SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Radio Club finished a nationwide emergency exercise this past weekend.

  • Ham radio emergency exercise held
  • San Antonio club made contacts around the world
  • Ham radio may be only viable communication tool in some emergencies

The 100-year-old club tried to make as many contacts as possible with other ham operators. Ham operators used amateur radio bands to make contacts around the world in a nationwide exercise.

"As we make contacts we'll be entering them into the database," said Lloyd Swartz, a San Antonio Radio Club Member.

After running off generators and makeshift antennas that file will be submitted to the Field Day contest.

"Field Day is a mock simulation emergency just in case there's a major disaster," said Rosendo Guzman, San Antonio Radio Club president.

"Ham radio is one of the only ways you can communicate during a natural disaster," said Bill Craft the San Antonio Radio Club Membership Chairman

That might include a scenario in which a hurricane knocks down the cell towers.

"The concept is for us to do a drill but the other idea is to make the public aware of ham radio," said Craft. "It's fallen by the wayside when everybody has a cell phone that can talk to anybody in the world."

But 50 years ago, it was unique.

"I actually started when I was a kid, that would have been back in 1960 or so when I was in high school," said Swartz.

"I'm 76 and it was on my bucket list to become a ham," said Craft.

The goal is to reach the most contacts but also to have fun.

"To me it's more about the fellowship and joining the club," said Craft. "It's a comradery you get by coming out to events like this and sharing your interest with other people."

"Our call sign for the club is Whiskey-5-Sierra-Charley," said Guzman. "Now sometimes it doesn't come out and you can't hear it as well so we'll say Whiskey-5-Santa-Clause."

He said it's just to make it sound a little cuter and friendlier over the air.