I’m writing this week’s article from a rather unusual location – in a tent, in the middle of a farmer’s field, out in the boondocks of Thompson Connecticut. Surrounding me are three other tents, a few camping trailers, four generators, a bunch of laptop computers, and over a dozen radio transceivers. Strung up in the trees is about a mile of wires in the form of antennas. The day before this was an empty field and tomorrow afternoon it will be an empty field again.
The two dozen individuals gathered with me in the middle of this field for the weekend have two things in common, we are all ham radio operators and we all belong to the Eastern Connecticut Amateur Radio Association. All across this country thousands of clubs gathered in similar locations and thousands of individuals operated from their homes. This weekend all of us Amateur Radio operators are taking part in the single largest emergency communications exercise in the world, which is known as Field Day.
Field Day is something we Amateur Radio operators take very serious because emergency communications is the heart and soul of Amateur Radio. Whenever there is a major disaster such as a hurricane or an earthquake the only communications into and out of the affected area is through Amateur Radio. We provide essential communications during medium and small scale disasters also.
For the weekend my club, which is a small club, set up five complete stations. All of the stations are completely self contained, running on either generators or deep cycle marine batteries charged by solar panels. The wire antennas are all strung up in trees by ropes. From these portable stations we were able to contact over a thousand similar stations all across the United States and many across the globe. I personally talked to France and Sotland along with 30 states..
All year round we plan for Field Day and we continuously practice our emergency communications skills and test our equipment.
Field Day is also a social event. We always have a potluck supper and we gather together all weekend just to gab. The club I belong to is one of the hardier clubs, we decided to hold our usual Field Day despite the Coronavirus.
The social aspect of Field Day allows me to combine two of my other favorite hobbies, brewing beer and engaging political discussions. Every year for Field Day I brew up a batch of Field Day Amber beer and bring it to share with everyone. It is always a big hit with the club members.
Even though we are located in New England there is a large percentage of conservatives and libertarians in our club. All sides of the political spectrum get along great in our club. The Coronavirus did not deter any of us right wingers from attending. This weekend I engaged in a great many enjoyable political discussions with fellow patriots and many liberals. Beer and political discussions go so great together,