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The Silverado Amateur Radio Society (SARS) may no longer have a space in which to hold its monthly meetings. That would inevitably lead to a decline in club membership, which is already low.

The Valley “hams” have provided emergency and public-event assistance in the past, although declining enrollment is compromising that ability.

Ham radio is no longer “sexy” for the young, who find cellphones more interesting and easy. However, as we all found during the Napa fires of 2017, and now during the PG&E power cuts, sometimes cellphones and all other alternatives just don’t work.

Ham radios fill that gap. Hams can operate two-way radios off the grid, with their own battery and portable power, and cover areas that even functional cellphones do not cover.

To illustrate that, I invite you to glance at a website I am just putting up (ARRUMBA.net), aimed at increasing public awareness of a simple method of emergency communication available to everybody and especially useful to our hikers, equestrians, hunters, and others who venture into the hills (many of them young, with only cellphones for emergencies) -- as well as to our isolated country residents.

One side effect of ARRUMBA.net might be to increase the number of radio amateurs in the area, which would enhance the common benefits enormously.

Eric McAllister

Napa

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