Local Ham Radio Operators Gather For Communications Exercise

The historic district was not immune to the crashes

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.

Ham radio operators say they will be busy through Saturday night and into Sunday afternoon communicating with other ham organizations throughout the country.

"The objective 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.

There are more than 7,000 Hams across the United States.

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Club members set up make-shift antennas and brushed up on their Morse code to show that cell phones and computers only go so far in emergencies.

"The commercial communications tend to fail during an acute disaster like that", Rocker said, "Ham radio will always work".

"Hams are prepared to offer technical solutions and provide support for rescuers during times of national emergencies and natural disasters", Christovich said. In order for a contact to be made there must be an exchange of information between operators.

Czaikowski said he's been a ham for 54 years and he sees more people becoming hams than 50 years ago.

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Reap said there are also contests around the world to make worldwide connections through ham radio.

"It's also a way of showcasing our hobby", he said. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.

The club's drill runs non-stop until 2 p.m.at the Emergency Communications Center in Charlottesville.

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

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