Observatory will hold ham radio event

TUPPER LAKE – The Adirondack Public Observatory is set to hold a 24-hour ham radio event this weekend.

The organization is getting involved in amateur radio. It recently applied for and was granted a radio call sign from the Federal Communications Commission, APO Chairman Marc Staves told the Enterprise Tuesday.

The plan is to teach kids how to use ham radios in a club-style environment, Staves said.

Ham radios are connected with astronomy because the international space station has an active ham radio presence. Amateur radio operators can schedule a time when the space station will contact them directly and talk with them over the airwaves, Staves said. It takes about a year-and-a-half to schedule, but Staves said he hopes to do that with local school children in the future, likely when the space station is passing over the area.

As part of the new ham radio push, the APO is holding a Ham Radio Field Day. The 24-hour event starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and runs until 2 p.m. Sunday, and is one of a number hosted around the area by the New York Amateur Radio Association.

Staves said it’s an event that focuses on emergency preparedness. Participants will put their equipment in less-than-ideal conditions and see how they operate.

The event will be held at the unfinished Roll-Off-Roof Observatory at the APO site, 178 Big Wolf Road in Tupper Lake.

Staves said that in conjunction with the event, there will likely be some sky viewing as well, since the sky is supposed to be clear this weekend. He said the weekend will feature a “supermoon” – when the moon’s point when it’s closest to the Earth coincides with a full moon – so it will look brighter and 12 to 16 percent bigger than normal.

“Everyone’s welcome to come on out and check it out,” Staves said. “It should be a good time.”

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.