Dear B-Town Blog Editor:
Your Town’s “hams” will join with thousands of Amateur Radio operators who will be showing off their emergency capabilities this weekend. 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.
During Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio – often called “Ham Radio” – was often the ONLY way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property. When trouble is brewing, Amateur Radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. On the weekend of June 23-24, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with area ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. Showing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications and even historical Morse code, hams from across the USA will be holding public demonstrations 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 participated in last year’s event.
“We hope that people will come and see for themselves, this is not your grandfather’s radio anymore,” said Allen Pitts, W1AGP, of the ARRL. “The communications that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives when other systems failed or were overloaded. And besides that – it’s fun!”
In the Normandy Park area, the Highline Amateur Radio Club will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at the Marvista Park in Normandy Park on June 23 and June 24. The address is 19900 4th Avenue SW.
Highline Amateur Radio Club: www.highlinearc.org,  President of the Board of Trustees, Normandy Park, WA 98166. 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.
There are over 685,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and nonemergency community services too, all for free.
To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org. The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern Amateur Radio can do. They can even help you get on the air!
John C. Elliott
President Highline Amateur Radio Club
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