BARC station at BHS50 Race 2012

BARC station at Bishop High Sierra Ultra Marathon start/finish

Despite the Internet, cell phones, email and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves cut off.  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.

This weekend local Owens Valley “hams” will join thousands of Amateur Radio operators throughout the US in demonstrating their emergency communications skills.

Sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Field Day is an annual event every June when radio amateurs from across the nation move into the field and simulate emergency conditions for twenty-four hours.

Using only emergency power supplies, ham radio operators will set up emergency radio stations to send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis, proving that “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works”.

The Bishop Amateur Radio Club (BARC) will be operating three “ham” radio stations near Lone Pine from 11am Saturday, June 23rd to 11am on Sunday June 24th. The public is invited to see these emergency communications radio stations in action, talk to the local hams, and learn more about ham radio. The venue is located 3.2 miles west of Lone Pine on the Whitney Portal road just beyond the Horseshoe Meadows road turn-off. Saturday afternoon is suggested as the best time to visit the station.

More than 35,000 hams from across the USA are expected to participate in this year’s Field Day event, holding public demonstrations over the weekend in venues across the country.

Amateur Radio continues to grow world-wide and 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 Services program, ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services too, all for free.

The Bishop Amateur Radio Club supports the Bishop High Sierra Ultra Marathon annually providing critical communications during the 19-hour race to ensure the safety of all the participating athletes. This year the club is also planning to the support the Everest Challenge cycle race for the first time.

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