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For Release: June 26, 1997

Michael Finneran
(757) 864-6121/24

Release No. 97-047

AMATEUR RADIO CLUBS TEST EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

As part of Amateur Radio Week, the NASA Langley Amateur Radio Club will participate in a national exercise to test its ability to work under emergency conditions.

To simulate actual emergency conditions, such as a hurricane strike in Hampton Roads, emergency power supplies will be used, including gas-powered generators and solar panels.

From 2 p.m. June 28 to 2 p.m. June 29, the NASA Langley club, in conjunction with the Southern Peninsula Amateur Radio Klub (SPARK), will attempt to contact other amateur radio operators worldwide. Members of SPARK also will use amateur radio satellites orbiting the Earth to contact amateur radio operators across the world.

The 1996 national exercise included more than 2,100 amateur radio clubs across the United States and Canada. This year's exercise is expected to include 50,000 amateur radio operators in North America. According to the 170,000-member American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the hobby is more popular than ever. More than 650,000 amateur radio operators are in the country, an increase of 30 percent over 1990.

Both clubs will begin setting up their equipment (tents, towers, radios and emergency generators) at 9 a.m. Saturday in the softball field behind the NASA Langley's H.J.E. Reid Conference Center. The clubs will work out of tents during the entire 24 hours of the exercise to simulate actual emergency conditions. Interviews and photo opportunities are available.

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