Somerset County Amateur Radio Club Hosts ARRL Field Day

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The Somerset County Amateur Radio Club will participate in ARRL Field Day operations June 25-26 at the Founders Hall Building near the entrance to the Somerset County Library. The event will include demonstrations of the science, skills and service that is amateur radio.

ARRL Field Day is the most popular live event held annually in the United States and Canada. Radio amateurs across North America will participate in field days to activate the equipment and technologies they use every day. More than 45,000 radio amateurs come together with their clubs, groups or simply between friends to operate remotely.

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“Our club has participated in this annual event every year since 1980 for me when I was first fired,” chairman Jim Crowley said in an email. “Even during the pandemic, we have developed a way for members to participate in the event from their home radio stations. There are many amateur radio operators around the world who also participate by operating from their club or their original stations.

“So far, we have about 20 members committed to participating in this year’s ARRL Field Day event. Some are new to the event and many are experienced. Members are looking forward to participating in this event every year. They can communicate with more than 45,000 other “Hams” all over North America, plus those from other countries who join in the fun. There is a format for exchanging information with each contact.

Members communicating from the airport during a "Fly-in-breakfast" many years ago.

This event is a time when amateur radio operators can practice their emergency response skills. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate amateur radio to the public and organizations they might serve in an emergency. Amateurs are often called into action to provide crisis communications when it really matters. In Somerset County, the amateur radio group was part of the communications during the 1984 Glencoe flood, the 1998 tornadoes and Flight 93, to name but a few.

“The club provides a public service by working in conjunction with the County of Somerset Emergency Management Office as an auxiliary communications team. Some of our members are part of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES),” said Crowley said.

RACES is a protocol created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission. Many government agencies across the country are training their Auxiliary Communication Service volunteers using the RACES protocol, Crowley said.

“Members help grow our hobby and our community. Membership in our club is not limited to the local community,” he said. “We have members from all over the country joining our meetings via web conferencing. Our event may be local as we support several local events throughout the year, but we encourage online participation in our professional meetings. and social.”

What is amateur radio?

Often referred to as amateur radio, the amateur radio service has been around for a century. Over that time, it has evolved into a global community of licensed operators using the airwaves with every conceivable means of communication technology, he said. Operators range in age from youngsters to grandparents. Even rocket scientists, astronauts and a rock star or two are in the ham ranks, Crowley said.

“Most, however, are just normal people who enjoy learning and being able to transmit and receive voice, data and images over the air to unusual places, both near and far, without depending on commercial systems” , did he declare. “Amateur radio has always been a means of promoting global friendship.”

The Somerset County Amateur Radio Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization promoting amateur radio as a hobby, emergency communication services, advanced radio education and FCC testing in the County of Somerset. The Somerset club was formed to promote and educate people about the hobby of amateur radio, according to Crowley. It has over 50 members and is growing.

In 2010, the ARRL (American Radio Relay League, see www.arrl.org), supported a new program called

Radio amateurs can communicate with other licensed radio amateurs around the world. Amateur radio frequencies are the last remaining place in the usable radio spectrum where participants can develop and experiment with wireless communications, Crowley said.

Hams can not only craft and modify their gear, but also create entirely new ways of doing things. In the past, a person wishing to acquire an FCC-issued license for amateur radio had to learn Morse code. Morse code is no longer a licensing requirement, according to Crowley.

The event begins at 2 p.m. on June 25 and will run 24 hours a day until 2 p.m. on Sunday. Participants will use the lawn in front of the Founders Hall Building near the library, Route 31 Glades Pike East of Somerset at the Community College and Education Center. For more information about Amateur Radio and Field Day, visit online at www.arrl.org/field-day.

For more information on the local club or for those interested in amateur radio and have questions, visit www.k3smt.com.

“The club is a general interest amateur radio club. Our members have a variety of interests and as a club we don’t focus on any one facet of our hobby,” Crowley said. “Our social gatherings usually have a presentation or guest lecture on a range of topics. All are welcome to visit our club at one of our gatherings. We invite you to come visit and experience our club.”

Regular Somerset meetings are at 7:00 p.m. every Thursday, except the third Thursday when it starts at 7:30 p.m. The third Thursday is the business meeting. The club meets in Room 27 at Founders Hall, 6022 Glades Pike (Route 31 East), Somerset.

“Our social gatherings usually have an educational presentation on one of the many aspects of the hobby,” Crowley said. “Many recent technological advances have been made and continue to be improved with the hobby. If you are interested in becoming a ham, you are invited to attend one of our meetings. Bring your questions and we will help you to get your answers.”

Demonstrations and discussions scheduledJune 23 – Field Day OperationsJune 30 – Spectrum AnalysisJuly 7 – Hamfest Activites


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