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Public demonstration of emergency communications begins Saturday

Special to the LVN

“Who ya’ gonna call? Churchill County Amateur Radio Hams!”

A public demonstration of emergency communications is set for this weekend starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday for 24 hours.

The ARCC will be based at the Lake Lahontan State Park in the group uses area.

Despite the Internet, cellphones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice and even the occasional cutting 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.

Churchill County’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 Churchill County 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.