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. In Clark County, “hams” will join with thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities on June 23‐24 and Governor Brian Sandoval has proclaimed June as “Amateur Radio Month in Nevada.
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 23‐24, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Las Vegas 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.
Come meet and talk to Las Vegas resident and ham radio operator, N0CSM, Craig McVeay, who was one of the American Red Cross volunteers (known as the “Force of 50”) deployed to storm‐ravaged Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
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 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.”
In the Las Vegas area, the Clark County Nevada Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (ARES/RACES) will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at the Red Rock Search and Rescue location at 340 Villa Monterey Drive, Las Vegas. 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 over 700,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non‐emergency community services too, all for free.
To learn more about Amateur Radio, visit www.arrl.org/what‐is‐ham‐radio.The public is invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern Amateur Radio can They can even help you get on the air!