This weekend hundreds of ham radio operators will descend upon the Concord Rod and Gun Club in Concord, and dozens of those participants will be from a vibrant and longstanding group here in Westford.
The Police Amateur Radio Team (PART) of Westford will be participating in “Field Day,” an event where ham radio operators gather to practice their skills by attempting communications with as many other operators as possible.
Concord’s event is just one of many across the Northeastern United States, but the event itself is just one of the things PART of Westford does, ranging from helping organize the annual Apple Blossom Parade to aiding law enforcement officials during crisis situations.
The club was born in the 1970s with the help of former Police Chief Joseph Connell to help connect police officers with stranded motorists in the days before cell phones.
Fast forwarding to 2014, approximately 50 people crowd the Police Department training room every third Tuesday of the month, although it wasn’t always that way.
“The club grew, at the beginning there were about ten to twelve people,” said Club President Andy Stewart of Chelmsford. “It’s really been just over the past 8 to ten years that we’ve grown. “
Despite the rise of cell phones and other technologies, Stewart sees ham radio as a supplement to modern technologies rather than an obsolete technology in itself.
“We mesh with new technologies like the internet,” he says. “There are a lot of different technological aspects that feed into the hobby.”
PART of Westford meetings are open to anyone interested in ham radio.
The annual Field Day event will be held on Saturday, June 28 at 2 p.m. until Sunday, June 29 at 2 p.m.
More information on Field Day is available on the National Association of Amateur Radio website.