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Another Lovely Day in Our Neighborhood

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The ham radio neighborhood. The annual open house out in Glenwood at W3LPL. My husband goes every year. This is my first visit, although we have been to the house many times as they are neighbors and friends, I usually avoided the alpha male picnic where they all come out and wish they had the time and land and resources to assemble Amateur Radio Utopia.

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There are ten towers. The basement has enough room, and power, to handle all the major frequency bands and modes simultaneously. This is a major radio contest site, owned by a fellow amateur radio operator in the same local club as my husband.

A local catering company specializing in pit beef, pulled pork and turkey sandwiches sets up shop. The club donates water, soda, iced tea, and beer. “Hams” from all over the country (and overseas) come every year. This year the guest book had 105 entries. Some were couples and some, like us, forgot to sign. So, probably 125-150 people there. The caterer sold over 100 sandwiches and platters.

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Members of Potomac Valley Radio Club, Columbia Amateur Radio Club, National Capitol DX Association and who knows how many other clubs, all came together to eat, drink, socialize and take a tour of the towers and station.

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Now that we are retired, and my husband attends many functions, dinners, luncheons, contests, meetings, field day, whatever, we know quite a few people. I talked to dozens of spouses and some of the operators from field day.

Field Day is next weekend. Planning going like crazy. I will be cooking again for the 80-100 operators and support staff that make this contest one of the largest supported efforts in the USA. This year the club is trying to be rated 28Alpha. That means 28 simultaneous transmitting stations all operating on generator power.

Field Day is an annual event that allows radio amateurs to train and operate using methods that might be needed during disasters. Disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Cell towers get overloaded, or come down.

The local clubs can put up crank up towers and relay info to Emergency Operations Centers, or help with non-emergency communications between support efforts at disasters. Keeping the emergency communication channels uncluttered.

Columbia Amateur Radio Association supports Howard County’s EOC. They get reports from hams, on the road and at home, during and after events like the derecho last year, and the hurricanes.

This year, again, Howard County is sending one of their really cool emergency vehicles out for people to tour during our Field Day Weekend. When the club puts up ten crank up towers in the fields, and operates.

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If you want to see something really fascinating, head out to Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School next Saturday or Sunday, the 22nd and 23rd. You can even have your little ones operate the radios on our Get On The Air (GOTA) station. They could talk to someone in Alaska or Hawaii.

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All in all, today was a fun reunion. The kick off to our summer season of radio contests and our social events. Can’t wait for the fowl fest, the crab feast and the other picnics. Oh, and nothing like a day with towers and tractors.

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73 de AnnieRieXYL


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

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