“When all else fails, amateur radio is there,” says Mike Manshack, public information coordinator for the American Radio Relay League.
The League is hosting its annual Hamfest fundraiser on February 26 at the Orange County Convention & Expo Center from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event is $8 for anyone over the age of 12.
“We usually have an average of 400 people who enjoy visiting Hamfest each year and our goal is to get young people interested in joining the world of amateur radio,” Manshack said. “It’s a hobby, but it also has a very serious side to it.”
In 2003, a space shuttle crashed near Jasper and the FBI enlisted the help of amateur radio repeaters to help out for the duration of the tragedy.
According to history.com, the space shuttle Columbia crashed 80 seconds after launch due to a piece of foam insulation that broke off the shuttle’s booster tank and struck the edge of the left wing of the shuttle. shuttle.
Cameras focused on the launch sequence revealed the foam collision, but engineers could not determine the location and extent of the damage. Although similar incidents have occurred on three previous shuttle launches without causing critical damage, some space agency engineers believe damage to the wing could cause a catastrophic failure.
Their concerns went unaddressed during the two weeks Columbia was in orbit, as NASA management felt that while significant damage had been done, there was little that could be done to remedy. to the situation.
Manshack said the Feb. 26 event features hands-on activities and speakers that cover topics ranging from history to current issues.
“Radio operators licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (Ham Radio) will join to buy, sell or trade radio equipment among other items of interest,” Manshack said. “You’ll find new and used hardware, and there will be voluntary testing for new ones who want to try out a new license or upgrade.
“At the event, there will be radio operators who have spoken to each other and who will have the chance to meet to see who they have spoken to. Representatives of the American Radio Relay League will be present at forums to inform on what is happening now and talk about the future of amateur radio.They will talk about scholarships to those who apply, who are license operators only.
Tickets for the grand prize and door prizes are: $1 each, 6 for $5 or 12 for $10.
The Grand Prizes will be drawn at 1:30 p.m. You do not need to be present for the Grand Prize draws. But you must be present for all door prize draws.
For more information, call Rocky Wilson at 409-988-8906.
– Written by Sierra Kondos, special for the chef