June 25, 2007
On June 23-24 members of the MIT Radio Society (W1MX) and the Harvard Wireless Club (W1AF) participated in the ARRL’s 75th annual Field Day. The MIT Radio Society normally participates in Field Day at a station on the steps of the Stratton Student Center, but with a little advance planning the club opted to go a little father afield this year.
W1MX and W1AF set up a 2A station on the west coast of Lovells Island in the Boston Harbor Islands on Saturday morning, then went into full operating mode by 2pm. Operators from both clubs worked in shifts overnight after a delicious barbeque dinner, then continued into the morning and early afternoon on Sunday. We also provided a GOTA (Get On The Air) station to educate and involve the public, including a visiting troop of Boy Scouts and the rangers managing the island.
Field Day has two main purposes – first, to practice and demonstrate ham radio’s emergency capabilities, and second, to educate the public about what ham radio is and how we can serve the community. Our normal Field Day site serves both of these purposes; the site on Lovells Island shows what we can do when we work off the grid on emergency power. Rather than hooking up to the (nonexistent) 120V power source as usual, the clubs worked off of two gasoline-powered generators for a total uptime of over 24 hours. We also demonstrated our ability to quickly assemble a fully operational, portable station in an environment with high winds and no readily available water, food, or shelter. Truly good emergency practice!