Radio waves will buzz and buzz with the sounds of the Delta Amateur Radio Society (DARS) this weekend.
DARS members will network all over North America – and maybe even the world – and you can have fun.
Starting Saturday morning (June 22) at the North 40 Park Preserve near the Boundary Bay Airport, most of the amateur radio enthusiasts in the community will gather for the annual DARS Day.
The more than 70 radio amateurs who are members of DARS keep their skills up to date during events such as their field day. Today’s competition will see who can make the most unique contacts with other hams from around the world over a 24 hour period.
“The basic idea is to make as many contacts as possible with as many other amateur operators as possible during that 24 hour period,” said DARS vice president Mark Toeckes, a veteran amateur radio operator. of seven years.
Contact includes giving your own call sign and receiving the other person’s call sign and location, which is then recorded.
Toeckes told the North Delta Journalist in a phone interview that there is something special to be aired, “because you never know who you are going to end up on the air with”.
“I originally enjoyed listening to shortwave radio growing up, as a lot of radio amateurs do. Well the years went by and I ended up taking a Delta Amateur Radio Society course to get my certificate seven years ago, ”said Toeckes, mechanical engineer by day and amateur radio operator at the weekend. . “I really wanted to be one of those voices and be a part of it all.”
“I’ll never forget it, my very first QSO (ie a ham conversation) was with a gentleman from Texas who was sitting on a Sunday afternoon with his grandson,” he said. he declares. “… People don’t really understand how amazing it is to speak live. “
Cell phones connect us all to the world, but while our individual phones are wireless, the towers we connect to are embedded securely in the ground, and Toeckes said that’s what makes amateur radio so exciting.
“We actually communicate around the world, without the help of cellular networks,” Toeckes said, and this is especially important in a major disaster anywhere in the world.
Interference with cell phone signals; communicating with friends and family can become almost impossible if everyone is crowding the network. In an instant, it could lead to chaos.
Amateur radio can deliver important information to the places that need it most in the event of a disaster. This is why events like DARS Field Day and the competition that surrounds it are so important. DARS is a partner and receives funds from the City of Delta and the company, if ever requested, would provide a fundamental service in connecting those who need it most with emergency services.
“It’s not just a competition, it’s also an emergency preparedness activity because we have to be able to do it in the middle of nowhere,” Toeckes said. “And then there’s the social aspect, where you can chat with so many different hams for 24 hours in the North 40 park reserve.”
DARS members will settle in from the evening of June 21, but the competition will begin Saturday morning and end Sunday at 11 a.m.
“If there comes a time when we have an emergency, DARS has the infrastructure to connect anywhere. And that’s really what Field Day is.
DARS invites the audience to come out and have their voices heard on the radio, as well as chat with a new person from all over the world. If you head to the North 40 Park Preserve near Boundary Bay Airport on June 22 during the day or evening, you will surely see more than a few antennas and hams (not the eating type) set up for a radio chat marathon and fun with friends.
“I love seeing new people come out and get addicted, it gives me so much joy, so come on, this is a great place. We’re a pretty laid back bunch and we have a great resort where we can actually coach you or your kids by making contact, ”said Toeckes.
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