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Ham radio field days set this weekend in Longview

From Staff Reports
June 20, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Longview and East Texas area ham radio operators are scheduled to participate Saturday and Sunday in a nationwide public demonstration of emergency communications capabilities.

Todd Hoover, spokesman for the Longview East Texas Amateur Radio Club, said 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 fiberoptic cables leave people without the means to communicate," he said. "In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been amateur radio."

These radio operators provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station, he said.

"Longview's 'hams' will join with thousands of other amateur radio operators showing their emergency capabilities" this weekend, he said. "The public will have a chance to meet and talk with Longview's ham radio operators and see for themselves what the amateur radio service is about.

"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," Hoover said. "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 Longview area, the Longview East Texas Amateur Radio Club will be demonstrating amateur radio at the Red Cross Building, West Loop 281 and Texas 31, beginning at noon Saturday.

"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," Hoover said.



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