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Ham Radio Field Day held in Bella Vista this weekend

The Bella Vista Radio Club operated amateur radios for 24 hours non-stop to show their not-so-amateur emergency capabilities.

BELLA VISTA, Ark. — The Bella Vista Radio Club just wrapped up its annual field day on Sunday, June 25 completing a 24-hour demonstration of ham radio's portable emergency communications capabilities.

At Metfield Recreational Complex, you'd find old friends keying up a conversation at one of Bella Vista's highest altitudes. It's where friendly faces like Robert Hill welcome all to join.

"There's a lot of different people that are involved in amateur radio from all walks of life. I mean, we've got, we've got doctors, we've got lawyers, we've got broadcasters, professors," Hill said.

Hill is among 200 members of the Bella Vista Radio Club spanning from Fort Smith to Joplin, sharing a fascination with antennas and pioneer 5-watt radios.

Hill didn't always use the radio for just a friendly chat, he also used it when he served in the Army from 1982 to 2003.

"It's all about command and control and being able to talk to different units," Hill said.

In fact, the club didn't just meet for a barbecue reunion. They'd operate amateur radios for 24 hours non-stop to show their not-so-amateur emergency capabilities.

Amateur radio clubs inspired University of Arkansas student Kabiraj Khatiwada to pursue a license as he looks to solve issues in his home of Nepal.

"We have lots of landslides. We have lots of other forms of disasters. So that could easily break these types of towers with telephone systems," said Khatiwada.

The ham radio system is a simple system to connect with anyone, as their range is out of this world.

"I actually have a QSO, a contact with one of the astronauts on the ISS (International Space System)," said Hill.

Whether it's a chat about the weather or a call for help, the ham radio community invites all into their transmission.

The cost to receive a license ends up being around $40 dollars and members of the radio club say equipment can be found for free. Sometimes, if you're around enthusiasts like those in Bella Vista, they may even cover some of your licensing costs so you can join.

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