Despite the Internet, cell phones, 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.
3Rivers Amateur Radio Club “hams” will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities the weekend of June 22-23.
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 Idaho 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 22-23, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Idaho, Lewis, and Clearwater 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.