HAM Radio Operators prep for potential winter disaster

'Winter Field Day' a chance to practice; test equipment

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By Daryl Bjoraas

 WARSAW, Ind. -- Communication; it's a must in any city or town.

But when it comes to radio, some are more passionate than others.

"I've got several hobbies, but this one allows me to make friends in a wider array than what I can do anywhere else," Gary McDaniel, President of the Hoosier Lakes Radio Club, said.

His group is dedicated to talking over the airwaves, but often, it's more than just a hobby.

They provide real-time information on everything from traffic to weather.

"Rain gauges, how much rain we're getting in certain areas, the size of hail, the amount of snowfall," McDaniel Said. "A lot of different things the National Weather Service only gets from people like us that are out in the field."

"They type of thing that we need for disaster when all other forms of communication fail," Ed Rock, Kosciusko County Emergency Management Director, said. 

And when the communication does fail, he depends on people like Gary to turn on their radios and relay potentially life-saving info.

"When everything goes bad, you still have to resort to the basics," Rock said. "That's what these guys are great at."

Club members gathered Saturday afternoon in Warsaw to practice and test their equipment.

No major disaster has hit the county recently, but when it does, they'll be ready.

"If the generators quit, I can put gas in them and what have you, but this is all done on emergency power only," McDaniel said. "We're not plugged into the grid at all."

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