Well, Winter Field day was a success! We had a good a good turn out of more than 20 and we had good food. The weather was awesome. We made some contacts, played with some pretty cool radios and Andy made some awesome antennas.
Our next event is Winter Field Day. For those who aren’t HAMs or just aren’t familiar, we have field day once a year in June which is an opportunity to get on the radio and make contacts with people all over the world. A few years back a group decided to start a winter field day as well so now we do it twice a year. We have many members who aren’t HAMs, but all are welcome. If you just want to come and watch and socialize that is fine. If you are interested in trying out using a radio someone will sit down with you and let you make contact with someone. This event is for everyone, members and non-members, HAMs and non-HAMs. There will be some food and drink and several radios to play with. For HAMs, feel free to bring your own equipment if you like, but you certainly aren’t obligated to do so.
For more information about field day, go to: https://www.winterfieldday.com
We will meet Jan 25th at 3 Mile Canyon at the park on the river which is apparently known as Quesna County Park. A map and directions follow. We will set up at 7AM, we will likely be on the air by 9AM, and the official Field Day Event begins at 11AM. Feel free to show up anytime throughout the day.
Many of our members are Amateur Radio Operators. Many interested in our group are as well. We have been asked by both members and perspective members why we use GMRS. It boils down to this. HAM radio is great. It’s a great resource and we all love it, but it’s not for everyone. Some people don’t have the knowledge, skill, or desire to get a HAM license. We of course encourage everyone to get one, and will help in any way we can. But GMRS is a great alternative.
GMRS is a paid license, not an earned. You simply pay your money and fill out a form and you have a license. To become a HAM, you must take a test and learn a lot of information. It also is a great resource because one license covers your whole family for 10 years.
Once licensed it’s quite similar to the HAM resources we use locally. We can put up repeaters, we can use 50 watt mobiles, we can even use CTCSS/PL Tones.
We do everything we can to include all of our members in everything we do. Communications is a large part of our mission, but we want to be as versatile with those communications as we can be. We us other methods as well.
It’s important to note though, that you must have a license to use GMRS. The rules have changed a lot lately, but there are rules which must be followed. Some like to demean GMRS as something for kids or something that which is on the fringe of legality or even that it is a lessor method of communication. HAMs (myself being one) can be stuck up at times toward other methods of communication such as GMRS, FRS, CB, etc. Our group frowns on this mentality. We try to practice and teach all methods, because in a true emergency, you never know what you might need to use.
In a true emergency you use what is available and has the best chance of getting through to deliver your message. All bands will be crowded in an emergency. Each has it’s power restrictions as well as limitations based on frequencies.
So being a transplant there are a lot of things I have had to learn about living out west. Because our country is so large winter weather is different for all parts of the country. The west is unique in some ways, but no matter where you are from you have to be prepared for various winter hazards.