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Section A: General News


When all other communications fail, amateur radio works




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June 19, 2013 | 1,202 views | Post a comment

‘Ham’ radio in action June 22-23

POTH -- Visitors to the Poth City Park can get more than physical exercise this weekend; they can also get an education in “ham” radio, as the national association for amateur radio, ARRL, hosts a field day event Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23. Members of the public are invited to see how amateur radio provides communications during crises, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and more.

Despite the Internet, cell phones, email, and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, local storms, hurricanes, and the occasional accidental cutting of fiber optic cable leave thousands of people with no means of communication. In these cases, the consistent service that has never failed has been amateur radio. These radio operators, also known as “hams,” provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even the International Space Station. Floresville and the Wilson County “hams” will join the thousands of other Amateur Radio Operators demonstrating their emergency capabilities this weekend.

During this field day event, members of the public can meet and talk with Wilson County’s ham radio operators and see for themselves what the amateur radio is all about as local hams join others across the United States to conduct public demonstrations of their emergency communication abilities.

This annual field day is the climax of the weeklong Amateur Radio Week sponsored by the ARRL. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, and back yards around the country. Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works,” is more than just words to the hams as they prove that they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, Internet, or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators from across the country participated in last year’s event.

Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America, including the California wildfires, winter storms, the Joplin, Tuscaloosa, and Moore tornado outbreaks, and many other events worldwide. When trouble arises, amateur radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications.

“The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communications,” said Allen Pitts of ARRL. “From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to the tornado outbreaks in Missouri, Alabama, and Oklahoma, ham radio provided the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events. Because ham radios are not dependent on the Internet, cell towers, or other infrastructure, they work when nothing else is available. We need nothing between us but air.”

The Wilson County Amateur Radio Club/ARES will be demonstrating amateur radio in the Poth City Park this Saturday and Sunday. Everyone is cordially invited to visit and see ham radio’s new capabilities and to learn how to get an FCC radio license.

Amateur Radio is growing in the United States. There are now more than 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the United States and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) program, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency services too, all for free.

For more information, visit www.emergencyradio.org.

For more about this weekend’s event, contact Jim Helmke at 830-391-4596.

ARES field day
Saturday and Sunday,
June 22-23, all day
Poth City Park
Ham radio operators demonstrate emergency communications “off the grid.” Learn more at www.emergencyradio.org
 

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