The St. Croix Valley Radio Amateurs and ARES/RACES members are grilling brats and hot dogs at County Market on June 18, 19 and 20 beginning at noon Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
FCC-licensed radio amateurs will demonstrate equipment with a temporary ham shack setup.
Aside from being an interesting hobby, ham radio is a vital back-up for communications during disasters and emergencies when land lines and cell phones are not functioning. The local area club conducts fund-raising each year to purchase radios, antennas and eventually a new tower.
ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) consists of licensed ham radio volunteers who have been certified to serve for the public good in the event of a disaster. RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) provides radio communications for St. Croix County government in such an event.
Other groups in the area that use ham radio services are:
--National Weather Service Skywarn, which trains weather spotters and holds free classes each spring. This reduces the number of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, and increases the accuracy of those that are issued.
--Wisconsin Emergency Management.
--St. Croix Valley Red Cross.
--Hudson, River Falls and New Richmond hospitals.
--Public events, such as the annual Autumn Bike Trek and River Falls Days Parade.
Weekly breakfast get-togethers are Saturdays at 8 a.m. at Family Restaurant, 702 N. Main St., River Falls. Monthly meetings of the St. Croix Valley Radio Amateurs are held the third Monday at 7 p.m. in the lower level Community Room of the St. Croix County Government Center, 1101 Carmichael Road (lower entrance).
Anyone interested in ham radio is welcome to attend these meetings. More information is also available at www.scvhamradio.com or by calling (715) 386-2714.