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Everyone invited to 2018 Field Day: June 23rd

Jun 15

Written by:
6/15/2018 4:36 PM  RssIcon

clip_image002Vashon Maury Island Radio Club and VashonBePrepared invite the public to visit Vashon’s amateur radio volunteers at next Saturday’s 2018 Field Day event!

Vashon Hams gather at our Field Day location atop the Swallow’s Nest Bluff on June 23rd and 24th to compete in the largest single amateur radio and emergency preparedness exercise. It's a fun day to come out and meet club members, eat good food and play on a radio.

Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio. Families and the public are welcome to this free event and tour Vashon Maury Island Radio Club emergency communication trailer. Learn about email over radio (without the internet!), digital operations with software-defined radios, and have the kids try their hand at hidden transmitter hunts.

Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event.

Your attendance will help us garner valuable points and provide a great opportunity to visit with local amateur radio volunteers who donate their valuable services to the community. Details on the club and the family friendly event follow.

We hope to see you next weekend!

Vashon’s Field Day Specifics

Event Date: Saturday, June 23rd, 11 AM through Sunday, June 24th, 11 AM

clip_image004Location: Adjacent to the Swallows Nest, 6030 SW 248th Street, Vashon-Maury Island, across the road from the overlook above the Maury Island Marine Park:

Vashon Maury Island Radio Club (VMIRC)

clip_image006The Vashon Maury Island Radio Club (VMIRC, with call sign W7VMI) is an unusually vital 501(c)(3) organization. Open to the public, with no membership dues, the club:

·       supports King County Fire District 13, Office of Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Department during emergencies including several recent search and rescue operations,
·       provides leadership in the VashonBePrepared coalition of disaster preparedness organizations, through its Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS) affiliate
·       networks with regional and state Emergency Operations Centers during monthly radio exercises,
·       actively trains with VashonBePrepared’s EOC Team,
·       drills with Vashon’s Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT),
·       provides radio support for Vashon’s Medical Reserve Corps (MRC),
·       holds regular educational classes and certification exams, 
·       maintains 2 local radio repeaters for the public’s use,
·       maintains an active WinLink (email over HAM radio) program
·       participates in local and international radio contests,
·       maintains a mobile communications trailer,
·       conducts multiple radio practice sessions (‘nets’) for local hams each week,
·       has weekly breakfast meetings,
·       runs a busy email list,
·       conducts quarterly equipment demonstrations,
·       maintains their web site, along with the & subsites, and
·       offers the annual Field Day to further encourage public involvement

Emergency Preparedness

VMIRC’s emergency preparedness activities are conducted clip_image007

through the club’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) affiliation by its Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS) affiliate. (ACS is broader than just ham radio and works on all forms of communication.) ACS consists of licensed amateurs who voluntarily register their qualifications and equipment for public communications duty when disaster strikes. Internet, traditional and cell phones, email and other forms of modern communications are periodically disrupted – and often during emergencies. Amateur Radio provides the only consistent, decentralized and resilient communications backup for communities.

ACS Lead, Michael Meyer says, “Vashon ACS has exercised a wide variety of communication emergency scenarios, and found that a combination of voice radio and email-over-radio (without the internet) provides a robust, Island-wide and off-Island communications network.  ACS can quickly staff radio caches at the four Island outlying fire stations and the EOC Radio Room at Station 55.  Our frequent drills with Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, CERT, MRC and VashonBePrepared has really improved our effectiveness and ability to efficiently respond to actual incidents. Communications help keep crises from becoming disasters.”

2018 Field Day

On Saturday and Sunday June 23rd and 24th, VMIRC competes in ARRL’s Field Day event ( and with thousands of amateur radio operators making radio contacts from community parks, campgrounds, schools and emergency centers throughout North America.

Open to families and the general public, this free event is a great way for those curious about radio communications to see real operations, chat with operators and even try a call themselves.

