BELFAST — Amateur radio operators (also called hams) from the Waldo County Amateur Radio Association in Belfast will be participating in a national amateur radio exercise on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 - 26, at the Troy Howard Middle School on Lincolnville Avenue in Belfast. The event is Amateur Radio Field day, an annual amateur radio activity organized since 1933 by the National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL), in the United States. The public in invited to stop by from 2 p.m. on Saturday to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada,” said WCARA, in a news release.
On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.
“Field Day is a picnic, a camp out, practice for emergencies, and an informal contest. It is a time where many aspects of amateur radio come together to highlight ham radio’s role,” said the hams. “While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate amateur radio to the organizations that amateur radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For the Waldo County Amateur Radio Association Field Day is one of the highlights of the annual calendar.”
The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions. Hams use these same skills when they help with events such as parades, marathons and canoe races. Despite the development of very complex, modern communications systems — or maybe because they ARE so complex — ham radio has been called into action again and again to provide communications in crises when it really matters. Hams are well known for their communications support in real disaster and post-disaster situations.
The Amateur Radio Service has been around for a century. In that time, it’s grown into a worldwide community of licensed operators using the airwaves with every conceivable means of communications technology. The Amateur Radio Service frequencies are the last remaining place in the usable radio spectrum where individuals can develop and experiment with wireless communications. Hams not only can make and modify their equipment but can create whole new ways to do things.