Radio ‘hams’ use airwaves to compete nationwide - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Radio ‘hams’ use airwaves to compete nationwide

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ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Lightening put a 24-hour radio competition on hold for one local group.

The Mississippi Valley Amateur Radio Association had to stop competing in a North American ham radio field day for seven hours late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.

Despite the delay, the group still made around 2,130 contacts with other ham radios in North America.

That's above average for the group, said Craig Goldbeck, president of the Mississippi Valley Amateur Radio Association.

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ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) – More than 35,000 people in the U.S. and Canada are competing across the airwaves as part of the American Radio Relay League Field Day Saturday.

Radio amateurs use Morse Code, voice and computer activity to communicate with one another. It's a system many know as Ham Radio, said Craig Goldbeck, president of the Mississippi Valley Amateur Radio Association.

The club set up in the parking ramp at the Gundersen Health System Onalaska clinic to compete, but also used the day to practice emergency response capabilities.

"Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes, they've had the power go out and communications go out and the only way to -- cell phones didn't work. Ham radio is the only way traffic would get through because people like our group would go in and set up antennas and radios," Goldbeck said.

The competition is 24 hours. It continues until 1 p.m. Sunday.

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