Winter Field Day at Tellus

Members of local amateur radio clubs demonstrate a variety of emergency communications during their Winter Field Day at Tellus science museum in Cartersville.

Area radio clubs met at Tellus science museum in Cartersville for their Winter Field Day Contest.

The Northwest Georgia Amateur Radio Club of Rome and Cartersville’s Etowah Valley Amateur Radio Club faced off in the first of two annual events. The other is scheduled for June.

Amateur radio field day events are held to test emergency communications preparedness. Members demonstrated several modes, including sending and receiving Morse Code. Museum visitors could fill out a form with their name and send it in the code, which works reliably under the worst transmitting and receiving conditions.

They also used Single Side Band, which allows voice communications over long distances. Large electronic displays in the museum showed the conditions of the radio spectrum used in the event and visitors could participate as radio operators.

“One of missions of the club is to advance the general interest in amateur radio to the community,” said Alan Scheibe, vice president of the Etowah Club. “The two clubs were able to share with over 270 people during the event. Over half were young people who were genuinely intrigued by learning how to send their name in Morse Code.”

Demonstrations of Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications modes were also part of the event. Largely used for voice communications within a 60- to 100-mile radius, the modes can be used with the internet to make contact all over the world. Some museum visitors enjoyed receiving and sending a text message on their cell phones from one of the stations.

Amateur radio provides a primary communications channel during times of storms, hurricanes, and other natural and man-made disasters through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).

Club members also set up a portable station packaged in a “Go Box,” which includes its own power source and can be quickly loaded in a vehicle and transported anywhere emergency communications are needed.

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