“Radio Hams” from Queen Anne’s Join in National Deployment Public Demo of Emergency Communications, June 25-26

Queen Anne’s Amateur Radio Club “hams” will join with thousands of amateur radio operators who will be demonstrating their communications ability to the community in a simulated emergency situation. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events worldwide. During Hurricane Katrina, amateur radio – often called “ham radio” – was often the only way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer hams traveled to save lives and property. When trouble is brewing, amateur radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications.

The Queen Anne’s Amateur Radio Club (QAARC) invites the public to witness the club members in action as they operate under simulated emergency conditions to contact other amateurs around the US via amateur radio in an event called “Field Day.” Showing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications, and even historical Morse code, club members will be joining some 37,000 hams from across the US and Canada holding similar public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities.

All of the “on-air” action takes place at Bloomfield Farm at Rt. 213 and White Marsh roads just north of Centreville starting at 2 pm on Saturday, June 25, and ending at 2 pm on Sunday. Before the 24-hour operating period, the club members will be erecting antennas, getting portable power in place, and setting up receiving and transmitting equipment.

The public has an opportunity to obtain information about amateur radio, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), and how to disable tone squelch and use carrier squelch on channel 1 of Family Radio Service radios (FRS). FRS is an option for neighborhood emergency communications as well as emergency use by hunters, hikers, and cyclists.

Youth and adults may even have the opportunity to operate the ham stations, talking to another person far away.

While some amateur operators will be contacting others by voice, some amateurs will be demonstrating their proficiency in using the International Morse Code to make contacts. Still other amateurs will be available to discuss with visitors all aspects of amateur radio as a hobby as well as its use in emergency locations where electrical power and cell phone use might be out of commission.

We use these same skills when we help with events such as marathons and bike-a-thons; fund-raisers such as walk-a-thons; celebrations such as parades; and exhibits at fairs, malls, and museums — these are all large, preplanned, non-emergency activities that are used to hone skills.

For more information, contact Mike Widdekind, N3ZHA, QAARC President, 410-739-8718, michael.widdekind@atlanticbb.net