An amateur radio club holds an annual field day this weekend at the Sukanen Museum

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Club members will spend 24 consecutive hours talking with people around the world – and possibly in space – using analog and digital technology.

The Moose Jaw Amateur Radio Club will be at the Sukanen Museum this weekend for its annual field day, where members will spend 24 hours talking with people from around the world.

The field day is a contest between members, where they take their gear from home, set it up in a public place, and demonstrate aspects of amateur radio through digital and voice formats, the VP explained. Frank Lloyd.

Members receive points for actions such as installing in public or using backup power to operate. They then communicate with whoever is on the air from Saturday noon to Sunday noon.

The club will erect a temporary antenna tower, figure out what power source they want to use, hook up the radios, turn them into an operating station, spend a day on the air, and then tear everything down.

Since some operators are also members of the Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum, their equipment and radios – old format – are already on site.

Under the points system, there will be three radio stations, with one station for voice and one for digital. About five members have licenses to operate the equipment — the federal government regulates the activity and the airwaves — allowing them to operate continuously overnight.

“…this weekend is a way to go out and do face-to-face and go from there,” Lloyd said. “And it’s a way of promoting ourselves to the public and it’s a way of showing ourselves.”

The Sukanen Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, while it is open on Sunday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular Sunday hours are shorter, but the museum hosts its first outdoor flea market and swap meet that day.

Amateur radio – or ham radio – is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use amateur radio to talk across town, around the world, or in space, without the need for the Internet, cell phones, communication networks, or cell towers. Members have their own power supply, from batteries to generators to solar-powered systems.

It’s fun, social and educational and can be a lifesaver in times of need, such as during disasters. Amateur radio is closely tied to supporting emergency management operations whenever an incident occurs, as operators are not dependent on cell phone towers being overwhelmed in an emergency.

Amateur radio has changed over the decades because people used to build and make their own sets using tubes, resistors and capacitors, Lloyd said. Today, modern radio sets are “essentially overloaded computers that do the same job”, but slightly differently. While operators still build and repair gear today, technology has evolved over time.

Asking whether analog or digital radio is better is like asking whether people prefer Ford or Chevy, he continued. He will use whatever works – he has “a bit of everything” – while his taste in gear is eclectic as he enjoys gear old and new.

“It’s a mixed world of lots of things that work and lots of things to experience,” Lloyd added. It is also a world of experimenters… . It’s just multifaceted.

Visit mjarc.ca for more information about the club.

Visit www.sukanenshipmuseum.ca for more information about the museum.


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