NEWINGTON, Conn., Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Amateur Radio operators in the Unites States will transmit from some of our nation's most important natural and historic sites throughout 2016. ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio — sometimes called ham radio — will coordinate a year-long activity, called National Parks on the Air (NPOTA), in parallel with the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS). Federally licensed radio operators will transmit from as many of the 408 NPS administrative units as possible, by establishing a temporary station at an NPS unit and communicating with radio aficionados around the world.
"Ham radio operators are excited to help promote the NPS Centennial. The National Park Service is one of our country's great treasures," said Sean Kutzko, an ARRL spokesman. "ARRL has been around for over 100 years, so we appreciate the significance of this historic event."
For many years, hams have combined outdoor activities with radio. "Radio amateurs have been bringing small transmitters into the parks for decades," Kutzko said. In addition to being an enjoyable pastime, these temporary radio setups help amateurs maintain their skills at providing communications during natural disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, or floods. "The Federal government recognizes the value that Amateur Radio has to offer during these times," Kutzko explained, noting that ARRL has Memorandums of Agreement with such organizations as FEMA and the American Red Cross.
Kutzko said the ARRL event can help promote the NPS Centennial and the capabilities of Amateur Radio simultaneously. "The National Parks on the Air event uses ham radio to explore parks in a unique, scientific way. It combines the electronics experimentation and fun of ham radio, while helping fulfill the primary NPS Centennial goal: 'Connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates,'" Kutzko said. "It's a win-win for both NPS and ARRL."
Created in 1916, the National Park Service was established to "…promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations….to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Amateur Radio is a popular hobby and service that is used to communicate across town, around the world, or even into space, without traditional communications infrastructure. Since 1914, ARRL's mission is to "promote the art, science, and enjoyment of Amateur Radio."