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Field Day 2006

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Field Day Saturday, JUNE 24, 2006 In Brewton, Alabama.

On Saturday, June 24, 2006. The Brewton Amateur Radio Union (BARU) had Field Day at the Brewton City Park under the Gazebo. The stations were set up by  Johnny (K4VMT), Leon (N4RTT) and Chris (KI4GGH). Johnny set up a CW (morris code) radio that was solar. YES, Solar. It was also low power and it worked great. It was something to see. Good Work Johnny.  

Turn your Speakers On.
 
The PSA that is playing now was played on the local radio stations promoting the WB4ARU Field Day in Brewton. The PSA was created by Allen Scofield ( KG4CNA) from Opp, Alabama. Thanks Allen.
 
 

The following article is from The Brewton Standard: 
 
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fingers do the talking...

Story and photos by Kerry Whipple Bean

Scott Hillman tapped out a rhythm with his hands, a low-tech text message system that is becoming a lost art.

Hillman, a member of the Brewton Amateur Radio Union, needs just a little bit of sunshine, a homemade radio and his skill with Morse code to talk to people far beyond Brewton.

“This is a homemade station. The slang for it is ‘homebrew,'” said his friend and fellow club member Johnny Miller, pointing out the complex system of wires built into a small Whitman's Sampler tin.

Using the solar-powered radio and Morse code - the system of dots and dashes developed in the 1830s for the telegraph - Hillman and Miller can communicate outside Brewton in any emergency.

But usually they do it just for fun.

“You talk with your fingers,” Miller said. “We're just having fun.”

Miller and Hillman sat Saturday beneath a bright umbrella at the city park, taking part in the annual amateur radio Field Day.

The event links amateur radio operators around the country and around the globe in an event designed to practice for communications needs during disasters.

Hillman, who can tap out 25 words a minute, began using Morse code about 30 years ago, when he operated “traffic nets” - meetings among radio operators - to help servicemen overseas communicate with their families.

Two and a half years later, Hillman got back into radio communications as a hobby.

“It's just a passion,” he said.

Meanwhile, technology had left Morse code and CW - continuous wave operators - behind, with the soaring popularity of cell phones and the Internet.

In fact, Miller said, the military recently abandoned using CW for ship-to-shore communication.

“Technology has passed CW, but it's still fun,” Hillman said.

Still, with Morse code abbreviations known the world over, CW operators can communicate with anyone - no matter the language.

And although cell phones, e-mail and other forms of communication may be more technologically advanced, emergency situations spotlight the need for radio operators like Hillman and Miller.

When Hurricane Ivan slammed Brewton in 2004, the amateur radio club's repeater - the tower that helps relay signals between radio operators - stayed in operation throughout the storm. And the club members helped a visiting Baptist volunteer group communicate among members who were doing different tasks throughout the community.

That's because the sense of community among radio operators across the country can help the Brewton community in times of need, Hillman said.

“All we've got to do is put a call out, and people come in,” he said.

The following article is from The Brewton Standard: 
 
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Radio operators enjoy hobby for many reasons

By KERRY WHIPPLE BEAN - Publisher

Amateur radio operators can communicate with people in other countries who speak many different languages - and their reasons for doing so are often just as diverse.

David Martin, who has been a radio operator since the mid-1970s, understands the desire to communicate around the world. With a radio, he said, “you don't need a road” to travel.

“That used to be what I'd do,” he said, “nothing but talk all over the world.”

But with work responsibilities eating into his free time, Martin spends most of his communications with fellow members of the Brewton Amateur Radio Union.

“It keeps me in contact with them,” he said.

Likewise, Charlie Metcalfe enjoys the camaraderie that comes with radio communication. A newcomer to Brewton five years ago, he renewed a long-held radio operator's license and was contacted by a local club member.

“He's been my best friend ever since, as have all these other people,” Metcalfe said, gesturing around the city park.

On Saturday, members of the Brewton club got together for the annual Field Day, an event that links radio operators in a test of their emergency capabilities.

But it's also an opportunity for them to have some fun.

“On a day like Field Day, anybody can use any bands,” Metcalfe said.

Radio operators must obtain a license from the Federal Communications Commission, and those on different levels can use different bandwidths.

Radio operation takes a deft touch, whether it's using the dot-and-dash system of Morse code or the slow tuning of a knob to catch the right frequency.

Outsiders might hear just a lot of static, but radio operators can cut through to the voices.

“You get to where you can hear through all the other noise, like a mother hearing her baby cry,” Metcalfe said.

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