Hank Crofoot takes a seat in his travel trailer and starts to call for contacts.

by Dave Warner

Members of the Fort Herkimer Amateur Radio Association, Inc. participated in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, from 2 pm June 25th to 2 pm June 26th. Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio.

The group held a safety meeting, and then they were glued to their radios attempting to log as many contacts as they could within the 24-hour period.

The event has been held on Hank Crofoot’s property on Kilts Hill Road for more than 20 years. From that vantage point, you can see everything from beyond Cherry Valley to the Adirondack Mountains.

“If it was clearer today, you could see the tepee,” said Crofoot when we were looking towards Cherry Valley, which is about 35-40 miles away, and beyond that was the Catskills.

Know about the turn in Stratford just before you get into the Adirondack Park? You can see that location as well.

Chris Bouck said, “The object is for operators to get out and work in emergency conditions, so these are emergency setups. You can operate via a generator, battery, or even solar panels.”

He said that they normally make a few hundred contacts, all over the U.S. “We exchange a certain bit of information. Everybody has to give their callsign, what’s called their class, and their section.”

All of the emergency sites on Kilts Hill Road had to be established within a 1,000-foot radius.

“Rain or shine, we’re here. The only time we stop is in case of thunder and lightning. We cease and desist because we don’t want to get killed,” stated Bouck.

He said that they eat out there, sleep, and he only gets a couple of hours at best. “It’s all sanctioned by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to http://www.arrl.org/emergency-radio-org.

For more information about becoming a ham radio operator locally, you can contact association past president Hank Crofoot, KB2VLP, at 315-823-2993 kb2vlp@localnet.com or treasurer Chris Bouck KB4CMF at 315-429-3927 cbouck01@twcny.rr.com.