Archive for Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Ham radio group to meet in park

June 19, 2002

Amateur radio operators this weekend will hone their skills the old-fashioned way at a radio rendezvous in Tonganoxie's VFW Memorial Park.

And guests of all ages, ham radio operators or not are invited to join them.

Once a year, members of the Pilot Knob Amateur Radio Club meet at a site where they send radio signals without the benefit of electrical outlets.

Nolan Beatty, Leavenworth, club treasurer, said the event is called a "field day."

"It involves setting up our equipment in a place where we don't have access to normal electrical power," Beatty said. "It's like a simulated emergency exercise."

The field day is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio operators. Radio groups from across the country, as well as in Canada and South America, will earn points by the number of radio contacts made. At the end of the weekend the points will be tallied and the results published.

Mac McConnell, Tonganoxie, president of the radio club, said he's expecting from 30 to 50 members to participate from noon Saturday through noon Sunday. He said he hopes the public will join them.

"This is why we're in the location we will be in this year," McConnell said. "To excite anyone who's interested in amateur radio or electronics."

McConnell said because of the widespread use of computers, today's children today have a built-in start to the knowledge base used in operating ham radios.

"Most kids can talk electronics and tell you how to program a computer at about the sixth grade," McConnell said. "That's very usable information in amateur radio."

In fact, the group's members include a child.

"We have a young lady who is eight years old who is very knowledgeable," McConnell said. "She's going to be a genius in her own time."

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