About 25 amateur radio operators converged on the North Augusta Public Safety Station 2 Saturday for the American Radio Relay League’s annual Field Day.
Between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, more than 35,000 amateur radio operators in the U.S. tried to contact as many radio operators worldwide as they could.
Last year, members of the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club made more than 1,400 contacts, said Kevin Kingery, the club’s Field Day chairman.
“The idea for Field Day is to kind of practice what it would be like if you had to be out and operate in an emergency where you didn’t have regular power,” he said.
The club operated two voice stations, one continuous wave (Morse Code) station and one digital station, which was similar to texting but over radio frequency instead of through cell towers.
Though members weren’t required to, Gregory Godsey and his son Thomas planned to stay overnight. Each participant gets points for the number of contacts made, so it gets pretty competitive, said Gregory’s wife, Dana Godsey. Staying overnight gave them more time to accumulate more points.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about HAM radio is invited to attend Field Day, where they can try it out on the Get On the Air (GOTA) station, or learn more about the local and national clubs and get information on licensing.
Kingery said the event usually brings in more than 25 people who are not operators but are curious about it. Sometimes those people join the club, which has more than 60 members.
Thomas brought his friend, Tyler Little, 13, to hang out for the day.
Tyler said when he heard it was a competition, he expected something a little more fast-paced and was disappointed.
For Thomas, however, it’s a very exciting event.
“You sit down and you try to get people, and when you finally get one you’re like, ‘Yes!’ I’ve been sitting here for so long,” he said.