Members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine (WSSM) are set to participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise June 25-26 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.
The public is encouraged to attend on Saturday, June 25, from 2p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more than 100 years, amateur radio – sometimes called ham radio – has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day last year.
“Field Day is part emergency communications exercise, and part competition, where we accumulate points and test our operating skills against other clubs and individuals around the U.S. and Canada,” says club President, Brad Brown, Jr., of North Waterboro, ME.
During the event, participants will try to earn points by meeting specific goals as outlined by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Some of these include handling and delivering messages, hosting educational activities, and making contacts with other amateurs through various methods, such as voice, telegraphy, satellites, and digital modes.
“This is a fun event that gives us an opportunity to share our passion with the community and to improve our operating skills, all while getting everyone out there and on the air,” says Brown.
Field Day, which has taken place annually since 1933, is designed to test radio operators’ ability to quickly setup and operate portable stations in emergency conditions.
“The entire operation will exclusively use emergency power sources like batteries, or solar energy, in order to simulate how things would be during a catastrophic event,” adds club Vice President, Peter Hatem, of Scarborough. “The public should be aware that in the event of an emergency, we’re ready to assist in any way that we can. While people may have the impression that cell phones and other technologies are good enough, we stand by as a trained pool of experienced radio operators to provide the vital communication services others may not. Hams have provided emergency communications during hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, blackouts, and other disasters, where more complex and fragile communications systems, such as cell networks, have failed or become overloaded.”
The Wireless Society of Southern Maine’s Emergency Communications Team provides auxiliary communications support to the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency and members are also active in supporting the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN program in Gray, ME.
“Last year, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, using call sign WS1SM, recorded the highest Field Day score in Maine and we hope to do well again this year,” says Brown. “The public is welcome to attend the event and if anyone is interested in learning more about the hobby, we’ll be glad to help.”
Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is ready to help anyone get involved and licensed right here in Scarborough. The club meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Scarborough Public Safety Building, located at 275 U.S. Route 1.
For more information about Field Day, and amateur radio in general, please visit: http://www.mainehamradio.com