Amateur radio operators gather for preparedness drill

Posted June 26, 2017

The Baltimore Sun reports that the operators set up a shop Saturday at two different locations in Howard County.

In addition to amateur radio as a means of emergency communication, Field Day is also an opportunity for enthusiasts to reach out to others across the country.

"The goal of it is kind of a public relations event to introduce ham radio to the population at large, give people a change to see what it's all about and also to emphasize the emergency preparedness aspect of it", said Ray Rocker, president of the association.

Oldest licensed Winona radio operator John Kowalik has been a member since 1953, and said Ham Radio in Winona has been around for 40 to 45 years.

There are more than 7,000 Hams across the United States. "The ham guys on microphones can't do that".

Rocker has been operating ham radios for almost 40 years. Members of the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club, which covers Aiken County, are participating in the exercise and taking shifts during the weekend.

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"Ham radio operators are some of the only ones that can get the message in and out if a disaster occurs". "We can often locate family members when given a name by a loved one". They will provide free books and information.

"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.

The objective is to work as many stations as possible during the field day.

"I call it real time texting or real time email", Alan Swinger, club member, said.

Field day wraps up Sunday at 1 p.m.

Amiable and outgoing, Christovich should know because over the years he's been in the hobby he has connected with hams in more than 200 countries.

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