Ham radio operators having a field day

Field day activities are bringing together amateur ham radio operators on the radio waves this weekend.

Karl Erbland of Tiffin and Michael Lacumsky of Oak Harbor, both ham radio operators, participated in the field day with a setup at Miller Conservation Farm Saturday.

“We have set up three stations. We’re out practicing today,” Erbland said.

Erbland said he thought field days had been occurring since 1938 and said the sponsor is American Radio Relay League. The event involves ham radio operators going out into the field and contacting other operators throughout the country and Canada.

“(Lacumsky’s) operating a digital station. We’ll be doing some messages probably,” he said.

The 27-hour event continues until 2 p.m. today, and the public is able to stop at the site to participate.

Other sites for ham radio operators to gather are Greenlawn Cemetery and Seneca County Fairgrounds. Erbland and Lacumsky were going to try to communicate with ham operators in more than 80 areas, and Erbland said they would be talking to them in Ohio and into Alaska and Canada.

Erbland said that during the field day, ham radio operators would discuss just about anything. They mostly discuss their stations and what new things they are doing, he said.

At the conclusion of the weekend, ham radio operators are to submit their records, and a computer is to sort them and confirm the operators communicated with others.

“We get points for that. The more stations you work, the more points you’ll have,” Erbland said.

Ham radio was set up to assemble people knowledgeable in communication to use a radio and radiowaves to provide enjoyment and emergency services, Erbland said. Operators also use television and other methods of communication, he said.

Ham radio operators help during times of severe weather and emergencies.

They have worked out of the county’s emergency operations center during a flooding situation, and Erbland took damage and weather reports during Hurricane Katrina.

Erbland said Seneca County has more than 200 ham radio operators. Lacumsky said there is no age requirement.

Erbland recalled being a 13-year-old resident of Fostoria and knowing a man who lost his vision. Despite being blind, the man could install antennas and had no fear of climbing.

“He knows what he’s doing. …Disability has nothing to do with anything,” he said.