Your community connector

Ham radio Field Day instills connection

Locations: News Published

Some think of ham radio as a relic form of communication, but that’s simply not the case, and it can serve as “a lifeline during times of need,” as mentioned on the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) website. Amateur radio is a means of communication that does not require an internet or cellular connection, and can be done from anywhere.

The Glenwood Springs-based Ski Country Amateur Radio Club (SCARC) is a friendly group of ham radio enthusiasts who communicate with other amateur operators around the world.

  • Dave Taylor thumbnail

Back in the day, amateur radio operators were not controlled and commercial and government operators often became frustrated with the radio interference, referring to the amateurs as “hams.” Despite its critical connotation, the term was adopted by amateur radio operators themselves, and it stuck.

In 1912, Congress passed the Radio Act which required amateur operators to be licensed. In 1914, ARRL was founded by Hiram Percy Maxim.

  • Film Festival thumbnail

Today, there are three forms of radio communication: voice, digital and CW (Morse code). Of course, CW was the original means.

Since 1933, every fourth weekend of June, AARL invites all ham radio operators to randomly communicate with their operators across North America. This year, the ARRL Field Day takes place June 24-25. SCARC will host fellow operators and general observers at an outdoor site near Silt.

  • KDNK thumbnail

SCARC was first formed in 1969 ahead of the 1970 ARRL Field Day. It was originally known as the Glenwood Amatuer Society. There were ham radio operators in the Valley before then, but this was the first attempt at organized activity, according to the SCARC website.

Bob Ludtke (call sign: K9MWM) is the club’s president emeritus, a title he graduated into after serving as the president for about 20 years.

  • RJ PADDY thumbnail

“It’s an emergency operation simulation,” is how Ludtke described Field Day. “Hams from all over North America participate in this. Right now there’s about 740,000 ham radio operators in the U.S. It’s the major event of the year for amateur radio.”

Because the power grid could likely be out during an emergency, Field Day operators are to use alternative modes of energy such as generators, solar panels or even wind power.

  • Carbondale Animal Hospital thumbnail

You don’t have to have a call sign to participate in Field Day. Lay people can watch, and even operate, as long as a certified ham radio operator is with them. “We encourage that,” noted Ludtke, “especially when it comes to young people.”

He added that there will be three tent-stations, one for each mode of communication: voice, digital and CW. Outside of set-up and take-down, the actual operation occurs from noon on Saturday, June 24, to noon on Sunday, June 25. Operation will continue through the night.

The communication is random, and the point is to connect with as many other operators as possible, logging each connection in computer software. “That’s kind of the fun of the event,” said Ludtke, “because you don’t know what area of North America you’re going to talk to.”

People interested in the mechanical side of things are welcome to show up during set-up which will begin at 3pm on Friday, June 23.

“We’re a very friendly group, so don’t be shy,” said Ludtke. “Walk up to anyone there and ask them, ‘What’s going on?’ Tell them you’re a visitor, and that’s absolutely enough to get to the right person.”

SCARC has a club meeting once a month, and a volunteer examiner is generally present to administer the required Federal Communication Commission exam for prospective hams. Visit for more information and a map to the Field Day site.

Tags: #American Radio Relay League #Bob Cutter #ham radio #Morse code #Ski Country Amateur Radio Club
▲Top ▲Top