For 80 years now, amateur radio operators in the US observe an annual event where they operate under simulated emergency conditions. A club based in Bluefield, WV traveled down to the wide open spaces of the Roland Boy Scout Camp in Bland County to sharpen their skills.
Yokanovich and about a dozen members from the Amateur Radio Club of the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum gathered Saturday at Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge to participate in a 24-hour nationwide preparedness drill sponsored by the American Radio Relay League. It's also a social event an offer an opportunity for operators to get together to do what they love.
Yellow Thunder has members ages 14-66, some who have up to 50 years of experience with ham radios.
Bob Josuweit, whose ham radio call sign is WA3PZO, is president of the Holmesburg group.
This annual field day, held as usual on the fourth weekend in June, is a contest, with bragging rights, but it's also an attempt to raise awareness of the value of HAM radio operators in case of disaster that takes out not only electricity but also cell signals. There are more than 700,000 amateur radio operators in the United States.
Ham operators used high frequency radio bands, satellite and VHF/UHF to transmit messages through Morse code, digital or voice, said Butch Eigenbrode, a Smithsburg resident who serves as the liaison between the club and the Washington County Division of Emergency Services.
"We contact as many people as we can to see how good our products are", John Aguis, a member of the Great South Bay Radio Club, said. For Field day that information consists of the operators the state and section within that state.
After a less than ideal transmission yesteryear, 12-plus members of the local club showed up in the wee hours of Saturday morning to erect a pair of unique and far-reaching antennas in lieu of the 11 a.m. broadcast that will run until Sunday morning.