The local area Amateur Radio Operators will be demonstrating their emergency communication capabilities June 25 during a Field Day at the Thomaston American Legion Hall site, beginning at 2 p.m. and lasting for a full 24 hours.

Field Day is an annual preparedness exercise where local “hams” set up radio stations and antenna arrays in public or remote sites and make radio contacts with other ham operators throughout the United States and Canada. The Amateur Radio Relay League sponsored exercise is specifically designed to provide a yearly program for licensed amateur radio volunteers to practice and hone their emergency communication capabilities. More than 35,000 hames in the US took part in last year’s exercise.

To make the exercise interesting, points are earned for contacts made in various modes and power sources. Points are earned for CW (Morse code), solar power, phone and digital contacts. There is even a separate category called GOTA (get on the air)which is a special station set up for new or non-hams to make contacts with other hams taking part in the contest. Last year, and in 2005, the Pen Bay Amateur Radio Club came in first in their class in the state of Maine. No small feat. We hope to do the same again this year.

Many of the Pen Bay Club’s hams are Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) members for Knox County. The public is invited to visit the Field Day site and view the county’s communications equipment, procedures and capabilities. They can also learn how to become a ham and join the team in order to help in the event of an actual emergency.