INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Thousands of Ham Radio operators will be showing off their emergency capabilities June 25-26. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications in emergencies including the California wildfires, Oregon, Michigan, and Northeast winter storms, tornadoes and other events world wide.
During Hurricane Katrina, Amateur Radio – often called “Ham radio” – it was often the only way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property. When trouble is brewing, ham radio people are often the first to provide critical information and communications.
On the weekend of June 25 and 26, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with these ham radio operators of the Vero Beach Amateur Radio Club (VBARC), and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. The event will be held locally on the Wabasso Causeway.
Showing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, and voice communications, hams from across the US 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, VBARC ham operators will construct emergency stations on Wabasso Causeway. They will be “on the air” from 2 p.m. Saturday through 2 p.m. Sunday. In other places around the country, hams will set up in shopping Malls, parks, and other public places. 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 the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 30,000 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 of the ARRL. “The communications networks that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives in the past months when other systems failed or were overloaded.”
VBARC invites the public to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities, free of charge, and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. There are over 717,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s ARES program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies, all for free.
To learn more about local Amateur Radio, visit the VBARC website at http://www.w4ot.com, or call Public Information Officer, Paul J Bartoszewicz, at (770) 905-9821. The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams, and see what modern Amateur Radio can do. We will even help you get on the air at the event!