Brownwood area amateur radio operators will sharpen their emergency communication skills by working around the clock this weekend during the American Radio Relay League’s annual Field Day.

Local “ham” radio operators will set up field radio communication stations, get on the air and contact hundreds of other amateur operators, also known as hams, in the U.S. and Canada as part of participation in the event, according to spokesman Ray Schulze.

The Brownwood Amateur Radio Club’s Field Day operations will take place at the Brownwood National Guard Armory, off of Highway 45 in south Brownwood. Setup will begin on Saturday morning, and on-air operations will be from 1 p.m. Saturday until 1 p.m. Sunday. The public is invited to visit and participate.

Field Day is the annual “shakedown run” for the ARRL’s National Field Organization.

“Field Day is a way for hams to get outdoors and have fun under some difficult conditions,” Schulze said. “It’s also a chance to test and improve amateur-radio operators’ emergency communication skills.”

The Brownwood Amateur Radio Club will use generators and battery power to simulate operation in a remote area and in emergency conditions, and will set up antennas in the field.

The challenge is to put together a self-sufficient, working radio station quickly and begin making contacts with other radio operators, Schulze said.

The ARRL Field Organization has been effective in establishing emergency communications nets during floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, terrorist attacks and other major disasters — whether they be local, regional or national in scope, Schulze said. Members of formal emergency organizations such as the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the Radio Amateur Communication Emergency Services (RACES) regularly participate. The league estimates that more than 35,000 hams participate in Field Day every year.

For more information, contact Schulze at 646-9344, or on the web at http://www.k5bwd.org.