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Amateur radio enthusiasts participate in 2022 field day

The 24-hour event began at 1p.m. Saturday, June 25.

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Mike Anderson sits with his equipment as he prepares for the annual American Radio Relay League Field Day on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at Hawkeye Point Campground north of Sibley, Iowa.
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SIBLEY, Iowa — Set up in a small black tent near Hawkeye Point, several amateur radio enthusiasts participated in the annual American Radio Relay League Field Day on Saturday. Beginning in 1933, the event has grown today to more than 40,000 amateur radio operators throughout North America constructing temporary transmitting stations in public places during the 24-hour event.

“It's kind of an open house for hams to be able to come out and kind of see what things are like and what we do and ... get an idea of what ham radio is about,” explained Mike Anderson, president of the Northwest Iowa Amateur Radio Club. “At the same time, it's also a national and international contest where we try to contact as many people in 24 hours as we can in other countries and across the United States.”

During past field days, Anderson has made contact with people in Russia, Slovenia, and Puerto Rico — to name a few. It’s an event he calls incredibly widespread, and a great opportunity for newcomers to the hobby to really see what it’s all about. With his setup, containing a battery he built himself, it’s even possible for Anderson to contact the International Space Station.

In addition to being a contest and “open house,” the field day also serves as an opportunity for hams — or amateur radio operators — to test both their skills and equipment in the field.

“We bring out all our portable equipment,” Anderson said, gesturing to the table laden with a laptop, battery box, radio and more. “And part of it is to prepare in case there would be an emergency or something where we need to go in and be able to contact because the phone lines are down and whatnot, that we would be able to help out and get messages out to people and call for help.”

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Anderson got into radio about three years ago and has since secured his general license, which grants some operating privileges on all amateur radio bands and all operating modes and opens the door to worldwide communications. It’s the second level of licensing available, which Anderson took a written examination and answered questions to get. Anyone can get a license, as long as they take the exam and can comprehend the material, Anderson said.

“Radio, it does a lot,” he adds. “It’s weather study, mathematics, electronics, space, you know, with the satellites and whatnot. I mean, it's got a niche in it for just about anybody's interest.”

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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