Framingham ARA wrote the following press release for use by the media:
The Framingham Amateur Radio Association (FARA) provided volunteer communications for the 2004 Boston Marathon, continuing an annual tradition in ensuring help is available to runners who need assistance.
FARA operators kept in direct contact with the Red Cross and ambulance service (AMR) in order to respond to emergencies that were called into FARA net controllers all along the 26-mile course. These services were especially important this year because of the unusual April heat, as many more runners than usual needed assistance. As a result of FARA’s three-day all-out effort of setting up antenna arrays and banks of equipment to complete the task, FARA received an excellent report of a job well done.
The marathon is one of many events for which FARA operators volunteer their services. The club also provided communications for the 2004 March of Dimes walk in Framingham. FARA ham operators kept a close eye for any trouble spots and had check points along the way for water and restroom breaks, as well as a “sweep” ham following the walkers to make sure all was going well along the route.
And, FARA will again have a communications crew ready for the Flag Day parade in Framingham, supplying time and personally owned equipment, as members have done for many years.
Amateur radio operators “have the skills and the frequencies necessary to create expedient emergency communication networks under very poor conditions,” notes the American Radio Relay League, the U.S. national ham radio association. “They are licensed by the FCC and are pre-authorized for national and international radio communications. Hams have the ability and training to rapidly enlarge their communications capacity to meet growing needs in an emergency, something commercial and public safety systems cannot do.”
The Framingham Amateur Radio Association has more than 200 members, many of whom are equipped with portable hand-held radios that can be quickly pressed into service in the event of a local emergency that disrupts commercial communications services. These radio amateurs are skilled, resourceful, non-paid volunteers ready to serve their community when needed.
You can learn more about FARA at http://www.fara.org.