On Saturday-Sunday, June 27-28, 2015 HOTARC participated in a national annual special event sponsored by the ARRL. On Field Day ham radio operators across the country set up "emergency operations" and contact as many other stations as possible in a contest-like fashion. (Watch the 30-sec video below for a quick look.) Folks began to arrive around 9:30 AM Saturday, and starting at 10:00 AM erected an emergency operations center with three radio stations capable of world-wide communications. At 1:00 PM, we began operating those stations—without commercial electricity, continuously, for 24 hours—wrapping up operations at 1 PM on Sunday.
This year we returned to our favorite location at Hewitt Park*, in Hewitt, TX, to demonstrate our ham radio skills in action, enjoy food/fellowship with fellow hams, and welcome visitors and VIPs. Many youngsters were able to talk into a ham radio microphone for the first time to someone on the opposite side of the country—without a cell phone!
*The previous two years we had to operate from Warren Park, which yielded markedly fewer contacts. So location DOES matter!
Since this is also a national contest event, we kept records of all our contacts and will submit the data to the ARRL to see how we fared in the competition aspect of the event. Last year, HOTARC came in second place in north Texas! Check back to see how we fared this year!
We also offered Scout Radio Merit Badge training at this event. Over 25 Scouts completed the several requirements, including the radio-contact component of the badge during this event.
Here's an overhead view of Hewitt Park we used to position our equipment and vehicles. The Field Day Rules specify all radios and antennas must lie within a 1000-foot diameter circle.