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EARS Holds Annual Field Day
June 24 - June 25
Whole regions of our country often find themselves in the dark despite the internet, cell phones, email and modern communications. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice and cutting of fiber-optic cables leave communities without the ability to communicate. When these bad things happen, the one consistent service that has never failed is amateur radio. Amateur radio operators, often called “Hams,” provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross, FEMA, and even for the International Space Station. Amateur radio clubs also provide communications in support of numerous community events. The Easton Amateur Radio Society (EARS) will join with the American Radio Relay League (AR) and thousands of other amateur radio operators on June 24 and 25 in demonstrating their emergency communications capability.
For over 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, all without needing a cell phone or the internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Over 36,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2016.
“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smartphone, connect to the internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” said Sean Kutzko of the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio. “But if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate. Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cell phone infrastructure, can interface with tablets or smartphones and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage.”
“Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” Sean added. “Hams do this by using a layer of Earth’s atmosphere as a sort of mirror for radio waves. In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communication infrastructure goes down.”
Anyone may become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. And, with clubs such as EARS, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot County.
Individuals and groups are invited to observe and participate in Field Day activities at the Great Marsh Park in Cambridge on June 24 and 25. Additional information is available on the EARS homepage at www.k3emd.com and www.ARRL.org. Hours of operation are Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Great Marsh Park is located at the end of Somerset Avenue on the Choptank River in Cambridge. The park offers picnic facilities, playground equipment, a small beach, boat launch, and fishing (license required). Directions to Great Marsh Park: From Easton – take Route 50/Ocean Gateway to Cambridge. Turn right onto Maryland Avenue, right onto Academy Street, right onto High Street, left onto Water Street, left onto Hambrooks Avenue and right onto Somerset Avenue. From Salisbury/Ocean City – take Route 50/Ocean Gateway to Cambridge. Turn left onto Maryland Avenue, right onto Academy Street, right onto High Street, left onto Water Street, left onto Hambrooks Avenue and right onto Somerset Avenue.