‘When all else fails, ham ra­dio works!’

Pub­lic demo of emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions June 28

The Covington News - - LOCAL - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­news.com

De­spite the In­ter­net, cell phones, email and mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions, ev­ery year whole re­gions find them­selves in the dark. In such cases, the one con­sis­tent ser­vice that never fails is am­a­teur ra­dio. 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. Next weekend, New­ton County “hams” will join with thou­sands of other Am­a­teur Ra­dio oper­a­tors across the na­tion in demon­strat­ing their emer­gency ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

On Satur­day June 28, the pub­lic will have a chance to meet and talk with New­ton County ham ra­dio oper­a­tors and see for them­selves what the Am­a­teur Ra­dio Ser­vice is about. 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.

“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 other in­fra­struc­ture, they work when noth­ing else is avail­able. We need noth­ing be­tween us but air.”

In the Cov­ing­ton area, the New­ton County Ra­dio Club will be demon­strat­ing am­a­teur ra­dio at Kroger, 3139 US 278 on Satur­day June 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Club in­vites the pub­lic to come and see ham ra­dio’s 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. Be­sides pro­vid­ing emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions for thou­sands of state and lo­cal emer­gency re­sponse agencies, ham vol­un­teers also help out in non-emer­gency events, all for free.

To learn more about am­a­teur ra­dio, go to www. emer­gency-ra­dio.org and to learn more about New­ton County Ra­dio Club, go to www.ncr­cga.org. See what mod­ern am­a­teur ra­dio can do.

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