This weekend was a big day if you were an Amateur Radio operator in the U.S. or Canada. It was Field Day, when Amateurs, better known as Ham Radio operators, setup stations without using commercial power and try to make as many contacts as possible. It's held the fourth full weekend in June. While it could be considered a contest, it's actually a way for hams to test their response should an emergency happen.

I spent an afternoon with the East Greenbush Amateur Radio Club on Saturday. This was only the second Field Day I was a part of. The first one was back in the early 90's when I got my license. A couple of local hams that were old enough to be my grandfathers, kind of mentored me and took me to different ham radio events. In ham radio lingo, they're called "Elmers". I have wanted to take part in the fun, but never seemed to be around an area that was doing anything or I wasn't able to go. This year I did.

I got to the Masonic Temple on Columbia Turnpike, a little after 2pm. The calls and contacts had literally just started, and I was greeted by a member of the club. I said HI and told him who I was and then found a spot to settle in for the afternoon. I wasn't there maybe 30 minutes, when I was asked if I wanted to log the contacts. I jumped right in there and logged till the thunderstorm rolled in. We all shut down to the radios to protect them from any lightning strikes or surges of static electricity that might build up.

During the down time, I just talked ham radio with the guys there, and talked about some of the stuff I like to do in the hobby. And found out a little more about the club in East Greenbush and some of the events they do as well as about the classes they offer for people who want to get their license. It doesn't take much to get your license. Just pass a multiple choice exam at a testing session and pay a fee to the examiners, which is only $15, and the license is good for 10 years, and doesn't cost anything to renew.

After the storm had passed, the club got back on the air and made more contacts all over the country. By that time, it was around 5pm and time to head back home. So I said my good buys and headed out. But I will be returning to join the club on a permanent basis. I love being able to hang out with others who share the same enjoyment i get with pulling out a weak signal from the air and being able to talk to someone one the other side of the state or the world. If you're interested in knowing more, let me know, and I'll hook you up with someone local to you to get you more info.

73. (Best Regards)