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Olympics of ham radio headed to Boston next week

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Attention New England: The British are coming!

But it's not a revolution, it's ham radio at its finest.

Operators from almost every continent and 39 countries will compete in the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) next week.

The event, dubbed “The Olympics of Ham Radio,” will take place July 12-13 at locations near Boston, along the I-495 corridor.

Radio sites include private property, state parks and other facilities in Mansfield, Wrentham, Devens, Assonet, Berkley, Dighton, Pepperell, Hollis (NH), East Taunton, Plymouth, Carver, Leominster, Medfield, Cohasset, Hingham and Norwell, MA.

Radiosport will pit 59 two-operator teams "in a battle of operating skill and strategy for personal and national pride," according to the WRTC official website.

Competitors are the best of the best in ham radio contesting - a skill that requires picking nearly unreadable signals from static and noise, confirming the contacts and logging them into a computer.

Repeat as needed, for an entire day.

All teams will be on air for the same 24 hour period - 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday - using similar basic equipment, so that operating skill is the most important factor.

Working from tents, the teams will be issued a two kilowatt generator, a 40 foot tower supporting a small beam antenna as well as 40 and 80 meter dipoles.

A complete description of equipment can be found here:

Teams will have to keep audio recordings of their transmissions and log all of the contacts, which will be verified by the judges before awards are presented.

Headquarters and team villages will be at the Doubletree Hotel in Westborough, MA. Opening ceremonies will take place July 9, followed by a drawing for transmitter site assignments and the issuing of special U.S. “one-by-one” call signs to each team (such as "W1A," "K1B," "N1C.")

For visitors, there will be plenty of ham radio related activities, including license exams at the Doubletree Hotel on July 9, and field trips to the American Radio Relay League in Newington, CT.

There will also be an opportunity to meet the Radiosport teams before and after the contest.

Over 400 volunteers, mostly from New England, will work in the field to set up and monitor the locations.

World Radiosport Team Championship occurs every four years, and was last held in Russia in 2010 and also in Brazil and Slovenia.

It's been held in the U.S. twice before, in Seattle and San Francisco.

Ham operators around the world are encouraged to contact Radiosport teams on the air and compete for participation awards.

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