities, Anderson said the local club will offer testing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for anyone interested in becoming a ham radio Technician or upgrading their rank to General or Extra. The testing will be offered in the Civil Air Patrol office.