At the Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont Field Day, South Burlington resident Doug Boehm communicates via Morse code at a tent station independent of commercial power, telephone, or internet.

Radio Amateur Field Day: Operators prepare to communicate under emergency conditions

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Thursday July 27, 2017

The Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont (RANV), a club consisting of 100 radio enthusiasts, held their annual Field Day event early this summer in Williston. An exercise in which amateur radio (ham) operators set up communication systems under emergency conditions, using power supplied by generators and batteries, the goal of the event is to set up efficient, self-contained stations and contact as many other emergency-powered stations as possible. RANV is one of the premier operations in the United States, making contact with over 4,000 other stations and finishing first or second in its category in the last several years.

According to RANV, trained radio operators are always in the forefront in providing communication under emergency conditions because in a severe disaster, all forms of electronic communication can be wiped out. That means no phone, no internet, and no electricity. During Field Day, self-contained stations are set up and participants receive real time communications for adverse conditions, be they in the form of hurricanes, floods, fires or earthquakes.

RANV membership meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m., at the Wheeler House, 1100 Dorset Street. As the group hosts a picnic in August, the next membership meeting is September 12. Each meeting consists of a mix of technical and light-hearted topics, with a refreshment break for meeting friends and making new ones. Anyone with an interest in ham radio is invited to join. For more information, call Mitch at 802-879-6589 or visit the club’s website at