The Highland Amateur Radio Association, a local organization of amateur radio operators called “hams”, was named Club of the Year at Dayton Hamvention’s annual three-day event at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center on Saturday 21 may.
The Dayton Hamvention has become one of the two largest gatherings of amateur radio operators in the world and the largest of its kind in North America. The awards are considered by amateur radio enthusiasts to be the “Academy Awards” of amateur radio.
In accepting the award, Highland Amateur Radio Association President Pat Hagan said it was the first time the award had been presented to a club serving a less populated, rural, Appalachian region of the nation that is “in middle of nowhere”.
Local club information officer John Levo attributed winning this year’s award to the growing membership of the organization over the years.
“It was mainly because of the growth of the club; growing from the original 22 founding members in 1977 to our current 137,” said Levo. “We finished last year with 143 members, and clubs in major metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada don’t even have those kinds of numbers, so national leaders have taken note of what’s happening here in southern Ohio and Highland County. with our club in the promotion of amateur radio.
Additionally, Levo said the club provides public safety and promotional services to the local community as well as general participation in community events.
“We promote travel and tourism and the history of Highland County around the world through what we call Special Event Stations,” he said. “Each year we choose a location where we go and set up and use our portable equipment to transmit for a day or two from one of the historic locations here in the county.”
Amateur radio, also known as amateur radio, is the use of radio frequencies for non-commercial message exchange.
Although the technology may seem outdated, it is still considered important.
“The benefits of amateur radio are significant today and perhaps even more so than in the past,” Levo said. “For example, last year and the year before, during the wildfires on the west coast of Oregon, Washington and California, many cellphone towers were strictly destroyed and electricity went out. been lost to the fires, so it was amateur radio that was the only reliable method of communication for government authorities, firefighters, and life squads.
Not dependent on a power grid, amateur radios can run on batteries, generators and solar power.
Levo said ham radio operators were especially helpful during a local blizzard in the 1970s when the village of Leesburg lost power and telephone service.
“We put one of our members in a county plow, and he was delivered to the Leesburg Police Department, and he operated and provided communication from Leesburg to the sheriff’s department for two days until the electricity company restores power to the village and the telephone company was able to repair the telephone lines,” said Levo.
As a hobby, Levo said he loved ham radio for “the magic of it”. Using ham radio, he said he could “make a call over the airwaves using less electricity than a light bulb and talk to people in Australia or England or even astronauts circling the earth. “.
Contact John Hackley at 937-402-2571.
Members of the Highland Amateur Radio Association accept their award after being named Hamvention Club of the Year.