Ham radio operators test readiness for catastrophic situations - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Ham radio operators test readiness for catastrophic situations

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
MAUMEE, OH (WTOL) -

How would you communicate if you lost your cellphones and computers and didn't have any electric power.

That unplugged scenario can happen during times of emergency or disaster.

Fortunately, ham and amateur radio operators are always ready, just in case.

Friday was field day for the operators, and you’re probably wondering, what field day is.

“Well field day is a special event. We do it once a year. The whole idea is to test your abilities, your equipment to assemble in an area that has minimal support.” said Mike Kehr, President of the Toledo Mobile Radio Association.

And this year the TMRA have once again have set up their gear, in a simulated emergency situation to test themselves,”

"It's really a  test for our preparedness to do be able to do this really quickly, set up quickly and talk to as many people as we can,” said operator Rob Hall.

That means portable power generators and a field full of quickly installed antenna and the use of improvised ladders as antenna support towers, all for a 24-hour exercise and contest that's been held for the past 84 years in this country.

“Ham Radio there is nothing we can win, just bragging rights,” said operator Steve Bellner.

But operators are there for more than bragging rights.

This type of radio communication, as opposed to the Internet or cellphones is often life-saving and the only communication available during times of disasters, and catastrophes, when all other conventional means of electronic communication are knocked out.

With its special gear, and language of operations which is known world-wide it’s developed its own culture.

“You meet such fascinating folks. You get to become a part of their world. They learn all about you and you have a shared purpose,” said Kehr.

It’s a purpose shared by hundreds of thousands of operators like these hams here at the Wolcott House this year.

The hobby is open to anyone who's willing to learn and get a license and can open up a whole new world before your ears.

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