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Participant tries operating a HAM radio at last year’s Field Day. Courtesy photo.




Field Day with the Granite State Amateur Radio Association 

Where: Earl Legacy Park, New Boston Road, Bedford
When: Saturday, June 27, at 2 p.m., through Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m. 
Cost: Free
Visit: gsara.org




On the air
Amateur Radio hosts Field Day

06/25/15
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



Amateur radio, or HAM radio, has been around for over 100 years, and even in the age of cellphones and the Internet, it remains the only reliable means of communication in an emergency. From Saturday, June 27, at 2 p.m., to Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m., the Granite State Amateur Radio Association will be at Bedford’s Earl Legacy Park to participate in Field Day, when thousands of amateur radio operators across the country try to reach as many other operators as they can in a 24-hour period to exchange information and give each other signal reports. 

During this time, the public is invited to stop by the park, learn about amateur radio and try it out for themselves.
“Anybody can walk in, with or without a license, and operate a radio, or just watch, and we’ll coach them,” said Dennis Markell, Granite State Amateur Radio Association president. “It’s a chance to see how radio works and talk with people from Maine to California and everywhere in between.”
GSARA will have four radio stations in the Bedford Cross Country Ski Club’s cabin in the park, with antennas set up around the outside. A major part of Field Day is operating as if it were an emergency situation, meaning the stations will be powered by batteries and generators.
“Most of the time we operate out of our homes with regular power, but in emergencies, when the power is out, it takes a totally different discipline to run it,” Markell said. “It’s important to learn how to quickly set up reliable communications, and that’s what we practice on Field Day. We mimic what would happen in a true emergency.”
Upon arrival, people will be welcomed at an educational table where they can learn about Field Day and the activities they can do and ask questions about amateur radio.
At three stations, GSARA members will be at work, communicating with other operators around the country. They’ll be demonstrating how to broadcast on different bands and frequencies as well as with three different modes of transmission: verbal (talking into a mike); digital (transmitting text, similar to an email or instant message); and Morse code.
The fourth station, called the “Get on the Air Station,” is for attendees to try out broadcasting for themselves and experiment with any or all three transmission modes.
For those interested in the engineering aspect, a GSARA member will be demonstrating how to solder parts onto a board and create a homemade radio.
New Hampshire has numerous amateur radio classes, clubs and licensing exams year-round. Markell said the Field Day is an opportunity not only for those wanting to learn about radio for emergency preparedness, but also for kids and teens who are considering taking it up as a hobby.
“It’s a great thing for children to get involved and learn about the science of radio in a hands-on way, rather than just sitting in a classroom,” he said. “It’s a way to practice verbal and communication skills, learn about electronics, and it gives them great tools at an early age that they carry through their lifetime.” 
 
As seen in the June 25, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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