The fourth weekend in June is Field Day for radio amateur (hams). This is when the radio geeks trot out their gear in public to show everybody what amateur radio is about. The public and press are cordially invited to come see what the groups and individual amateurs are up to.
One can see demonstration of new radio technology (digital is big this year) as well as Really Old Stuff<tm>, like my personal favorite, Boatanchors. Boatanchors is the loving designation given to really old, very heavy, vacuum tube loaded shortwave equipment. We like our equipment by the pound, not by the feature or wattage :)
When things get bad, the hams are the people who can be counted on to keep communications flowing. On 9-11, when the phone lines were down and cell sites overloaded, hams were unaffected. When the tsunami hit, the only mode of communication was amateur radio. Hams belong to state and local emergency groups and will be among the first on-scene to help out.
Pennsylvania governor Ed (Fast Eddie) Rendell declared June `Ham Radio Month’.
WHERE CAN I CHECK THIS OUT?
Glad you asked. A very large amateur radio organization, the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL), has a directory of the public field day events, covering the US and Canada. Stop on out and see what amateur radio is all about.
WHO THE HELL ARE YOU ANYWAY?
Oddly enough, I’m not a ham (radiowise). I’m just a listener. I suppose I’ll take the test and get my license eventually.