Radio operators gather in Howard County for national drill

Fun and games – but braced for catastrophe – with HAM radio operators in Pointe-Claire

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.

"It will be a 24-hour test of emergency communications where we'll set up a station, operating independently of commercial power, making contacts around the United States with about 40,000 other ham radio groups to test our communications should we need it", explained Josuweit.

"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. "From the quake and tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, ham radio provided the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events".

Tim Ramsey, another ham and club member, said he likes Morse because "it's crisp and there's never any static".

The radios use things like solar panels to operate and allow the operators to relay messages to their counterparts across the nation. All ham radio operators have to take classes in order to sit for a Federal Communication Commission license.




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

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

"You contact them on the air, you exchange signal reports", said Rocker, "Then you get a confirmation".

"No one really knows why we're called hams, but one theory is that operators like talking - like show business hams - you know, hamming it up", he said.

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