Amateur Radio Day is open to the public


HAMMING IT UP: Greg Mauro, president of the Delaware Valley Radio Association, examines a newly built antenna at the club’s radio station in West Trenton, where he and other ham radio operators will meet this weekend for the day ARRL (American Radio Relay League) annual national meeting, reaching out to operators around the world for 24 hours.

By Anne Levin

Before social networks, there was amateur radio. As early as the late 19th century, amateur radio operators from different parts of the world were talking to each other – by voice. In recent years, they have built their own networks with radio technology.

This weekend, some 40,000 “amateurs” from across the United States will test their skills at the annual American Radio Relay League (AARL) day. Among them is the Delaware Valley Radio Association, which is based in West Trenton and counts several Princeton residents among its 120 members.

From 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 25 to 12:00 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at their lodge adjacent to the Trenton-Mercer Airport, these radio amateurs will set up portable radio stations on emergency power and attempt to have as many conversations as possible. with others across the country. The public is invited.

“We encourage the public to come and participate,” said Greg Mauro, an electrical engineer who is club president. “It’s a great hobby. We hope to attract more young people, and all are welcome.

Field Day dates back to 1933. The annual gathering has become one of amateur radio’s most popular organizational events. Participants take their gear outside to see how well they can communicate with each other in the elements and under less than ideal conditions.

“We demonstrate emergency preparedness,” Mauro said. “The idea is to install a station remotely, without access to commercial electricity. So we run two stations, pitch tents and use a generator. We hang antennas between the trees. Everything is temporary, set in nature, so to speak.

The equipment is assembled and tested just before the start of Field Day. “It’s a quasi-competition where you try to communicate with as many other stations doing the same thing,” Mauro said. “It’s a contest, a camping party, a club meeting and an educational event all rolled into one.”

Regulated by the government, amateur radio is a hobby that has its roots in the early days of radio. Operators must obtain a license to participate. The aspect of emergency preparedness is essential. “He supports certain agencies like the Red Cross,” Mauro said. “In countries where there is not a lot of infrastructure, like Haiti, this can play a big role in the event of a crisis.”

The Delaware Valley Radio Association’s “cabin”, as they call the clubhouse, has a fully equipped station with multiple towers and different types of antennas. A large satellite dish bounces signals from the moon. It is one of the small percentage of clubs that have a clubhouse and a station. Monthly programs include seminars on how to build circuits and antennas and how to use different modes of communication.

“Amateur radio operators come from all walks of life – men and women of all ages, from all corners of the world,” read a press release about the event. “They share a passion for experimenting with and engineering ways to transmit voice, data and images over the air, near and far. They are creative, resourceful and ready to improvise, especially in an emergency.

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