People across North Central Florida learn to use ham radios for communication

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 12:17 AM EST
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WALDO, Fla. (WCJB) -The Gainesville Amateur Radio Society invited the public to Waldo City Square to show a demonstration of another form of communication in case of severe emergency situations.

Amateur radios, better known as ham radios, were invented in the early 1900′s to communicate during power outages.

“One of my biggest is seeing new hams and young people get involved in it,” said event organizer Michael Martell. “I think amateur radio gives to the kids and other people kind of a disciplined approach to communication where you kind of lose that in your texting or in your internet and stuff.”

Barbara Matthews started using ham radios so she can keep in touch with her sisters in case of a hurricane. She said she also gets to talk to hundreds of people across North America.

“If the phones go down, it’s still a way you can communicate,” said Matthews. “You can literally have a car battery attached to a small radio or a handheld battery powered and still talk to people to find out what’s going on in the world or let them know that you’re okay, that’s what I really like about it.”

Now, many people may be curious about how ham radio got its name and the answer is quite hilarious.

“The amateurs were competing with the military types and what they said the military said was hey you guys are just a bunch of hams and it kind of stuck,” said Martell.

The organization will be hosting another ham radio demonstration in July just in time for hurricane season. Now if you find yourself without cell service, you can count on ham radio for communication.

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