Radio operators 'ham' it up at Aiken field day

At times the wind was blowing the rain sideways

At times the wind was blowing the rain sideways

Reap said there are also contests around the world to make worldwide connections through ham radio. In order for a contact to be made there must be an exchange of information between operators.

Saturday is what the organization calls 'Field Day'.

"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.

The Albemarle Amateur Radio Club is joining a nationwide field day to demonstrate its ability to communicate under conditions that could cut off landlines, cell phones, and the internet during a natural disaster or other emergency.

This is a 24-hour event that started at 1 p.m. Saturday and will go until 1 p.m. Sunday. Members of the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club, which covers Aiken County, are participating in the exercise and taking shifts during the weekend.

The rapid jaunt of Morse code dots and dashes Nick Yokanovich tapped out on his telegraph sounder carried across the field on the sluggish summer wind like an echo from another time.

Just like other radio operator, Ham operators are licensed with the Federal Communications.

He added many amateur radio operators locally volunteer with or are a part of Aiken County and Edgefield's emergency management divisions.

One member recalls a disaster when demonstrations like this one became reality.

Newland said the club also tries to advertise scholarship opportunities for students who become hams.

Ham radio, it's a tool the Rockford Amateur Radio Association says not a lot of people know about.

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