NRV Amateur Radio Club to host emergency-use demonstration Saturday
On Saturday, June 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the New River Valley Amateur Radio Club will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at the Randolph Park Picnic Shelter area in Dublin. “Hams” from Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Dublin, Pulaski, Pearisburg, and Floyd, will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities. The public is invited to come and see ham radio’s uses 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 weeklong “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools 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 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 across the country participated in last year’s event.
Despite the Internet, cellphones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice, major equipment failures, and even the occasional cutting of fiber-optic cables leave people without the means to communicate. In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been Amateur Radio. These radio operators, often called “hams” provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station.
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, tornadoes and other events worldwide. When trouble is brewing, 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 the ARRL. “From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, 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.”
To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to emergency-radio.org. See what modern Amateur Radio can do. They can even help you get on the air!
To reach Randolph Park, from Interstate 81 South, take the Dublin Exit 98, proceed to the first stoplight, take a left at McDonald’s and proceed 1/2 mile to the entrance of the park.
– Submitted by Roger Bell, New River Valley Amateur Radio Club
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