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Amateur radio buffs to take part in emergency event Saturday

In a world so dependent on technology, especially cell phones, one may worry about what happens when an emergency strikes and cell service is down.

An event that has taken place annually since the 1930s focusing on amateur radio operators will shed light on a solution communicating during an emergency.

The Pahrump Amateur Radio Repeater Association will participate in the worldwide emergency communications exercise Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Calvada Eye.

“Basically we’re going to have two stations, one will be for the newer operators for some of the bands they can use, and the others will be for the rest of us that have a little more experience in operating them,” said Jon Schumacher, chairman of the Pahrump Amateur Radio Repeater Association. We’re going to be talking on the mic and we’re also going to be using Morse code.”

In a crisis situation, being able to relay information to others near and far is important. So having a different way to communicate with others using alternate power sources is vital.

“The first thing to go down is communications and when cell phones are down you are just about out of business,” Schumacher said. “We go out and we all have emergency power cables and some run on car batteries, I have a couple of generators, and other guys have different modes … and that’s basically what we’re going to demonstrate Saturday is operating under emergency conditions.”

With amateur radio enthusiasts taking part in the event throughout the country, Schumacher hopes to make as many contacts as possible during the day.

“We’re going to get in about eight hours worth of operating, so I expect with just a casual operation that we can get 300 or 400 contacts.”

Schumacher hopes to reach youth who might be interested in amateur radio, as he hopes the tradition stays alive and well in the future.

“We’re trying to attract some young guys to the hobby, that’s one of the reasons that we want to set up in a visible location,” Schumacher said. “We’d like to get some kids interested, we’ve dealt with the scouts and some of the schools but kids are more interested in playing with the computers now. I’d like to show them we can do that now with amateur radio.”

Schumacher got his amateur radio licence in 1959, and has been an avid participant ever since. Now retired, his interest in the amateur radio field even led him to his lifelong career.

“I credit amateur radio really for my career,” he said. “I was in communication and electronics most of my life and amateur radio was the impetus for that.”

If you want to stop by but are limited on time that’s not a problem, as Schumacher explained, even a brief visit will suffice.

“If they have any interest at all in technical things, or what people are up to in town,” he said. “Come on out and take a look at what we do.”

For more information on the event you can contact Jon Schumacher at 775-727-7965.

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