Most people are familiar with the phrase “to have a field day” in various contexts – in some cases meaning experiencing freedom from responsibility, in other contexts referring to criticism, but in all cases to appear to enjoy oneself doing it.
However, when ham radio operators in the United States and Canada have a Field Day, it actually has a more specific meaning. It refers to the ARRL and RAC Field Day, held every year on the last full weekend of June (June 25 and 26 in 2011). On that day, thousands of amateur radio operators get out from their home locations (hence the name – getting out “into the field”), set up stations running on emergency power, and operate for a 24 hour period. In its basic form it’s an emergency communication exercise – you never know where you’ll be setup in a communications emergency; you probably will not have commercial power readily available; and you want to be able to operate for as long as possible with the equipment you have.
But while Field Day serves an important role in preparation for emergencies, hams have a whole lot of fun as well. Here are some clips of the last Field Day the Emergency Amateur Radio Club had with their sister club, the Koolau Amateur Radio Club.