Alachua County Amateur Radio Emergency Services Field Day
June 15, 2023
Press release from Alachua County
ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Members of the Alachua County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES(R)) will participate in the national “Amateur Radio Field Day” exercise from Saturday, June 24, through Sunday, June 25, 2023.
The Field Day exercise will occur at the Alachua County Veterans Memorial (7400 SW 41 Place, Gainesville). This event is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend. Special educational opportunities will be provided for both children and adults on both days, including videos, displays, a chance to actually get on short-wave radio, and an opportunity to send a “radio email” that will be sent out from Alachua County without using the Internet, and should be received within minutes by friends or family — or even back to the visitor’s own email account!
Visitors can participate in guided educational programs from 10 a.m. to sundown on Saturday and from 10 a.m. through noon on Sunday. The best chance to see and participate directly in short-wave radio operations is from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and from 10 a.m. until noon on Sunday, June 25. A special “Get On The Air” radio-equipped trailer in the Veterans Memorial parking lot will allow visitors to get right into short-wave radio. Tour guides will showcase four other fast-paced radio stations within the air-conditioned meeting rooms of the main building. Water and light refreshments will be provided.
ARES(R) provides a critical link in public safety communications and works closely with County and State disaster communications programs, such as the Mutual Assistance Radio Communications (MARC). The location for this event showcases the support of Alachua County’s Emergency Management Department and first responders throughout the community. Region 3 MARC unit equipment is stationed in Alachua County, and their 100-foot radio tower will be present and serving at the Field Day event.
“The Emergency Communications Volunteers are a committed group who are granted a wide range of unique capabilities by the Federal Communications Commission,” said Alachua County Emergency Management Program Coordinator Dalton Herding. “They leverage these unique capabilities to support public safety efforts across Alachua County.”
Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. The event showcases how Amateur Radio works reliably under any conditions from almost any location to create an independent communications network. Ham radio functions, completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with laptops or smartphones and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes.
Anyone may become a licensed amateur radio operator, and there are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States (as young as 9 and as old as 100). It is easy for anybody to get involved in Alachua County. Visitors will be given the chance to sign up for a free educational program put on by our group in August that leads to an entry-level FCC license and vast legal radio communications opportunities as well as service to our community.