Photos by Charity Maness/Fall River County Herald Star
Ernie Rolls, of Custer, and Lon Seaboldt, of Hot Springs, didn’t let a little rain dampen their enthusiasm for the world of ham operating as they eagerly awaited their first contact to log.
By Charity Maness
EDGEMONT – The Ham Radio Field Day began in 1933 and is an annual amateur radio contest held the last full weekend in June each year with more than 40,000 amateur radio “ham” operators participating and open to the public.
Radio operators from around the Black Hills set up temporary transmitting stations in Edgemont to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. The event combined public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event with a focus on encouraging emergency communications preparedness
“When the time comes,” said amateur radio operator Lon Seaboldt, of Hot Springs, “we will be there.”
Seaboldt built his first radio in his garage in 1936. His interest never waned, it only grew and he finally became licensed in 1984.
Ernie Rolls, of Custer, has been an amateur radio operator for eight years.
“I do it for the fun,” said Rolls, “and to help other people learn about it. But it is a hobby for me.”
Rolls was operating a fixed antenna with a battery in the trunk of his car as a power source.
Other operators were using an antenna that could be rotated.
Bands accepted for the event were: 160-, 80-, 40-, 20-,15- and 10-Meter HF bands, as well as all bands 50 MHz and above.
Additionally, allocated portions of the radio spectrum are set aside for non-commercial use with regulations administered by the Federal Communications Commission.
The field day competitors log in the number of contacts they make throughout the exercise to highlight ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent, wireless communications network.
To become a ‘ham’ operator, a person must pass an exam on electronic theory, operating practices and governing regulations. Once this test is passed it allows the ham operator higher power limits than CB, FRS or GMRS, specialized antennas, multiple operating modes and many frequencies.
In a press release from Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, spokesperson for The National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL) which represents amateur (or “ham”) radio operators across the country, he stated, “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. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage. In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters or emergencies if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”
For more information on Hot Springs ham operators visit https://k0hs.com/repeaters/