By Charly SHELTON
This weekend, the Crescenta Valley Radio Club will take part in an annual nationwide competition at Verdugo Park in Glendale. For 24 hours, these amateur ham radio enthusiasts will log onto the band and make contact with people from around the country doing the same.
“Once a year, all the ham radio operators in the United States practice an emergency drill,” said Mike Lichtman, president of the CV Radio Club. “We do it as a contest; it’s called Field Day. It’s been going on for decades. Basically we get points for making contacts. People can operate from home, they can operate at a park like we’re going to do, they can operate on the grid or off the grid. If you operate remotely and off the grid you get more points.”
The CVRC will set up their equipment in the north section of Verdugo Park starting around 7 a.m. and the first operators will take to the radio waves at about 10 a.m. The contest will run for 24 hours, and is based on who can get the most connections in that time.
“It’s a contest and different contests require different information be exchanged. In this case, we get their information and we give them ours, which is 2ALAX – LAX is our geographical area, 2 means we have two transceivers and the alpha means that we are off the grid,” Lichtman said.
The CVRC call sign is AD6IZ and, through this, radio operators will spend the day and night calling to other stations, exchanging the one line of information and signing off with “73 and good luck!”
For any guests in Verdugo Park during the event, Lichtman advises using caution, asking them to watch out for the equipment. If any park-goers are interested in ham radio operation, the CVRC can answer any questions they may have.
“People come up to us all the time and ask about it. We explain that this is amateur radio and, besides being a wonderful hobby with many different facets to it, such as emergency communications and developing new digital means of communication, basically it’s a practice thing and enjoyment thing. They’re welcome to stick around and, if they have a ham license, we’ll let them work a little if they’d like.”