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 world-wide. 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.