Connect the world, look at the sky; Austin Amateur Radio Club hosts annual Field Day – Austin Daily Herald

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Motorists passing the Mower County Historical Society over the weekend may have noticed something out of the ordinary.

Near the entrance, next to the Pioneer Building, was a portable radio tower set up by the Austin Amateur Radio Club. The tower was there as part of the club’s annual day.

Carl Rayman works on a guidewire during the Austin Amateur Radio Club Field Day Saturday at the Mower County Fairgrounds.

“All of the amateur radio operators in the United States transmit and try to have as much contact on all the different bands on the different types of communication,” said club president Michael Hansen, who has been involved in amateur radio since. 2006.

The Austin Amateur Radio Club made contact on different bandwidths from Saturday noon until early Sunday afternoon.

Variable factors determine the number of contacts that can be made during this period.

Joyce Crowley tries to focus on a daytime show on the grounds of the Austin Amateur Radio Club on Saturday at the Mower County Fairgrounds.

“It depends on whether the groups are open,” Hansen said. “Last year was a bad year and the groups weren’t open so we didn’t make a lot of contacts. It can be 300 to 500 contacts, but if the bands are not open it can be 100 contacts. Sunspots have a lot to do with group openings, how different groups work, and how far you can travel.

Hansen said they keep track of their contacts and the method by which they were contacted, whether analogue, digital or CW (Morse code).

But Field Day had another purpose beyond making contacts.

Vince Lynch sets up his operation outside during the Austin Amateur Radio Club Field Day on Saturday.

“It helps us to be prepared for the observation and detection of storms in the community,” said Hansen. “We are organized to help whenever we can. Sometimes the sheriff’s office will call us for help with communications. Sometimes cell phone towers can be destroyed and this is the only way to communicate.

“Watching storms can get quite unpleasant at times, especially when you’re sitting there and you’re pockmarked or it’s raining so hard you can’t see,” he added.

Some members of the Austin Amateur Radio Club are the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and FCC-certified volunteer examiners who can perform license testing for amateur radio operators.

Vince Lynch uses a setup that combines the radio and computer to communicate, allowing him to type responses to other ham radio operators.

“We test quarterly to get people to get a new license or to upgrade,” Hansen explained. “The ranks are technician, which is the first step towards amateur radio, then there is the general class, then the additional class. The extra class allows you to speak on all available tapes while the Tech and General are limited to what they can talk about.

The next test session will take place in July at the Mower County Senior Center.

“It’s a great hobby,” said Hansen. “There is a lot to do in amateur radio. You can talk all over the world. (Friday) evening I spoke to someone in Hawaii. I have spoken to people in Europe, Canada, Russia, Mexico and South America. The hobby is global. There are so many options and we are always on the lookout for new members.

Hansen said that, for those interested, the Austin Amateur Radio Club runs a two-yard net at 7 p.m. on Sunday and a ten-yard net at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

For more information visit http://austinarc.org/aarc/.

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