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Amateur Radio Operators to Have ‘Field Day’ with Emergency Communications

Local ‘hams’ will hold public demonstrations this weekend at Camino Real Marketplace

Even though cell phones, email and text messaging seem to be everywhere, when a crisis strikes, millions of Americans can find themselves in the dark. Wildfires, earthquakes, storms, floods and overloaded systems all too often interrupt critical communications. In these cases, the one consistent communications service that never fails is amateur radio.

This Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Santa Barbara’s ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about, as hams across the nation will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities as part of the 2012 Field Day.

“Field Day is a way for hams to get outdoors and have fun under difficult conditions,” said Tom Saunders, the Field Day committee chair for the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club. “We welcome visitors, especially kids, to explore our fully equipped mobile station’s capabilities and communicate long distances with voice, digital data and video — all without using the Internet!”

The event is the climax of the weeklong Amateur Radio Week sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators in all 50 states and Canada will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards.

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, the Internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. For hams, Field Day is the largest on-air event of the year.

More than 35,000 amateur radio operators participated in last year’s event. This year, Santa Barbara amateur radio operators will contact thousands of other hams throughout the United States, Canada and the world using a variety of wireless modes, including making contacts using amateur radio satellites in orbit.

This is a rare opportunity to see Field Day in action and do some weekend shopping at Camino Real Marketplace. So please stop by 7410 Hollister Ave. from 11 a.m. Saturday through 11 a.m. Sunday.

Click here for more information.

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