Amateur radio enthusiasts from all over Texas (and beyond) will gather this weekend in Austin for the 31st annual Austin Summerfest at the Crowne Plaza. Amateur (aka "ham") radio is both a hobby and a service. Ham operators enjoy contacting other hams across town or on the other side of the globe, using everything from vintage radio equipment to the latest digital modes of communication! Amateur radio has also been proven time and time again to be a reliable means of emergency communications, "when all else fails." Disasters--natural or otherwise--can compromise or shut down such systems as cell phones, the Internet, and even landline phone service. As unpaid (hence, "amateur") volunteers, many hams are ready at a moment's notice to offer their communication equipment and skills in a variety of emergency situations.

The Austin Summerfest will feature a variety of presentations on everything from how to get started in the hobby to emergency communications; from sending digital messages (think email) using radio waves to bouncing signals off of satellites! For information on the Austin Summerfest, go to austinsummerfest.org.

To learn more about amateur radio in general, go to hello-radio.org.

See you in Austin!--Skeeter Nash N5ASH