FRAMINGHAM – Visitors to the Christa McAuliffe library branch on Saturday might have wondered why a truck with a very tall mast and antenna was located in the parking lot. It was all for a good cause and operated by a local group.
The Framingham Amateur Radio Association (FARA) participated in the national Field Day 2019 event sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
This has been an annual even since 1933 with typically some 40,000 “hams” participating nationwide.
The Association’s operations took place at the Christa McAuliffe Branch Library on Water Street.
Field Day is hard to discribe as it involves so many elements. It involves setting up temporary transmitting stations at any sort of suitable location, whether actually in the field or at an Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Practicing emergency preparedness skills is one of the core aspects of the event.
As such, FARA had raised temporary antennas in the trees and operated from battery power.
But it’s also so much more. It involves training newly licensed or simply less-skilled amateur radio operators. It’s also a way to demonstrate the science and technology of radio. As such it’s a way of community outreach, as anyone interested in science, technology, emergency preparedness, etc. is welcome to visit Field Day sites and learn more.
FARA chose the very public library site for just these reasons.
It’s a great location to meet the public.
A public information table was provided with handouts and people to answer questions.
Kids were encouraged to try sending their names in Morse code, with a key and sounder available for them to try.
This year the display included historical materials, including a museum of telegraph equipment dating from the Civil War era to around the 1950’s. Telegraphy was the first form of texting, with the very first telegraph text message having been sent 175 years ago this May.
Visitors to the site could read about this history on a display provided.
While the entire Field Day event goes for 24 straight hours, the FARA operation was limited to the library’s open hours.
Setup began in the morning with actual radio operations extending from 2 to 6 pm. Visitors could watch operations using voice, Morse code and modern digital modes to make contacts with other operators across the country.
Four stations were set up and over 20 different operators took part during some portion of the event.
FARA holds other activities during the year, including monthly meetings at the Framingam Police Station.
FARA Web Site: http://w1fy.org/
FARA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FARAW1FY
Photos and report courtesy of Framingham Amateur Radio Association (FARA)