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Ham radio clubs to have courthouse event

Public can talk to operators across state, nation

The Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association and the Lawrence County Amateur Radio Emergency Service will be setting up outside the Lawrence County Courthouse as part of a statewide event on Aug. 24.

They will have a special radio event station set up on the corner of Park Avenue and South Fifth Street from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for the Ohio Statewide Courthouses On the Air Special Historical Event. The ham radio operators will link up with other operators across Ohio and around nation and the world.

Mike Love, WB8YKS, public information officer for SOARA and ARES, said the event is a way for the public to engage with ham radio and learn what all they do, like helping government officials keep in contact during emergency situations and helping to keep the annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day parade running smoothly.

“The public will be invited to talk on the radios under the direct supervision of an FCC licensed operator,” Love said, adding that a special certificate will be issued to all amateurs who contact SOARA, W8SOE. “The certificates are intended to capture this special historical event.”

Eddie Jenkins, N8URU, Lawrence County Amateur Radio Emergency Service Coordinator, said they will be mimicking an emergency situation as if “there is a total communications failure of telephone, commercial radio, television, cell phone and web access due to devastating weather, earthquake and wildfire conditions. When all else fails, there is amateur radio.”

James Rowe, N8TVO, a SOARA member, said the club members are excited to have the event and hopes the public will be too.

“We are requesting all Ohio clubs and hams consider supporting this special event,” he said.

The ham radio operators will be set up under a tent, so the event can continue if it rains.

In addition, members of the Lawrence County Museum and Historical Society will be dressed in 1800s clothing and will be providing information about the history of the Lawrence County Courthouse, from the first county seat located at Burlington to the current courthouse, which was built in 1908.

On Aug. 20, the Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association and the Lawrence County Amateur Radio Emergency Service will be getting a proclamation from the Lawrence County Commissioners to commemorate the Ohio Statewide Courthouses On the Air Special event.