Monday, June 14, 2010
PUBLIC INFORMATION ANNOUNCEMENT
For Immediate Release: For additional information contact: Ian D. Wollen, (904) 284-3357
“Radio Hams” from Orange Park Join in National Deployment
Public Demonstration of Emergency Communications June 26 - 27
Orange Park's “hams” will join with thousands of Amateur Radio operators who will be showing off their emergency capabilities the last weekend in June. 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 during the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events world-wide.
The Orange Park Amateur Radio Club and the Clay County ARES Group will be participating in the Amateur Radio Relay League’s annual Field Day, starting at 12:00 PM on Saturday the 26th of June and lasting until 12:00 PM on Sunday the 27th of June. The site of our local gathering will be Lakeside Elementary School, located on Moody Road in Orange Park. The public is welcome to attend. Amateur radio operators will be on site practicing emergency communications and giving demonstrations of radios and radio operations. Persons interested in amateur radio or in emergency communications are welcome to drop in. Just follow the signs from the parking lot to the site.
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 26 - 27, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Orange Park's 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!” There are over 650,000 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 emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies, all for free. The public is 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!
Mary Justino (on behalf of Adrian Gray, KJ4BOT, Clay County ARES Emergency Coordinator)
Public Information Coordinator
Clay County Sheriff's Office