The North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club set up over the weekend at North Augusta Public Safety Station 2 on Five Notch Road for the annual Field Day event.
The event offers the community an opportunity to learn about ham radio.
Stations were set up to show how amateur radio operators talk digitally, through Morse code and high frequency voice. There was also a Get on the Air station set up to allow visitors to talk on the radio.
Ham radio operators offer support during disasters or events, but for club member Don Zupon, it’s also about friendship.
He said that when he became a licensed radio operator at age 13, the magic was in being able to talk to people over the radio. Years later, he still gets on and chats with friends he made over the airwaves.
The Belvedere radio club, or K4NAB, offers courses on becoming a licensed amateur radio operator. It also teaches ham radio to pupils at Schofield Middle School.
Club president Carl Bosard said pupils taking French and German were able to get on the radio and talk to native speakers.
“This is the fun side of emergency preparation,” Bosard said of the Field Day. “We have no pressures to achieve anything other than personal goals.”
Ham operators set up in the Aiken County Emergency Operations Center trailer to chat with others participating in the Field Day activity.
Bosard agreed with Zupon that ham radio is a great way to socialize.
“Cellphones make calls,” he said. “Ham radio makes friends.”
Member Kevin Kingery said ham radio is very versatile.
“If you are into boating, people go to an island and talk on amateur radio,” Kingery said. “Anything anyone is interested in, they can tie into amateur radio somehow.”
To learn more about the North Augusta Belvedere Radio Club, visit k4nab.org. For information about amateur radio, visit arrl.org.