RADIO ENTHUSIASTS CELEBRATE THE "MAGIC OF RADIO"AT DRAKES ON THE LAKE (Jacksonville, TX, April 26, 2003) -- On April 26, the Amateur Radio operators of the Cherokee County Amateur Radio Club (CCARC) will be doing something they do best, sharing their passion for "ham radio," a personal communications technology that continues to hold its own in the Internet age. At the Drakes on the Lake special event, the Cherokee County Amateur Radio club will hold live demonstrations of ham radio operating to raise public awareness about Amateur Radio. "Amateur Radio is very much alive and well in the 21st century," says Brad Low, AD5KM, a ham radio operator since 1992. "We are experimenting with cutting-edge digital communications, serving our communities in times of need and having fun making friends with people all over the world." The challenge of making radio contact with someone halfway around the world, and the lure of the human voice, are what many ham radio enthusiasts find most appealing. Mr. Low, the CCARC public information officer and webmaster, continued, "When people ask me if the Internet has replaced what we do, I explain what many of us refer to as the "magic of radio." "Just let a youngster make an Amateur Radio contact, and they know instantly what keeps us all coming back for more." The theme of the special event is sole use of ham radio transceivers manufactured by the R.L. Drake Company of Franklin, Ohio. The company has been in business since 1943. Although the company no longer makes ham radio transceivers, it continues to manufacture shortwave receivers and products for satellite television reception. Their reputation for producing quality products has been well earned and is respected internationally. R.L. Drake ham transceivers are still sought by ham radio operators and have well earned the title of "classic." The public is invited to Lake Jacksonville on Saturday, April 26 to observe the operations of club members. The ham radio club will be at the campground past the concession stand. A map to the location can be found by visiting the club's web page at http://www.qsl.net/k5jvl and select the "Drakes on the Lake 2003" hyperlink. The special event will begin about 10 a.m. that morning and they hope to run the event for 24 hours. Mr. Low added, "We will demonstrate voice communications with people in the United States and across the world. There are some ham operators in the military that are operating in Iraq in recent days. It would be exciting to make contact with them during the weekend. Also, we will demonstrate some of the newer ham radio techniques of communicating computer-to-computer via ham radio. Somewhat like a wireless Internet chat." Amateur Radio is about having fun, but it can also be an important communications resource during emergencies. When disaster strikes, Amateur Radio operators often volunteer for backup communications duty to help local officials, the National Weather Service and service agencies such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Mr. Low also serves as the Emergency Coordinator for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) for Cherokee County. Today, there are more than 650,000 Amateur Radio operators in the United States and more than 2.5 million worldwide. Information on how to get into Amateur Radio is available from Brad Low, 903-586-5883 or telephone the American Radio Relay League at 1-800-32NEW HAM or visit their website http://www.arrl.org.