Three Licking County Amateur "ham" Radio clubs will participate in Field Day 2013, set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and end at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23.
Field Day is an annual exercise during which radio operators set up portable stations in parks, malls and other public areas away from their permanent home stations. For 24 hours, they try to contact as many other Field Day stations as possible.
The Columbus Radio Enthusiasts Society will operate from the southeast corner of Infirmary Mound Park, south of Granville on state Route 37. The Newark Amateur Radio Association will operate from the top of Horn's Hill, north of Newark, and the Central Ohio Operators Klub, Extra-Novice will be at Four Church Farm on Ballou Road at Fairview in southeast Licking County. Each group will start setting up equipment Saturday morning in order to have the station operational by 2 p.m.
Members note that amateur radio isn't just a hobby; it's a public service licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. Radio operators must pass a test to earn a license. They often have shown that Amateur Radio can maintain communications during emergencies such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes when power is out, cell phones don't work or are overloaded and the Internet is not available.
Field Day is free and open to the public. Operators say the best time to visit is Saturday afternoon. No advance notice is necessary. Anyone who wants to make on-the-air contacts can do so with the help of a licensed club member.