GORDON—You can count on them to be there when a disaster hits!
The Manitoulin Amateur Radio Club (MARC), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, held its annual Field Day over the past weekend (June 23-24) at the Gore Bay/Manitoulin Airport.
Jim McLean ARES District Emergency Coordinator for Albany and Killarney Districts explained in an email to the Recorder, “field day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June each year (June 23-24 this year) more than 45,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations. Field Day is a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, fun. It is a time where many aspects of amateur radio come together to highlight our many roles.”
“While some treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities,” said Mr. McLean. “It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate amateur radio to the organizations that amateur radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public.”
“For many clubs, Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar,” continued Mr. McLean. “The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions. We use these same skills when we help with events such as marathons and bike-a-thons; fund-raisers such as walkathons; celebrations such as parades; and exhibits at fairs, malls and museums-these are all large, pre-planned, non-emergency activities,” continued Mr. McLean. “But, despite the development of very complex, modern communications systems, or maybe because they are so complex, ham radio has been called into action again and again to provide communications in crises when it really matters. Amateur radio people (also called “hams”) are well known for their communications support in real disaster and post-disaster situations.”
Mr. McLean pointed out this year there were not only members from Manitoulin taking part, but members from Sudbury, Toronto and Elliot Lake among other venues came out. The members operate the field day at the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport. “We appreciate having permission to set up our equipment and operate from that location. It is ideal.”