Members of the “St. Louis QRP Society” will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 24-25 at O’Connor Park (12741 Hemet Dr) in Bridgeton. Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
Amateur radio has been described as a “hobby of hobbies,” as there are many different special interest areas to explore. Some hams bounce their signals off the moon; others communicate via satellites orbiting the Earth. Many hams strive to make contact with hams in all fifty states, or in each country around the world.
This club’s specialty is low-power operation; hams that follow self-imposed low power guidelines (“QRP” in ham-speak) limit their power output to five watts or less. That’s less power than a tiny night light bulb. Building radios from kits, or even from scratch, is another popular pastime for these hams.
Why do this? “The challenge, of course!” said club member Jeff Logullo. “It’s always been a thrill to communicate over long distances; but to do it using a tiny radio you build yourself, that’s small enough to fit in your pocket—that’s almost magic.”
These hams frequently use Morse code to communicate—it turns out that using Morse code is very power efficient. But using the code is not strictly necessary, and it’s no longer required to learn Morse code before becoming licensed. The hobby is open to anyone, and there are now over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States. Clubs like the St. Louis QRP Society welcome visitors who’d like to learn first-hand what the excitement is all about.
For more information about Field Day, visit http://www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio