MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Amateur radio operators will be hosting a demonstration and field day this weekend in Martinsburg.
“It’s a long-standing hobby, about a hundred years old. People think of it as maybe like the old CB (citizens band) radio, but it has a variety of different ways you can use it. A lot of people that are interested in science and electronics typically would be interested in ham radio,” said Eastern Panhandle Amateur Radio Club President Aaron Crawford.
“There’s a lot of different ways you can use it from talking locally to talking around the world — even communicating with the International Space Station,” Crawford said.
The American Radio Relay League Field Day is set for Saturday at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College’s parking lot 13650 Apple Harvest Drive in Martinsburg, according to the Eastern Panhandle Amateur Radio Club’s Mark Kraham.
“Field Day began in 1933 and has run over the decades,” Kraham said. “Some people use it as a contest to see how many contacts they can make. Others use it to experiment with solar power.”
“A lot of people set it up to demonstrate the ability for ham radio operators to communicate under emergency conditions,” according to Kraham.
The event begins at 2 p.m. and runs 24 hours.
A press release from the EPARC describes the event in further detail.
Ham radio operators from the Eastern Panhandle Amateur Radio Club in Berkeley County will participate in a national amateur radio exercise from 2:00 p.m. Saturday June 24 until 2:00 p.m. Sunday, June 25. The event is ARRL Field Day (www.arrl.org/FieldDay), an annual amateur radio activity organized since 1933 by ARRL, The National Association for Amateur Radio in the United States.
Hams from across North America ordinarily participate in Field Day by establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations to demonstrate their skill and service. The exercise is used to simulate communications during an emergency. Field Day highlights ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent, wireless communications network.
All participants are volunteers who use their hobby to support their local communities as a public service. Many hams have portable radio communication capability that includes alternative energy sources such as generators, solar panels, and batteries to power their equipment.
This year’s event is also noteworthy given that a particularly active hurricane season is predicted. “Hams have a long history of serving our communities when storms or other disasters damage critical communication infrastructure, including cell towers,” said EPARC president Aaron Crawford, N3MBH. “Ham radio functions completely independently of the internet and phone systems and a station can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. Hams can quickly raise a wire antenna in a tree or on a mast, connect it to a radio and power source, and communicate effectively with others,” Crawford added.