VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Amateur radio operators across the country tuned their frequencies and skills over the weekend.
It was for the American Radio Relay League’s Field Day.
Clubs spent 24 hours out in the elements using generators and other backup sources of power.
“We love it. It’s a hobby and it’s something fun to do. It’s something you can see results. You see something out of what you do,” said John Roberts, the president of Virginia Beach’s Amateur Radio Club.
Roberts says operators used voice, digital, and Morse code forms of communication throughout the competition.
They also have a satellite they can use to communicate with the International Space Station.
Roberts, who is also in charge of emergency coordination for the state’s American Radio Relay League’s chapter, says the skills they learn are put to good use when disasters strike.
Many operators across the country, including Virginia, were sent to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria wiped out the power grid, according to Roberts.
“It was step up like we have here. People were able to find out if relatives were alive, what condition they were in,” he said.
The club is hoping that more people of diverse background can join.
Their youngest member is 13 years old.
They hold free classes but it does cost money to take the certification exam.