Ham Radio Operators To Host Field Day

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Ham Radio Operators demonstrate modern capabilities with a public demonstration of emergency communications on June 23-24 at the annual field day event, held at Rumsey Park, Ramada #3. The event will run for 24 consecutive hours, beginning at 11 a.m. on June 23. The public is invited to come and see ham radio's capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.

This annual event, called "Field Day," is the climax of the week-long "Amateur Radio Week," sponsored by the ARRL (American Radio Relay League), the National Association for Amateur Radio. Ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and back yards around the country. Their slogan, "When all else fails," is more than just words to the Hams, as they prove 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 20,000 Amateur Radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.

This weekend, thousands of ham radio operators will be showing off their emergency capabilities. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications in emergencies worldwide.

During Hurricane Katrina, amateur radio, often called ham radio, was often the only way people could communicate and hundreds of volunteer hams traveled south to save lives and property. When trouble is brewing, ham radio people are often the first to provide critical information and communications.

On the weekend of June 23-24, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with local ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio service is about. Though the newest digital and satellite capabilities exist, due to budgetary constraints, not all locals will be equipped to demonstrate these; but expect to see/hear traditional voice communications, and perhaps even historical Morse code.

Hams from across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of emergency capabilities.

There are 660,000 Amateur Radio operators in the U.S., and more than 2.5 million around the world.

Through the ARRL, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for the DHS Citizens' Corps, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, FEMA and thousands of state and local agencies, all for free.

"We hope that people will come and see for themselves that this is not your grandfather's radio anymore," said Allen Pitts of the ARRL.

"The communications networks that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives in the past months when other systems failed or were overloaded."

To learn more about amateur radio, go to http://www.arrl.org. The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. Licensed TARA members can even allow you to participate on the air under direct supervision.

By the way, earning an Amateur Radio license has become even easier, since Morse code is no longer a requirement in the Amateur Radio Service.

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