Field Day is a good day to acquaint yourself with the workings of the W7VMI trailer, radios and antenna's, all in a no-stress environment with lots of "elmering". Of course there will also be classes on digital radio and lots of time to rag chew as well.

clip_image009VMIRC champion Sharon Danielson says, “Everyone is invited to come and see what ham radio is all about.  There is something for everyone of any age, most of all friendship and camaraderie!”

Points are awarded for a wide variety of activities under simulated emergency conditions:
·       encouraging alternative & emergency power sources such as batteries and solar arrays,
·       mobile operation of radios and antennas,
·       operation of a wide range of modes (e.g., voice, historical Morse code, digital email and video sent via radio),
·       continuous 24 hour availability,
·       ability to reach other contestants across the globe,
·       visits by elected officials, and
·       involvement of youth and the public who have never tried radio operation before.

This year we are going to try something different.   We will set up in a large field next to the Swallows Nest on Maury Island, with a beautiful view of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier.  We are also going to set up three radio stations, two for voice and/or CW and a third for digital modes.  We will have the usual Pot Luck Dinner starting at 17:30 on Saturday followed by a class on using hand held radios for email and fox hunting courtesy of Michael KB7MTM.

For those of you who haven’t been to Field Day before, the data exchange with contacts across the country means we are a three station club operation located in Western Washington operating with the call sign W7VMI.  Two stations will be in the club trailer, and Sharon AE7SD has graciously agreed to bring a sparkling clean horse trailer for the third station.

Setup will begin at 9:00 Saturday morning and takedown generally happens late Sunday morning. You are welcome to attend any time during that timeframe, but the prime opportunity to meet everyone and learn how Vashon will preserve communications after a disaster will be Saturday afternoon.

Everyone is welcome to operate one of the stations, and there will be plenty of help around to assist if you have never operated one of the club HF radios or have never operated long distance on the radio or in a contest.  Also, family members and friends who are not licensed ham operators can get in on the fun too by operating the radios as a guest under the guidance of one of our licensed club members, and we get additional points for the club when someone under 18 makes a contact!

For the hidden transmitter hunt (called a "fox hunt"), you hide a low-wattage transmitter in the woods somewhere and then use a home-made directional antenna to triangulate and find the transmitter.  Sort of "radio orienteering."  For big fox hunts they hide five transmitters and race to see who can find them all first.  I guess folks actually run with their antennas and radios!

VMIRC President Craig Gagner reports, “The public is invited to see what ham radio is all about and have a chance to try their hand at making radio contacts and experience the fun of operating an amateur radio station.  This is a chance to meet and talk with Vashon’s radio operators and see what modern Emergency Communications is all about.  During the two day event we will have demonstrations of satellite communications, a digital communications workshop and an opportunity to learn how to get your own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. We’ll also be using the club’s new second transmitter. It provides exciting new digital modes and technical capabilities to the community.”


Saturday 6/23/18

· 0800: Breakfast: Sporties

· 0900-11:00 a.m.: (aka 1800 UTC) Proceed to the field just south of the Swallows Nest on Maury Island, behind the setup antenna's, open trailer, test radios, drink coffees, get in each other’s way

· 11:00 a.m-23:59: Play radio on HF voice, CW and Digital, drink coffee, soda, water etc.

· 17:30: Potluck, bring your own plates and cups and something to share.

· 18:30-19:30 After dinner classes: digital modes and why you should love them.

Sunday 6/24/18

· 00:01-11:00 Play radio on HF voice, CW and Digital, drink coffee, soda, water etc., rub eyes, stumble around in the dark

· 0900: Coffee at 9:00, are YOU bringing pastries?

· Breakdown:11:00-12:00, return trailer to EOC

For more information about preparedness and amateur radio – please visit:

· Vashon Maury Island Radio Club:

· VashonBePrepared:

· Vashon Island Fire & Rescue:

· King County Office of Emergency Management:

· ARRL the national association for Amateur Radio:


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