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RIDGWAY — An amateur radio “Field Day” event is set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday and continue through Sunday at Lewis Camp in Ridgway, demonstrating science, skill and service members of the Elk County Amateur Radio Association.

Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary stations in public locations during Field Day to demonstrate ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions, from almost any location, and create an independent communications network.

More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day 2018.

For more than 100 years, amateur radio, or “ham radio,” has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster or emergency, all without needing a cell phone or internet.

“It’s easy for anyone to pick up a computer or smart phone, connect to the internet and communicate, with no knowledge of how the devices function or connect to each other,” said David Isgur, communications manager for the American Radio Relay League. “But, if there’s an interruption of service or you’re out of range of a cell tower, you have no way to communicate.

“Ham radio functions completely independent of the internet or cell phone infrastructure, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of Amateur radio during a communications outage.”

Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator, and there are more than 725,000 in the United States, ranging from age 9 to 100.

For more information about Field Day or the Elk County Amateur Radio Association, contact kb3ewt@gmail.com.

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