WARREN - Since 1938, the Warren Amateur Radio Association has been spreading the word on the benefits and the enjoyment that can come along with ham radio.
''Amateur radio has been around since radio has been around,'' Peter Kozup, WARA member, said. ''A lot of people think that the Internet has killed it, and that's absolutely not true.''
Although the use of the Internet, as well as television and cell phones, has taken the place of radio, members of WARA believe that having the ability to transmit through amateur radio still holds a great deal of importance.
Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple
Dave Walter of Bristol communicates with his amateur radio using Morse code. To see or purchase these and other photos, visit cu.tribtoday.com.
''Whether it be weather-related or whatever the emergency, amateur radio operators are trained to respond,'' Kozup said.
Recently, the members of WARA held their annual field day. The event is part of the national American Relay Radio League Field Day, which connects ham operators across the country.
''Field day is held to help clubs set up for an emergency situation,'' Kozup said.
Held on the fourth weekend in June, the event connects thousands of operators across the United States and parts of Canada for a full 24 hours of transmission. It is both an emergency preparedness drill and a chance to talk with as many radio operators as possible, he said.
Members completely set up their equipment, including antenna towers, and establish links with other hams across the United States as practice for possible emergency situations. One innovation used at the Trumbull County Field Day was a handmade air gun to shoot lines up into the trees to attach antennae.
They also spent the day participating in contests and having a good time.
''People play chess by radio ... there are contests. Sometimes it's around the world,'' Kozup said. The contests are held to see who can speak with operators from the most nations within the 24-hour period.
''Hams communicate in a variety of modes, Morse, satellite, you name it,'' Kozup said.
The amazing thing about amateur radio is that it allows normal members of the community to sit and talk with or communicate with people from across the world, he said.
''I had a trip to Antarctica,'' Kozup said. ''When I was coming back, I linked into an Argentinian station. I had linked into an EchoLink system.''
EchoLink software gives amateur radio operators the ability to communicate with each other across the Internet, widening ham's capabilities.
The association holds regular meetings twice a month, as well as social gatherings.
Coming in August, WARA will be holding its annual HAMFEST at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Bazetta.
To become an amateur radio operator, interested parties must obtain a license through classes and a test. Individuals may contact the WARA to seek more information on how to become a ham.