Radio groups sets to speak to the world during annual field day

By Meg Olson

The Point Roberts Amateur Radio Club (PRARC) is gearing up for its second annual field day, adding some new challenges for its members and hoping to connect with even more and further distant radio operators than at last year’s successful inaugural event.

“Each year, the fourth full weekend in June, a regional field day is held to test the ability of ham radio operators to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness, and demonstrate the skills needed to quickly set up a radio station independent of the electrical power grid, and effectively run it for 24 hours under unusual conditions,” said PRARC president Raye Newmen, adding, “Points are given for the type of station you have and the nature and number of contacts made during that period.”

Last year, setting up the station at the community center, the club was ranked 27th out of 73 regional participants, which Newmen said was a good showing for their first time participating. They also joined the winter field day and ranked 2nd in the region. This year the event will be at the Shell station parking lot to challenge members with a new location. Club members start setting up June 21 for an 11 a.m. start on June 22. They will run the station until 11 a.m. the following day. The public is encouraged to come by and see how the station is operated and learn the role the club plays in the community.

“The purpose of PRARC is to provide a reliable alternative communications system that is available during emergencies to support first responders, community shelters, and to serve as a lifeline to outside agencies when help is needed and nothing else is working,” Newman said. “We proved our worth during the declared wind storm emergency last December, by collecting situation reports from mobile patrols and the community center shelter, then providing the information to fire chief Carleton so that he could direct his resources to where they are needed most.”

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