On Saturday at Camp Catalpa Park, members of the Central Kentucky Amateur Radio Society (CKARS) kicked off the 24-hour field day in an effort to test their emergency preparedness using of their amateur radio equipment by making as much contact with other radio stations as possible.
CKARS has set up six stations under the tents and pavilions of the park. Two stations strictly used Morse code while the other four stations used voice.
The club took advantage of this event to test its ability to contact other people. Points are awarded to the club for each contact made, and bonus points can be awarded according to different criteria.
According to Byron Perkins, president of CKARS, the club has established more than 3,500 contacts with resorts around the world.
When an operator contacts a station, it records the call sign, number of operators, and location. This year, the furthest contact has been Japan.
The stations also operated on different bands depending on the time of day. For example, operators used 20- or 40-meter bands for the day, while 80-meter bands operated at night.
For bonus points, one station ran on solar energy while the others were powered by generators.
Further bonus points were awarded to CKARS for receiving a visit from a journalist and providing information packages to each station.
According to Perkins, the operators would take turns to ensure that each operator was resting properly during the 24-hour event. Operators needed sufficient rest to serve the 50 visitors who passed through the stations.
Any visitor could learn more about amateur radio, including the bands used by radios, generators that powered stations, satellites that helped radios make contact, etc. Visitors also included Madison County officials and emergency management officials, who awarded bonus points to the team.
Part of the National Association of Radio Amateurs (AARL), CKARS merged into two clubs in 1991 and has over 75 members in total. For most of the club’s existence, the CKARS team has finished first in its Field Day class in Kentucky.
However, CKARS will not know how they fared until the AARL releases the results in several months.
There are more than 775,000 licensed amateur radio operators in the United States and nearly 10,000 in Kentucky, all participating in Field Day. With clubs like CKARS, it’s easy for anyone to get involved right here in Madison County.
For more information on how to get involved, contact Byron Perkins at [email protected]