Amateur radio event scheduled at Mills Park
The Benton Amateur Radio Society will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at Mills Park on Saturday and Sunday.
The organization invites the public to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get a FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. This year, the organization will have a Get On The Air or “GOTA” station open for anyone to make some contacts with our Control operator and GOTA Coach standing by.
Despite internet, cell phones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice 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.
Central Arkansas “hams” will join with thousands of other amateur radio operators showing their emergency capabilities this weekend.
During the past year, there have been many 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 people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications.
On the weekend of June 22-23, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Central Arkansas ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about as hams across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications capabilities.
The annual event, called “Field Day” is the climax of the week-long “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, 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.
The 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.
“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 www.emergency-radio.org.
The event is open to the public and the community is invited to come, meet and talk with the hams.