Am­a­teur ra­dio event sched­uled at Mills Park

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE -

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-ra­

The event is open to the pub­lic and the com­mu­nity is in­vited to come, meet and talk with the hams.

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