Portsmouth Amateur Radio Club honing skills, making contacts

At times the wind was blowing the rain sideways

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

It's all part of the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise organized by the American Radio Relay League, the national association for Amateur Radio.

It's free to watch and HAMs will be on site to explain the hobby to visitors.

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.

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

"Hams are prepared to offer technical solutions and provide support for rescuers during times of national emergencies and natural disasters", Christovich said.

"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. He believes one of the reasons is because it has become simpler to get a license, which is acquired by passing an examination. "They helped for months and for a time, it was the only way many people could communicate".

He's been able to make contacts as far as Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events world-wide.

This is a 24-hour event that started at 1 p.m. Saturday and will go until 1 p.m. Sunday. For Field day that information consists of the operators the state and section within that state.

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