Amateur Radio Operators Complete Field Day 2021 Emergency Exercise In Wake of COVID-19 Wrightwood, California – June 27th, 2021 – The last full weekend in June is a big one for tens of thousands of amateur radio operators all over North America. It is the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day weekend, a combination emergency-preparedness exercise, public relations event, and club get-together. Clubs and individuals tune up their power generators and charge their batteries and get on the air to make radio contacts with other participants. It’s normally a pretty big deal for the Zuni Loop Mountain Expeditionary Force (Zuni Loop MEF) -- an amateur radio club comprised of members from all over Southern California. This exercise for the Zuni Loop Group marks the 37th year that they have met at the Table Mountain Campground above Wrightwood, California. These intrepid "hams" seek to exploit radio technology and augment their emergency communications skills as a service to the public. In an ordinary year, the activity involves the participation of 20 amateurs.
However, like last year's event, this year’s club event sought to exhibit caution in the wake of the receding COVID-19 situation. The ARRL relaxed the rules as it did in 2020 by allowing ham club members to operate from their homes or at a common site, whichever they preferred. While last year most of the Zuni members operated from home, five hams met at the campground as it has done since 1984.
In both cases, the Zuni Loop MEF hams operators set up temporary stations including a low-power (5 watt) transceiver (transmitter/receiver combination) and a temporary antenna. To power the transceiver, batteries only were used to simulate emergency conditions. During critical situations, the hams are prepared to recharge the batteries using a solar panel thus extending his capabilities and alleviating the need for any commercially generated power.
To make contacts, the Zuni hams used a variety of different modes, including voice and digital communications. They also used Morse code which, despite being considered outmoded, is a very efficient way to communicate especially when low power is being used.
One of the objectives is to ensure that his equipment will be operational, and should a real emergency occur, and that they can send and receive messages.
2021 marks the 83rd annual Field Day event. It was started in 1933 by the ARRL, the national association for radio amateurs, and has been held every year since then, except for years of 1942 – 1946, when amateur radio was suspended during WW II. There are currently more than 750,000 licensed radio amateurs in the U.S., who donate the equivalent of millions of dollars per year providing emergency and public service communications. Here are some pictures of Zuni Loop MEF operations.
|KM6TNT operates with all the com forts of home|
|K6WHP 15m/20m/40m operating tent|
|Past Zuni Loop 20m operating position|
|Past Zuni Loop
20m operating tent