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Locals test radio skills

Staff photos / Bob Coupland Jim Popovich of Lordstown participated over the weekend in a 24-hour ham radio event at Mosquito Lake State Park in Bazetta. The Warren Amateur Radio Club sponsored an American Radio Relay League Field Day to make as many contacts as possible across North America and around the world, and to share the hobby with anyone who is interested.

BAZETTA — For a 24-hour period this weekend, members of the Warren Amateur Radio Association communicated with other radio operators across the world.

Braceville resident Larry Oliver, WARA president, said classes were held this month at the Warren SCOPE Center, where people took the radio technician class to earn their ham radio license. Testing was done over the weekend at Mosquito Lake State Park.

On Saturday and Sunday, radio operators found locations at the park, mostly in the shade of a tree from the heat, to communicate with as many people as possible as part of a field day.

“We are trying to reach other radio operators across the country and in other parts of North America. This helps also when we take part in emergency situations and radios are needed to communicate,” Oliver said.

“We try to do this at a public place so people can see what we are doing. We like to generate interest and share with the public what we are doing,” he said.

During the 24-hour period, there were four main stations and 15 radio operators. While some operate throughout the 24 hours, other take different shifts.

The ham radio event had HF radios set up on emergency or solar power.

In past years, there have been contacts made to France and other European countries. He said the main concentration of contacts is North America.

“I spoke to France already and the man told me it was cloudy and cold there,” Oliver said.

Mike Chambora of Warren said he helps the new people by getting them on a frequency.

“It’s great to be able to show others what we can do. We call and see who answers us on the radios or we can answer those who call us,” Chambora said.

He said he has participated in past year events and has been able to communicate with Germany and Italy.

Dennis Carraher of Cortland said he used to be a CB radio operator for many years and then became involved with other radios as a hobby since the 1980s when he received his license.

“I am always glad to help people and answer any questions they may have when they stop by. It’s a fun hobby. There are so many things you can do with it. You can try different things,” Carraher said.

Jim Popovich of Lordstown said he started as a ham radio operator in 1968 and has always enjoyed being part of a group who all bring their radio equipment out.

“It’s fun to go out to a park like this and get some time to be with others and show what the hobby is all about,” he said.

Oliver said a log-in program is used to record the contacts made by each participant and information is provided to the Amateur Radio Relay League, which sponsors the weekend event.

“For many of us this is like a training and a practice. There is some pride involved if you can make a lot of contacts,” Oliver said.

Participants said curiosity seekers at the park will stop over to see what is taking place and ask who they have contacted.

“Everyone asks how far we can contact. They see it can be fun and want to understand the science of what we are doing,” he said.

If a tornado or other severe weather situation destroys telephone infrastructure or knocks out internet, radio operators would be called up to help local safety forces and emergency crews, Oliver said.

The local group has 56 members and meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month and during the summer months through September at the pavilion by the beach, he said.

The Mahoning Valley Amateur Radio Operators also gathered this past weekend at the Mill Creek Metro Park Farm in Canfield in a nationwide field exercise.

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