Coastal Plains Amateur Radio Club to participate in national field day

May 26, 2019

ASHBURN — Members of the Coastal Plains Amateur Radio Club will participate in a national amateur radio field day exercise on June 22.

The exercise is taking place at Ashburn Fire Station No. 2, 1070 Bridges Road in Ashburn.

Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary stations in public locations during an annual field day to showcase the science and skill of amateur radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

For more than 100 years, amateur radio — also called ham radio — has allowed people to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster or emergency, all without needing a cellphone or the internet.

The field day is held to demonstrate ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Officials said more than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in last year’s activities.

“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” David Isgur, communications manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio, said. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cellphone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes.

“That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage. Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery powered transmitter, and communicate halfway around the world. Hams do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves. In today’s electronic do it yourself environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous other scientific disciplines. In addition, amateur radio is a huge asset to any community during disasters or emergencies if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”

For more information about the field day or amateur radio, contact Greg Walls at w4ghw@arrl.net or visit www.arrl.org.

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