|Groveton Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Amateur radio demo slated
TRINITY – Despite the Internet, cell phones, email and modern com-munications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice and even the occa-sional cutting of fiber optic cables leave people without the means to com-municate. In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been amateur radio. To help familiarize the public with amateur radio operations, a public de-monstration will be held from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at 243 Koonce Road near Trinity. Amateur radio operators, often called "hams" prvide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Sttion. Trinity area "hams" will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities this weekend. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing cri-tical communications dur-ing unexpected emerg-encies in towns across America including the California wildfires, win-ter storms, tornadoes and other events world-wide. When trouble is brewing, amateur radio's people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and com-munications. On Saturday the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Trinity area ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Ser-vice is about as hams across the USA will be holding public demon-strations of emergency communications abilities. This annual event, called "Field Day" is the climax of the week long "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 backyards 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 part-icipated in last year's event. "The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communi-cations," 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." In the Trinity area, the Walker County Amateur Radio Group, which includes operators from Trinity County, will be demonstrating amateur radio operations. They invite the public to come and see ham radio's new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. Amateur radio is growing in the U.S. There are now over 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S., and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Services pro-gram, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thou-sands of state and local emergency response age-ncies and non-emergency community services too, all for free. To learn more about amateur radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org.