Allentown
68° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Ham Radio operators have field day

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 22 2013 06:06:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 23 2013 10:16:44 AM CDT
WASHINGTON, N.J. -

When disaster strikes, many people head to the web or grab their cell phones, but some very old technology could actually save your life.  This weekend, Ham Radio operators all over the country are practicing their skills.

"This is our yearly Field Day exercise," said Kevin Murray, acting emergency radio chief in Warren Co., N.J.

Call it "Field Day" for adults.  This group in Washington, N.J., is literally building a radio station from the ground up.

A Ham radio station.

"Our goal today is to talk to as many similar stations across the country -- the United States and Canada," said Murray.

Ham radio is an old technology that still serves as a lifeline during disasters like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

"Sandy proved the cell phones were worthless in the first day," said Murray.

Amateur radio enthusiast Gavin DeAngelis added:  "Ham Radio works, and cell phones don't always work."

Ham radios have been around for more than 100 years, but this very old technology is getting a new reboot.  The group here in Warren Co. created the robot that literally climbs a light pole.

"It takes a regular antenna that you can fit on your car," said DeAngelis.  "You take a light pole and create it into a tower."

They're also developing Ham radio drones in the sky.

"The drone is controlled using amateur radio frequencies," said Murray.  "We are working on that to use it as a radio link for say the search and rescue team that's deep in the woods and we need to talk to those people."

If you'd like to get licensed as a ham radio operator, you can come out to the Warren Co. Technical School or 500 County Line Road in Gilbertsville, Berks Co., all weekend.