Ham radio operators set Centreville Field Day
CENTREVILLE — A group of amateur radio operators returns to the Centreville area on June 24-25 to test their emergency preparedness and operating skills as part of the American Radio Relay League’s annual Field Day event.
Field Day is one of the most popular annual activities for amateur radio operators, also known as “hams.” The event regularly attracts individual and group participants operating from nearly every type of location imaginable — from public parks to remote mountaintops. Last year, more than 35,000 people participated in Field Day operations across the U.S.
Using the callsign W3KDR, the Centreville group will attempt to contact as many other Field Day participants as possible in 24 hours using voice, Morse Code, digital communication, and special amateur radio satellites. All equipment will be powered by generators and batteries to test their reliability under emergency conditions.
Field Day also offers an ideal opportunity for the public to learn more about the fascinating world of amateur radio, which is enjoyed by nearly 744,000 government-licensed operators of all ages in the U.S., and more than 2.5 million more around the world. More than simply a hobby for people who like to talk, amateur radio is widely recognized for its contributions toward global understanding, education, and emergency ser vice, particularly during disasters.
Amateur radio also offers a reliable means of communication that cell phones, the Internet, and other systems cannot, which is why the hobby is recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a vital, volunteer contribution to preparedness.
Government and emergency services personnel across Mar yland frequently look to the area’s amateur radio community for support following major weather events and other emergencies. In addition, area hams provide communications support for major events such as the annual Marine Corps Marathon, and facilitate contacts between school groups and the International Space Station.
What’s more, many communications and electronics products and systems now considered an integral part of daily life originated in the “ham shacks” of radio enthusiasts around the world. Amateur radio also regularly connects school groups with astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and keeps Armed Services personnel around the world in touch with loved ones back home.
Although emergency preparedness and public awareness are the hallmarks of Field Day, the event also fosters a spirit of friendly competition among its participants. The Centreville group has regularly finished among the top entrants both regionally and nationwide in the category of single transmitter, emergency power since they began operating Field Day from Queen Anne’s County in 1998.
Visitors are cordially invited to drop by the Centreville Field Day site during the 24-hour operating period, which begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. For directions or more information, contact Kerry Kingham at 703/242-9724, or by email at WA4BQM@arrl.net. More information about amateur radio is available at www.arrl.org.
A Queen Anne’s Amateur Radio “ham” operator is shown in action during Field Day 2014.