OSWEGO – 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.
Your town’s “hams” will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities during their annual field day event.
Recognizing the key role that amateur radio operators often play in maintaining communications during natural disasters, Kevin Gardner, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature and Stephen Walpole, Legislator for District 14, designated June 20-26 as “Amateur Radio Week.”
Walpole presented Fulton Amateur Radio Club (FARC) President, David Granoff and field day chairman Mike Regan with the proclamation at the Oswego County Legislature meeting on June 9.
Over the weekend of June 25 and 26, the Fulton Amateur Radio Club will set up radio station under simulated emergency conditions at Fort Ontario for this annual event.
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 25-26, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with our 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 Regan. “From earthquakes and floods in France to tornadoes in Midwest, ham radio provides 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 Oswego County area, the Fulton Amateur Radio Club will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at Fort Ontario on June 25 starting at 2 p.m. and operate for 24 hours.
They invite the public 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 more than 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.
The current president of FARC, Dave Granoff, K3AS, said, “I am very appreciative of the support we have received from the Oswego County legislators and to Fort Ontario for allowing us the use of their facilities for this event. This proclamation can be a door opener to educate the public and our elected officials to the value of how amateur radio can work in our communities during civic events or natural disasters.”
To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org
To learn more about FARC, go to www.fultonamateurradioclub.org
They can even help you get on the air.