Local amateur radio gathering part of international event

By Gary Scott on June 20, 2016 at 2:51pm

They’ll be “hamming” it up at an amateur radio event in South Jacksonville this weekend.

The American Radio Relay League’s international Field Day event will be celebrated locally by members of the Jacksonville Amateur Radio Society and Illinois Valley Amateur Radio Club. More than 35-thousand radio amateurs gather in the U.S. and Canada for the event.

Local amateur radio operator Frank Anderson spoke about the event on “What’s On Your Mind?” on WLDS this morning.

“This is an annual event, fourth weekend of June, and it’s basically where all of the amateur radio operators across the United States and Canada, all get on the air, most of us get out and bring our portable and come together in our groups and stuff like that, but we make contacts across the two countries there,” Anderson says.

“It’s to get out and exercise our equipment and make contacts and show it to the communities.”

You do need a license if you’d like to become an operator, but Anderson says it’s not hard. And, he says radio equipment for starters can cost less than $1-hundred.

Anderson says one thing you’ll see the radio operators doing in particular on Saturday is “D-X-ing”.

“That’s for the guys that want to talk around the world, and make contacts. Around here, we can frequently get up into Canada and Alaska, down into South America and stuff. If we want to DX, we can get into Europe and Africa, and even out to Australia and New Zealand and places like that,” he explains.

Anderson believes there’s a resurgence with the hobby of amateur radio, and he thinks it’s got the potential to particularly be popular with young people.

“There’s no age restrictions. As long as you can pass a test, you can become an amateur radio operator. We have kids that are even in grade school, they got into the hobby,” says Anderson.

“It’s a good jumping board if you want to get into modern technology today, with computers and wi-fi and Bluetooth and your cellular phones and all that kind of stuff, it’s a real good jumping board to get into that for later on.”

The national Field Day event will be at the Prairieland Heritage Museum starting at 10 a-m on Saturday. Anderson says transmitting will begin at 1:00 in the afternoon and go on until the evening hours.

You can find out more by visiting the Jacksonville Amateur Radio Society on Facebook. For the full interview with Anderson, click below: