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Amateur Radio Field Day on June 25-26

Highland Lakes ham radio operator Al Chitwood

Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club President Al Chitwood at his ham radio setup in Bertram. Chitwood made his first CQ (call out) using a rusted box springs as an antenna. Photo by Mark Stracke

Highland Lakes ham radio operators will take part in Amateur Radio Field Day on June 25-26 at a site behind the YMCA of the Highland Lakes at Galloway-Hammond, 1601 Water St. (U.S. 281) in Burnet. 

During the 24-hour event, ham radio operators from across North America will be contacting each other while under simulated emergency conditions.

More than 35,000 amateur radio operators worldwide will join in this annual event, which is held the fourth weekend of June.  

The public is invited to participate in demonstrations of transmitters, receivers, antennas, and emergency power supplies. Scouts can earn merit badges at the event, which is free and part of the Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club’s celebration of Amateur Radio Week

Setup begins at 8 a.m., but the best time for the public to visit is after 11 a.m. Saturday. It continues nonstop until 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 

“We want to let people know this sort of capability exists,” said radio club member George Cofran. “And we want to encourage everyone to explore and get involved.” 

The Highland Lakes Amateur Radio Club directly supports the governments of Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties through an agreement to provide emergency communications. The group holds drills, such as the 24-hour field day, to stay prepared in case of emergencies of any kind. Members stay trained in Morse code, internet radio, and high-frequency radio transmissions. They are all individual ham radio operators who are voluntarily on call for emergencies.

“It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, we want to be prepared,” Cofran said.