Thousands of ham radio operators will be showing off their emergency capabilities nationwide the weekend of June 26 and 27. Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators’ providing critical communications in emergencies, including the devastating earthquake in China, the California wildfires, Oregon and Michigan storms, tornadoes and other events worldwide.

During Hurricane Katrina, amateur radio — often called “ham radio” — was often the only way people could communicate, and hundreds of volunteer “hams” traveled south to save lives and property. When trouble is brewing, ham radio people are often the first to provide critical information and communications.

On the weekend of June 26-27, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with these ham radio operators and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. Showing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications and even historical Morse code, hams from across the country will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities.

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,” 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 34,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.

“We hope that people will come and see for themselves, this is not your grandfather’s radio anymore,” said Rob Struba AA1VK, president of the Waldo County Amateur Radio Association. “The communications networks that ham radio people can quickly create have saved countless lives in the past months when other systems, including cell phone networks, failed or were overloaded.”

The WCARA will be demonstrating amateur radio at the home of Gary Daigle KB1GBD and Carol Inman KB1KDX, 23 Dahlia Farm Road, Monroe. They invite the public to come and see ham radio’s capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes. Visitors will be invited to participate, talking on amateur radio to others across the country, or just to observe. There will also be a potluck supper around 5 p.m., to which all are invited.

There are 650,000 amateur radio licensees in the U.S., and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s ARES program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency-response agencies, all for free.

To learn more about amateur radio, go to emergency-radio.org. The public is invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern amateur radio can do.

For directions or more information, contact Carol at 525-3017 or at kb1kdx@myfairpoint.net.