The Northeast Tarrant County Amateur Radio Club (NETARC) will join thousands of other Amateur Radio operators to demonstrate emergency communications capabilities as the City of Southlake Emergency Operations Center plays host to the club’s Amateur Radio Field Day on Saturday June 22 and Sunday June 23.
This annual event 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.
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. Ham radio operators provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station. .
“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 Missouri, 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.”
Amateur Radio is growing in the U.S. There are now over 700,000 Amateur Radio Licensees in the U.S. 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 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.
For more information on the Northeast Tarrant Amateur Radio Club, visit their website here.