By Sharon Aron Baron
South Florida “hams” will join thousands of Amateur Radio operators and show off their emergency capabilities.
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 to save lives and property.
Amateur Radio people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. On Saturday, Jan 28, and Sunday, Jan 29, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with ham radio operators and see 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.
Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools, and backyards around the country. Their slogan, “Ham radio works when other systems don’t! ” is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without using phone systems, the internet, or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.
The demonstration, organized by Margate’s Gold Coast Amateur Radio Association, is in partnership with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Held at Quiet Waters Park, 401 South Powerline Rd in Deerfield Beach, Florida, on Saturday, Jan 28, beginning at 2:00 pm and ending at 2:00 pm on Sunday, Jan 29.
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.
“We hope that people will come and see for themselves. This is not your grandfather’s radio anymore,” said Allen Pitts 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.”
There are over 650,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US and more than 2.5 million worldwide. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies, all for free.
To learn more about Amateur Radio and this event, go to w4bug.org. The public is invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. More than 30,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.
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- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media, which includes Margate Talk, Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk.
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