Rick Nichols
Special to The Gardner News
If you think you’ve got a great voice for radio and are longing to be heard by others, the opportunity to get on the air will come your way this weekend.
Members of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club gather at Ensor Park and Museum in south Olathe for amateur radio’s Field Day, an annual nationwide event organized by the American Radio Relay League that enables amateur radio operators, or “hams,” to demonstrate their communication skills amid conditions comparable to those likely to be present during a real emergency.
Field Day begins at Ensor Park and Museum, 18995 183rd Street, at 1 p.m. Saturday and will continue through 1 p.m. Sunday. During this 24-hour period, using the club call sign of KS0KS, “hams” will attempt to make contact with as many of their fellow “hams” as possible, be those other operators in nearby states, states hundreds of miles away, or a foreign country.
According to Gardner’s Jim Andera, K0NK, club members will be operating on any of six bands (i.e., frequency ranges), referred to as 6 meters, 10 meters, 15 meters, 20 meters, 40 meters and 80 meters, and in one of three modes, voice, continuous wave (i.e., Morse code) and digital.    “On behalf of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club, I’d like to invite the public to come out and see what amateur radio is all about,” Andera said. “This is an exciting hobby and an enjoyable way to spend one’s time. However, amateur radio goes beyond being just a hobby, it’s also a means by which we can exchange information with each other in the wake of a disaster when other methods of communication are no longer available.”
A GOTA (Get On The Air) station is one of the stations that will be in operation over the weekend. There, individuals who don’t have an amateur radio license will be able to talk to a “ham” miles away while a license-holding member of the club positioned just a few feet away listens and assists with the equipment and its settings as needed.
Those planning on dropping by Ensor Park and Museum during Field Day are encouraged to practice social distancing while there. Face masks are optional, and hand sanitizers will be available.
Unfortunately, the museum itself is closed to the public at this time, but visitors are certainly free to stroll about the grounds that comprise the historic eight-acre site.
More information about the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club can be obtained by visiting   www.sftorg.org. For additional information about Field Day, visit   www.arrl.org.