Radio Club holds a 24 hour field exercise

Wrecks around the county were causing grid-lock traffic everywhere

"If you lost cell phone communication, if you lost the ability even to charge your cell phone and you wouldn't have communication, ham radio has a separate infrastructure that it can use to provide communications anywhere, anytime", he said. "From the natural disaster and tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, ham radio provided the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events".

Winona Ham Radio enthusiasts gathered on Saturday for the annual Field Day at Wincrest Park, and spent a day experimenting with electronics in a communication trailer. The group is using voice, digital stations and Morse code.

Those interested in becoming a certified ham radio operator can visit the Rockford Amateur Radio Association page here.

The Columbia Amateur Radio Association participated in the drill at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School in Ellicott City.

Reap said there are also contests around the world to make worldwide connections through ham radio. He believes one of the reasons is because it has become simpler to get a license, which is acquired by passing an examination.

He says they provide a back-up network of communications in times of emergencies.

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Ham radio operators work in conjunction with first responders supplying needed critical information while at the same time offering another avenue of communication with the outside world.

"Hurricane Katrina was a big showcase for hams, many of whom traveled to the South in a volunteer effort to save lives and property", Christovich said.

"It's also a way of showcasing our hobby", he said.

On the subject of why they're called ham radio operators, Christovich insisted it had nothing to do with ham.

Participants began at 2 p.m. Saturday and the exercise will conclude at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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