Published : Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | 12:25 PM
Pasadena resident and top amateur radio operator David Hodge (amateur radio callsign N6AN) has been selected to compete in the World Radiosport Team Championship 2014 (WRTC2014). This quadrennial radiosport competition, the first held in the United States since 1996, will be held across 16 New England communities from July 9 through 14. Known as the â€œOlympiad of amateur radio,â€ previous WRTC2014 competitions have been held in Seattle (1990), San Francisco (1996), Slovenia (2000), Finland (2002), Brazil (2006), and Russia (2010).
â€œI think it all started when I stuck a hairpin in a light switch at the age of 3 or 4,â€ says Hodge, of his interest in amateur radio, â€œI felt firsthand the power of electricity, and half the lights in the house went out!â€ By the age of 14, Hodge had his first amateur radio callsign as a novice, and has grown into a respected radio contestor on the world stage. His diverse career has led him through a history as a professional French horn musician with two top orchestras in Mexico City. He has gone on to become a broadcast television professional in the US. Hodge credits his involvement with radiosport for several lifelong friendships in the hobby. â€œA thrilling contest is even more meaningful when one has had the opportunity to know the person on the other end,â€ shares Hodge. â€œTo spend a week with the best of the best in radiosport is a dream come true.â€
WRTC2014 pits 59 two-operator all-star amateur radio teams, representing 38 countries, in a battle of operating skill and strategy under emergency field conditions, for personal and national pride on a world stage. Similar to Olympic athletes, competitors hone their skills for superior performance through mental and physical conditioning, talent, skill and strategy. This form of competition evolved as a method of practicing emergency communication, but also serves as a laboratory for technology innovation and experimentation, much like other technical sports, such as motor sports or sailing.
Competing teams were selected from around the world in a series of 55 qualifying events over a 3-year period. Just earning a spot in the competition is a prestigious accomplishment for every competitor, allowing them to represent their country and have the opportunity to win a coveted place on the podium.
Returning to the United States after 18 years, WRTC2014 gathers competitors, referees, and visitors from around the world to connect and celebrate amateur radio. Hundreds of spectating visitors are also expected to attend, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to network with amateur radio luminaries worldwide, while enjoying the surrounding areaâ€™s rich history and regional charm. On the global scale, thousands more will â€œtune inâ€ and participate over the airwaves, and follow the eventâ€™s real-time Internet scoreboard to stay abreast of competition results. The largest â€œradiosportâ€ competitions draw activity from over 20,000 participants and can collectively include more than two million two-way contacts â€“ all in one weekend.
Amateur Radio, or â€œham radioâ€ as it is often called, enables licensed participants to use short wave frequencies to communicate with peers from around the world. Licensed â€œhamsâ€ in the United States are authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use their radio equipment to talk anywhere on earth, using different â€œmodes of operationâ€ such as voice, Morse code, or any of several digital modes, also pioneered within the ham radio community. Today, there are more licensed amateur radio operators than ever before – over 700,000 in the U.S. alone, in addition to more than a million operators around the world.
Amateur radio plays a key role as a critical emergency service in times of disaster when other forms of communication fail. Locally, this was demonstrated after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, when cellular networks were overloaded and failed. Amateur radio operators have assisted in providing communication services to the Marathon for many years, and were on hand to provide vital communications for Marathon volunteers following the bombing. Critical communication services were also provided by hams during the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Radio amateurs have been involved in the front lines of developing modern communications systems, including the fundamental technology used in all cell phones.
For more information, visit www.wrtc2014.org.
The World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) is an international competition held every four years, consisting of 50+ two-person teams of amateur radio operators from around the world competing in a test of operating skill. Unlike most on-the-air competitions, all stations are required to use identical antennas from the same geographic region, eliminating all variables except operating ability. The WRTC 2014 committee is an independent organization created specifically to organize the event. For more information, visit www.wrtc2014.org or contact WRTC Chairman Doug Grant via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the history and results of previous WRTC events is available at www.wrtc.info.
About ARRL and the Amateur Radio Service
Amateur Radio (often called â€œham radioâ€) provides the broadest and most powerful wireless communications capability available to any private citizen anywhere in the world. The principles of this federally licensed radio service include public service, radio experimentation, and international goodwill.
ARRL is the national membership association for amateur radio operators in the US. Its mission is â€œto promote and advance the art, science and enjoyment of amateur radio.â€ ARRL members span the globe, supported by the organizationâ€™s programs, activities, publications and experts. ARRL publishes books, software, online courses and resources for amateur radio licensing, operating, and education. ARRL and its members also provide outreach to schools and teachers, inspiring students to pursue education and careers in the fields of wireless technology (radio, electronics, and computers). Information about ARRL is available at www.arrl.org.