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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World Radiosport Championship - the X Games of ham radio - coming here in July

Hollis, a hotbed of ham radio, is one of 16 New England places that will host the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship.

In this global competition, amateur-radio teams around the world will establish identical setups (same antenna, gear) and between July 9 and 14 will enact emergency scenarios to see which can make the most voice and Morse connection with teams around the world in 24 hours. You can follow scores online - or go to Hollis to watch, of course. This is the first time it will be held in the U.S. since 1996.

Like a lot of people, I assumed that voice over IP, cell phones and satellite connections would kill ham radio, but it seems to be doing fine. It has become part of the emergency-management arsensal herabouts (it's offered as part of advanced training in Nashua's Community Emergency Response Team training, for example) that gets used during major power outages in ice storms, because it's easy to set up and is a power-stingy way to communicate long distances.

The World Radiosport Championship (I love the term "radiosport" - very cool) has been held in places like Slovenia, Brazil and Russia and even exotic locales like San Francisco. I believe this is the first time it has come to New England.

2014 is also the centennial of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for ham radio in the U.S.