Loudoun Hams Practice Emergency Communications Skills
June 24 - 25 At Future Site Of The Hamilton Safety Center

Norm Styer - AI2C
Loudoun Amateur Radio Group
18062 Canby Road, Leesburg, Va 20175-6914
Phone: 540-338-2584  E-mail: [email protected]
WEB Site:

P. O. Box 1004, Purcellville, Virginia 20134







Ray Houff

Dennis Boehler

Carol Boehler

Tom Garasic

John Unger

Bill Buchholz



















Amateur Radio Field Day

        For one weekend each summer thousands of amateur radio operators throughout America move into the countryside and open spaces to practice their emergency preparations. For 24-hours they operate their radios under sparse conditions to test their equipment and hone their communications skills.
Field Day \feeld da\ (noun): 1) An event to test the readiness of Amateur Radio Emergency Communications; 2) A chance to meet new friends and test the limits of your favorite hobby; 3) Part of the core fun of amateur radio.

        The goal is to be there in case local communities need help in time of crisis. It may be a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, a severe storm, a flood, a spill or an explosion or any other situation which disrupts the normal communications and support structure of their communities. So they operate in tents, fixed structures, and mobile shelters with quickly erected antennas and emergency electric generators. At other times they may provide communications support in less stressful events. It may be a local 10-mile run for a local charity, a demonstration of modern electronic communications at a local school or may be support for the special community social event.

        Helping at this type of event is a normal activity for the members of the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group who will gather at the future site of the Hamilton Safety Center at the east end of Hamilton, Virginia on Saturday, June 24, 2000 for their 24-hour communications support drill. This operation is known as Field Day sponsored by the American Radio Relay League and the goal of the emergency communications operation is measured in how many other similarly situated amateur radio stations in America and Canada they can communicate with. The Loudoun Amateur Radio Group will maintain three radio stations on the air throughout the test. That will task this group of 50 or so regular members. They hope to be up to the challenge of better than last years record of over 1900 radio contacts. Each fall the Group conducts classroom training for interested radio enthusiasts to qualify them for their amateur radio licenses. This year many of the new operators who obtained their FCC licenses through this training will be there proving their new communications skills.

        According to Ray Houff of Purcellville, President of the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group, Field Day is the annual "shakedown run" for the American Radio Relay League's National Field Organization. "Field Day is a way for hams to get outdoors and have fun under some difficult conditions," Ray Houff says. "But it's also a chance to fine-tune emergency communication skills. We use generators and battery power, and we set up antennas in the field. The idea is to put together a self-sufficient, working station quickly and begin making contacts." Gary Quinn of Lovettsville, the Group's Field Day Committee Chairman, says. "But it's a chance for our newly licensed hams to get their feet wet. You never know when we may be called upon to assist in a real emergency. Several of our Group have acquired surplus military mobile communications shelters and are equipping them with ham radio gear. The Group will use its Special Club Call Sign: K4LRG to help put Loudoun County on the map."

        On a national basis, the American Radio Relay League Field Organization has been effective in establishing emergency communications nets during floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other major disasters. Members of formal emergency organizations such as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Services (RACES) regularly participate. The League estimates that more than 35,000 hams throughout the United States participate in Field Day every year.

        The public is welcome to visit the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group Field Day operating site on Saturday, June 24, 2000 from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. and on Sunday, June 25, 2000 from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. The site is located at the east end of Hamilton just east of the intersection of Route 7 Business and Route 704... Photo opportunities and interviews about the Group's activities and participants are possible. Information about this and the Group's other weekly and monthly activities may be obtained from their Internet Site at