THIS WEEKEND: Learn about amateur radio during ‘Field Day’ on South Seattle College campus

June 24, 2015 11:50 am
|    Comments Off on THIS WEEKEND: Learn about amateur radio during ‘Field Day’ on South Seattle College campus
 |   Puget Ridge | West Seattle news

(WSB photo from June 2014 Field Day)
By proclamation of the governor, it’s Amateur Radio Week in our state – and it will wrap up this weekend with a big event that you’re invited to visit, Field Day on the south end of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. The West Seattle Amateur Radio Club is one of the groups that’ll be participating. Here’s the official announcement:

Members of the Puget Sound Repeater Group (PSRG) and the Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 27 – 28, 2015 South Seattle College (behind Olympic Hall) in West Seattle. Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

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 45,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day in 2014.

Anyone can come to this Field Day event and get on-the-air! A special station will be staffed with a licensed mentor for use by newcomers or those interested in ham radio. This station allows people who have never used a ham radio to do so, and allow people to explore the world. Even licensed individuals can explore operating on in ways new to them.

The site is normally an empty field, but for Field Day it will be filled with numerous antenna masts, four operating radio stations, and emergency power. Which demonstrates radio operation on multiple frequencies using different communications techniques without normal power or facilities. Field Day is practice for operating under emergency or disaster conditions.

“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,” Kutzko 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 ACS and PSRG, it’s easy for anybody to get involved right here in Seattle.

For more information about Field Day and the organization, contact ACS at and PSRG at or visit

Amateur radio is also used in a wide variety of other situations – coordinating the West Seattle Grand Parade, for one. Drop by SSC this weekend and see for yourself.

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