Amateur radio operators test skills during annual 24-hour test

[anvplayer video=”5118107″ station=”998122″]

All weekend, amateur radio operators tested their skills in case of emergency – which happens more often than you would think.

Ham radio has been around since the early 1900s, and it is considered more dependable than any other type of device during emergencies.

When your phone dies, the television doesn’t work and the internet goes down, amateur radio still works. In addition, ham radio has even been the first to respond to major rescues across the country.

“Everyone has a unique call sign – that’s how we identify ourselves,” said Dave Glass, of the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association. “Without power, we have batteries over here, we put up antennas between trees.”

Not only does the hobby connect people across the country, but it also gets people in touch.

“My husband and I were one of the earliest ones in the club,” said Mary Mann, an amateur radio operator.

Mary and Shel Mann fell in love, then moved in together more than 55 years ago.

That was before they knew just how tuned in they really were to each other.

“When I was unpacking his books, there was the amateur radio license manual, and I went into my book supply and pulled out the same exact one,” said Mary Mann.

“It is different,” said Shel Mann. “It just looked like a free ticket to buy ham radio equipment.”

The weekend-long contest dials in about 5,000 amateur stations from each continent, and also spreads word about a type of crisis communication that has been depended on for over a century.