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When power fails, lines are down, cell phones jammed, ham radio can save the day

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The SCVRA consists of amateur radio operators (or Hams as they are commonly known) from River Falls, Hudson, Baldwin, Hammond, New Richmond, Somerset and the surrounding area in western Wisconsin, with several from Minnesota sometimes participating with the local group.

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The objective of Field Day, a nationwide event, is to practice and demonstrate the ability to set up radio transmitting and receiving equipment under simulated emergency conditions and communicate with as many other Hams as possible.

Most of our area Hams take part in emergency communications training so that, in time of a disaster, whether it be local, regional, or national, they can be ready to provide emergency and supplementary communications when called upon by Emergency Government, Red Cross, Salvation Army, hospitals, or other disaster-serving organizations.

In the wake of hurricanes such as Katrina, devastating tornadoes as in Joplin, MO, or major earthquakes as in Japan, amateur radio may be the only functioning electronic communication available until workers can begin to restore cell phone operations and emergency power can be provided for fire fighters, law enforcement, and disaster-aid organizations.

Hams are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and enjoy their hobby by being able to talk with other Hams across town, around the state, throughout the country, or most anywhere in the world.

Modern electronic technology enables various means of communication to be used from simple Morse code to voice and several digital modes.

The public is invited to come out to Hoffman Park on the east side of River Falls just off of County Road M to see the Hams in action on Saturday, June 22, anytime from 1 to 5 p.m. or Sunday, June 23, from 8 a.m. until noon.

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