HAM festival in Huntsville - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

HAM festival in Huntsville

Operators will be in Huntsville this weekend for the Annual Ham festival.

WAFF 48's Robyn McGlohn was at Thursday's kick-off of the emergency communications conference.

It's the hum of a radio that has hams saying hello to the world.

Ham radio has been around for nearly 100 years. It's a fun, interesting hobby that has an air of mystery about it.

Allen Pitts is a Ham operator. He said, "amateur radio people have more than a dozen radio bands."

That's more than the average car radio.

Pitts added, "part of the art of the amateur radio is using the right frequencies and the right band to achieve what we want to do to get the message through."

A message that can be simple "hello" to a call for "help."

Ham radio operators all have one thing in common: antennas. The shorter antennas on top of this truck can reach anywhere from 50 to a couple 100 miles. The larger antenna on the the back of the truck can reach anywhere across the US.

The operators behind the antennas  help out in a time of need -- for free.

"It's a hobby, but it s also a public service, for instance during Katrina, we provided emergency communications, and a lot times the only means of communication along the Gulf Coast."

As Katrina blew through, it took out telephones, cellphones, television and radio stations even 9-1-1, it was the work of hams who reconnected emergency services to those in need.

"We bring in our own radios and systems, and we can set them up quickly and reestablish communications."

It's communications that's a hobby and a service of help.

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