PARKERSBURG - Hundreds of amateur radio operators will work around the clock Saturday and Sunday to set up field communication stations, get on the air and contact thousands of other operators in the U.S. and Canada as part of the American Radio Relay League's Field Day
Ken Harris, director of Wood County Emergency Communications, said Field Day is the annual "shakedown run" for the ARRL's National Field Organization.
"Field Day is a way for ham radio operators to get outdoors and have fun under some difficult conditions," Harris said.
"But it's also a chance to fine-tune emergency communications skills. We use emergency power such as generators and batteries, and we erect emergency antennas in the field. The idea is to put together a self-sufficient, working station quickly and begin making contacts," Harris said.
The AARL Field Organization has been effective in establishing emergency communications systems during floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other major disasters.
Members of formal emergency organizations such as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) regularly participate.
The ARRL estimates more than 35,000 hams participate in Field Day every year.
Wood County Emergency Communications Field Day operations will be 4.5 miles up Laurel Creek Road off Old St. Marys Pike.
Participants will begin setting up at 6 a.m. Saturday with operations scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and end at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The public is invited to attend, observe, ask questions and participate, Harris said.