By WBØRUR, on the scene
NOCTURNAL SPRINGS, Nevada – Local ham radio operator Christopher Estrada has taken a new approach to his hobby’s annual event called “Field Day.”
(Field Day allows operators to test emergency communication skills (and barbecuing ability) by setting up radios, antennas and hammocks in remote areas. They then communicate with each other over a 24-hour period.)
“I really wanted to coordinate a large-scale Field Day operation,” says the retired meat cutter from Pasadena. “But unfortunately, there are no other hams around me for miles.”
Undeterred, Estrada began recruiting for the hobby anywhere he could: the local bus station, Johnson’s barber shop, the produce section of the Piggly Wiggly, the weekly gathering of Mrs. Thompson’s Quilting Society, and happy hour at the Dew Drop Inn Bar and Grill.
Next, Estrada scheduled an “emergency” VE (volunteer examiner) session to test the interested citizenry. In all, 79 out of 80 people passed an FCC exam. According to the National Radio Retransmission Legion (NRRL), Estrada set a new record for most FCC licenses ever awarded during a single VE session.
“We were shocked when we saw the pickup full of paperwork arrive on our doorstep,” says NRRL president Ray Fergie from his plush Newingstead, Vermont, office. “It took two Official Observers, one DX Card Checker, and a Testing Labs employee the better part of a day to haul it all in here for processing.”
For his part, Estrada immediately drafted the new hams into service for Field Day.
“As the group was leaving the Odd Fellows Hall, I handed them a signup sheet for an operating position at Field Day. Looks like we’re going to be able to operate 54E, if I can get my generator running in time.”
The only person to fail the exam was Peter Snooker of Fool’s Gold, Arizona, who inadvertently wandered into the testing room while looking for the local livestock auction.
Surprisingly, Snooker – a cattle rancher – was so smitten with the idea of ham radio that in exchange for helping him study for his ticket, he’s agreed to prepare a side of beef for the local Field Day contesters.
photo credit: Newman University via photopin cc