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Amateur radio to be celebrated

Staff reports

On Sept. 16, amateur radio operators across the country will be doing something they do best, sharing their passion for “ham radio,” a personal communications technology that continues to hold its own in the Internet age.

On Amateur Radio Awareness Day, Amateur Radio clubs will speak to community groups, hold live demonstrations and participate in other activities to raise public awareness about Amateur Radio.

The annual event is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national organization for amateur radio. “Amateur Radio is very much alive and well in the 21st century,” says Dick Flanagan, president of the Carson Valley Radio Club. “We are experimenting with cutting-edge digital communications, serving our communities in times of need and having fun making friends with people all over the world.” The challenge of making radio contact with someone halfway around the world, and the lure of the human voice, are what many ham radio enthusiasts find most appealing. “When people ask me if the Internet has replaced what we do, I explain what many of us refer to as the “magic of radio,” says Flanagan. “Just let a youngster make an Amateur Radio contact, and they know instantly what keeps us all coming back for more.” Amateur Radio is about having fun, but it can also be an important communications resource during emergencies. When disaster strikes, Amateur Radio operators often volunteer for backup communications duty to help local officials, the National Weather Service and service agencies such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. This year, ham radio operators responded when tornadoes hit Tennessee and Wisconsin and also during the wildfires in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Although it has been relatively quiet so far, this year’s hurricane season may bring additional demands for ham radio involvement. Today, there are more than 650,000 Amateur Radio operators in the United States and more than 2.5 million worldwide. Information on how to get into Amateur Radio is available from Dick Flanagan, telephone 775-267-4900, e-mail w6old@arrl.net or telephone the American Radio Relay League at 1-800-32NEW HAM.