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story.lead_photo.caption Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista Bella Vista Radio Club members operated a wide array of radio units, including analog and digital.

The Bella Vista Radio Club had a field day on Saturday, June 23, at Metfield Pavilion.

Public information officer Ron Evans explained that this provides the club with a chance to show off members' skills as FCC licensed HAM radio operators, introduce members of the general public to radio operation and practice setting up arrays, with numerous antennae set up in the fields surrounding the pavilion.

"It's really more than a hobby, it's a public service," he said.

While the licensed operators in the club largely enjoy what they do, he said, they're also ready to provide emergency communications in the event that traditional communication channels, like phone lines and internet access, are knocked out.

Tornadoes in Joplin a few years ago, he said, showed that cell networks can be disrupted, but a radio with electricity from the grid or a generator can always reach out.

"We're using tried and proven technology," he said.

The club includes people interested in operating as well as do-it-yourself enthusiasts who like to build their radio units.

The field day, he said, started at 8 a.m. and everyone got to work building antenna arrays. They finished building at about 10 a.m. and began transmitting around 1 p.m., going a full 24 hours. The arrays were taken down after transmission stopped at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Evans said that the club has tried to make this an annual affair, though this is the first time the club has had a field day in a few years.

Club president Glenn Kilpatrick said that this is the one chance the club gets in a year to show off its work, in addition to good practice.

"It gives us a chance to practice what we preach, so to speak," he said. "We have a lot of fun."

The club meets at the Highlands Christian Church, 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month, he said, and provides operator tests the second Saturday of each month.

One relatively recent club member, Sheila Katz, said she joined because her husband, Alan Katz, is a member.

She isn't licensed yet, but she's studying for the test. Despite not quite knowing the ins and outs, she said, the meetings have been a good time with excellent speakers who are easy to understand.

And while it may take some time, Katz said, she fully intends to pass that test.

"There's always going to be challenges," she said.

General News on 06/27/2018

Print Headline: Ham radio operaters have a field day

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