Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

ARRL Field Day a Success

The Orange Amateur Radio Club conducted another success field day on Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25, at the American Red Cross building in Orange. The local amateur radio operators made numerous contacts with other members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) from around the nation.

The ARRL Field Day is conducted annually the fourth weekend in June. Thousands of radio amateurs gather with their clubs or groups in the United States and Canada to make radio contacts with fellow radio operators.

This annual event is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that amateur radio might serve the community in case of an emergency. The ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of the radio operators annual calendar.

Four radios were setup at the American Red Cross in Orange. Nine members of the Orange Amateur Radio Club used the radios to make over eight hundred contacts with other locations in the North American continent.

The youngest radio operator in Orange is Eli Holloway who is 12 years old. Eli's father Mike Holloway is also an amateur radio operator and was the inspiration for Eli to take up the hobby.

Eli responded, "I always wanted to do something that isn't a video game or binge watching stupid TV. It's something fun, it's relatively easy, and there's a whole bunch of different stuff you can do with it, a whole bunch of different ways you can go."

Eli and Mike made several contacts during the Field Day. "Eli has his own station in his bedroom that he can operate separate from mine. Additionally, the station we're operating on today (Saturday, June 24) is my emergency go kit that either one of us can operate on the fly," Mike described.

Longtime amateur radio operator Bill Crawley greeted visitors to the American Red Cross facility to show them the radio equipment and explain how the instruments operate. Crawley shared with those novices that stopped by the enjoyment of amateur radio and answered their questions concerning getting started in amateur radio.

One of the four radios used on the Field Day actually communicated with outside stations using morse code. One of the radios used very high frequency for close contacts within a 50-mile radius and two more radios were setup to communicate worldwide or basically across the country during the field day.

The number of contacts vary every year on the Field Day. Crawley explained, "It really depends on what the radio propagation is. Radio propagation changes during the day and into the night even late at night. The areas of where you can make contacts change and also radio frequencies change with the sunlight and the change in the atmosphere."

A relatively new innovation in amateur radio is using computers with the radio. "Radio is fun, and then computers are fun, but when you combine the two it makes a powerhouse. You can do a whole lot of fun things when you combine the two together," Andrew Hopkins exclaimed.

Hopkins has been an amateur radio operator for about seven years, and the radio hooked up by Hopkins used morse code to send messages. Hopkins said using morse code has its advantages because you can hear signals that are lower powered and is more reliable in a noisy environment.

Contacts made by the Orange Amateur Radio Club officially began at 1:00 PM on Saturday. In just the first two hours 113 other radio clubs from 26 states were contacted by the club in Orange. The Field Day concluded at 1:00 PM on Sunday with 836 contacts made with operators from every state, six Canadian provinces, and Puerto Rico.


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