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. Wyoming Valley's “hams” will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio
operators showing 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 world-wide. 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 28-29, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Wilkes-Barre area 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 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. "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 Oklahoma, 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.”
In the Wilkes-Barre area, the Murgas Amateur Radio Club will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at
Frances Slocum State Park, (in Pavilion 1, Right turn at the park office) on June 28th and 29th. Setup will begin Friday night; on- air operations will begin Saturday at 2:00PM and conclude Sunday at 2:00PM.
Locally, the Murgas ARC provides backup communications for the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency as well as communication resources for Wilkes-Barre Triathlon, Wilkes-Barre Duathlon, and several other public service events throughout the year. Gov. Tom Corbett also declared June as Amateur Radio Month. “Since wireless radio’s earliest days,” Gov Corbett said, these men and women have worked diligently to provide vital supplemental communication to their communities during times of emergencies and natural disasters, and at public events.” Gov. Corbett commented his state’s radio amateurs’ “time, talents, and efforts” and wished Amateur Radio “continued success in the future.”
The public is invited to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. Amateur Radio is growing in the US. There are now over 700,000 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 non-emergency 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!
For more information on the Murgas Amateur Radio Club, go to http://murgasarc.org/
The Murgas Amateur Radio Club will also hold it's 34th Annual Hamfest, (an electronics flea market and convention of radio enthusiasts) on Sunday July 6th at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds in Lehman. The public is also invited to attend, although there will be an admission charge for the Hamfest. Gates open at 8AM, rain or shine. The Hamfest concludes around Noon.
Information on the Hamfest can be found at: http://hamfest.murgasarc.org/
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