The fourth full weekend in June annually brings Roanoke Valley and United States wide Ham Radio operators together to test communication skills and use their training to contact, pass messages and information under simulated emergency conditions. Beginning back in 1933 as an event to test field preparedness by the Amateur Radio Relay League, it has become an annual operation. The purpose remains the same, “To demonstrate the communications ability of the amateur radio community in simulated emergency situations.”
Emergency communication is part of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Licensed Amateur Radio Service that keeps the hobby alive and well. Where it be, major hurricanes, tornadoes in eastern Virginia, earthquakes in Chile or Haiti or tsunami, the Ham Radio community worldwide gets information out of remote isolated areas. In some cases these areas can be New York City, where cell phones fail because of overload. The example of Hams in Action was seen during the recent earthquake, where major damage to property and loss of lives, caused area wide communication issues. The recent tornadoes through out the south and mid west and even in our local area Amateur Radio was there doing a special job. If there is a need for communication, Ham Radio will be there!
On June 25 and 26, 2011, (Saturday and Sunday) local amateur radio operators from the Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club will gather in Botetourt County, just off Catawba Road (1670 Catawba Road) to test their skills during a 24 hour event. The event begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday and ends at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The public is welcome and demonstrations of the many types of radio communications will be featured for viewing. Local citizens and members of local governments are also invited to learn more about the Amateur Radio Service and will be allowed to make a contact with other emergency stations located within in the United States and Canada. The exercise is referred to as “Field Day” and takes place annually in June. Sponsorship of the event is by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) and the Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club (RVARC).
In addition to the Field Day activities the RVARC holds classes at the American Red Cross yearly for those interested to taking Federal Communication Commission (FCC) licensing exams. There is also a large event held each year referred to as a “Hamfest”, held this year at William High School, on August 6, 2011. This event allows hams to buy, sell and trade equipment. The RVARC also provides communications for local events such as Walk-America, Salem Christmas Parade, and local Bike races up Mill Mountain. The local club helps with Ham Radio Clubs at local High Schools and Middle Schools in the area.
The Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club meets twice monthly, on the second and fourth Fridays, at the American Red Cross Building on Church Avenue, at 8 p.m. Anyone interested is invited to attend and become a member of the RVARC, a non-profit – public service organization.
For more information about the Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club contact the club website www.w4ca.us or write the RVARC @ PO Box 2002, Roanoke, Virginia 24009 or call the President of the Roanoke Valley ARC, Scott Fisher, 540-598-5175 or via email at AK4DV@yahool.com .