The Cherokee Capital Amateur Radio Society held its annual field day event in Gordon County on Saturday, June 23, 2012, where the club set up a three alpha station, using no commercial power, to demonstrate how communication could be established, via radio, in the event of a mass communication failure.
Society President and Amateur Radio Emergency Service Emergency Coordinator for Gordon County, Felton Floyd, has been a member of the society since 1998, but has been involved with Amateur radio since 1996.
“Field day is a national event where amateurs all across the U.S. and Canada go out into the field and set up a station similar to what it would be like if we had a disaster and all the permanent facilities were damaged,” said Felton.
Instead of going to the side of a mountain, the society set up their stations at the Gordon County Extension office and welcomed visitors from 2-8 p.m. to see how Amateur, ham radio operators work.
Call sign WA6FAL, also known as Jerry Combe, the society secretary was working one station and sending calls out waiting for other stations to respond.
Combe has been involved with ham radio since 1956 and though much has changed since then, he still enjoys being a ham operator.
Society member James Howard, was operating a digital station, which used a computer and translated the many beeps and blurps coming over the airwaves into words.
The station’s antennae was set up using two pieces of 14 gauge electrical wire shot out of what could easily be mistaken for a spud gun, up over the telephone wires surrounding the building. The station set up could be run off of a car battery, but the team had a working generator providing most of the power.
Gordon County is equipped with its own trailer that can be pulled to any location, and is also equipped with its own power source.
Many members of the society are involved with other organizations that utilize their ham radio skills, outside of the club.
Mike Bryson, Treasuere of the society, and Felton are both members of the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief.
Bryson helped Rome when tornados destroyed parts of the town. Bryson explained cell phone towers were down and he, along with others utilized their ham radio skills to order saw blades to help with the downed tree removal.
“Instead of driving 10 miles one way and 10 miles back so we were able to get those parts there quickly for tree removal. That’s just another portion of what I do with ham radio,” said Bryson.
Combe and Howard are both ham radio operators for the U.S. Department of Defense’s MARS system, in which Combe and Howard serve as a direct contact for their areas in the case of a disaster or communications failure.
For more information on how to get involved or to become a ham operator, contact Felton Floyd at 770-324-9859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.