Published Thursday, June 28, 2012

Amateur radio connects Coweta County, world

By JOHN A. WINTERS

john@newnan.com

About 60 amateur radio enthusiasts were out at the Coweta County Fairgrounds over the weekend practicing their skills and talking with other operators across the country.

The event was the national Amateur Radio Field Day, a 24-hour period where operators practice emergency preparedness and see how many contacts they can make.

Operators made contact with others in all 48 of the contiguous United States and with several Canadian provinces, said Eddie Wilson, president of the Bill Gremillion Memorial Radio Club, Coweta’s local club.

“We just kept turning the knob to find people, what we call ‘search and pounce,’” Wilson said.

The event ran from Saturday at 2 p.m. until Sunday at 2 p.m. To simulate a real emergency, operators brought in backup generators and other needed equipment.

(To view photos from this event, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Events / Coweta for the Photo Gallery.)

“It’s just a great opportunity to practice our emergency preparedness and give the public a chance to see what amateur radio is all about,” Wilson said.

The local club also administered license and upgrade tests to eight people, the largest group ever, Wilson said, adding that more than half passed. The Federal Communications Commission requires ham operators to be licensed.

The public also got to see a Korean War-era communications Jeep on display.

“We just had a great time,” Wilson said. “The fairgrounds is great for this event and gives us a lot of space.”

Recently, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation designating “Amateur Radio Week in Coweta County.”

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