Dialling in to disaster preparation with ham radio competition

35,000 amateur radio operators take part in annual ham radio field day
WATCH ABOVE: Radio Waves have been buzzing with chatter for the past 24 hours. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators participated in the annual ham radio field day, with the younger generation dialing into the tradition as well. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports.

Towering antennas alongside a row of camping tents dotted Centennial Hall Park in Beaconsfield over the weekend, as it was ground zero for the 2019 Field Day competition.

In only a few hours, the green space was transformed into a communication centre for the ham radio operators event. A dozen amateur radio hobbyists set up portable makeshift radio stations independently run on several car batteries.

The event aims to test operators’ ability to provide communication in the event of a disaster or a major disruption. Operators using short-wave frequencies try to make contact with as many other amateur radio stations as possible.

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The 24-hour contest runs across North America.

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Holding down the fort is 12-year-old Andy Loizos, one of the youngest certified ham radio operators in the Field Day competition. He and his older brother Alex have recently been certified after six months of classes.

The two brothers tuned in to the analog hobby after their father sparked their interest.

“It’s the old school social media,” Souly Loizos joked. “Radio communication is a passion.”

Although the event is meant to simulate a disaster, Loizos says he has luckily never had the chance to put his skills to the test in a real-life situation.

After taking part in their first competition, the Loizos brothers are confident in their ability to answer the call of duty.

“I’d say we’re pretty solid,” Alex Loizos said.