ST. GEORGE — Members of the St. George-based Dixie Amateur Radio Club made contact with fellow ham radio enthusiasts in 48 of the 50 U.S. states, plus two foreign countries in a 24-hour period last weekend.
The event, which started at noon Saturday and ended at noon Sunday, was part of the American Radio Relay League’s popular “Field Day,” a friendly competition held annually since 1933. Thousands of amateur shortwave radio operators all over North America participated in the event, each trying to make as many unique contacts as possible during the contest period.
Ric Wayman, past president of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club and supervisor of this year’s activity, said the St. George club members, operating under the call signs W7DRC and NA7UT, logged 319 contacts in 24 hours.
They operated out of the Dixie Technical College’s Emergency Response Training Center, located in the former terminal building at 610 S. Airport Road. Club members used three separate antennas set up outside the building to try to catch messages via the airwaves.
Of the 319 messages recorded, Wayman said, “136 were Morse code, three were computer-to-computer and 178 were single sideband voice.”
The only two states the club didn’t make contact with were Delaware and Maine, Wayman said, adding the two foreign countries contacted were Canada and Chile, in addition to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
There were no prizes involved in the contest, as the event is staged primarily for fun and practice, and to introduce new people to ham radio.
Approximately two dozen club members and several guests participated in this year’s Field Day, including five under the age of 18, Wayman said. Most were from the St. George area, but a group of four individuals from Hildale and Colorado City also participated.
“It’s a fun hobby,” said Harold Wells, president of the Dixie Amateur Radio Club, which meets on the third Wednesday of each month, at 7 p.m. in the American Legion building in St. George. The club, which operates as a nonprofit organization, is a formally affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League, the official national association for amateur radio operators in the United States.
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