June 25, 2008

World of Amateur Radio on Display This Weekend

By JOI LOUVIERE, Courier & Press staff writer 464-7419 or [email protected]

In an emergency when televisions won't work, radio stations tune out and phone lines are flooded, amateur radio operators are there.

"The communications networks that ham radio people can quickly create have saved many lives in the past months when other systems failed or were overloaded," said Allen Pitts, media relations director for the Newington, Conn.-based American Radio Relay League, a national association of amateur radio operators.

The league is sponsoring a field day on Saturday and Sunday at the Vanderburgh 4-H Center to test the skills of area radio operators and teach the community about the importance of ham radio. The event is part of Amateur Radio Week in Evansville. Activities for the public will start at 1 p.m. Saturday. Radio operators will be on the air continuously through the night and into the next day, wrapping up around noon on Sunday.

"We hope that people will come and see for themselves this is not your grandfather's radio anymore," Pitts said.

The public will get a chance to see ham operators in action and learn how to get a radio license.

There are 650,000 people with amateur radio licenses in the U.S. and 2.5 million around the world.

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