In a tangle of wire and a din of arcane noise, local amateur radio operators set up improvised stations in the Asheville Firefighter Training Center Saturday to participate in the American Radio Relay League’s Field Day. The Western Carolina Amateur Radio Society (WCARS) and the Buncombe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (BCARES) joined forces for the national event that is intended to prepare ham radio enthusiasts for emergency operations.
The objective: To contact as many other operators as possible in a 24-hour period, using battery and generator power and impromptu antennas. Contacts are made in both voice transmission and Morse code.
As of 3 p.m. Saturday, the group seemed off to a slow start, due in part to difficulties caused by the sun’s current lack of sunspots, whose magnetic properties can enhance radio communications on Earth. Hopes were high, though, that night-time operation would yield better results. While many will return to their homes for rest, at least one operator plans to camp on the grounds.