Radio operators gather in Howard County for national drill
This annual field day, held as usual on the fourth weekend in June, is a contest, with bragging rights, but it's also an attempt to raise awareness of the value of HAM radio operators in case of disaster that takes out not only electricity but also cell signals.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the operators set up a shop Saturday at two different locations in Howard County.
They set up temporary antennas and make as many contacts with other radio operators across North America, keeping them sharp in the event of conventional communications failing. "It helps the community in time of need even though we have cell phones and all the modern technology".
Tom Christovich, a club member, said the drill, which will continue through the night, is "part exercise and part competition where a ham can acquire points".
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One thing I learnt was that FM receivers don't need an AGC, since the volume of a signal is related to how much it deviates from the central signal, not how much signal there is, which is why the microphone gain setting on your radio determines the volume, not the level of power.
Ham radio operators are amateurs with licenses from the Federal Communications Commission. When trouble is brewing, Amateur Radio's people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. "They helped for months and for a time, it was the only way many people could communicate". More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.
Amiable and outgoing, Christovich should know because over the years he's been in the hobby he has connected with hams in more than 200 countries.
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