WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Sunday was the last day for the 77th annual Ham Radio Operator or Amateur Radio Operator Field Day.
While being a ham operator is a hobby, it does play an important role in our community. During the mid-nineties, when serve storms struck Southeastern North Carolina, Ham operators were the only means of communication for several cities.
While they were practicing this weekend, mother nature tested their ability to handle an emergency. Saturday a microburst, which is a straight line of strong winds struck Ogden Park which is where the field day was held. The radio operators swung into high gear, alerting WECT's First Alert Meteorologist Colin Hackman.
"A lot of people don't realize the public telephone and land line, and cell phone towers are very vulnerable," said Bill Morine a Ham Radio Operator. "When a large storm comes through those lines can go down. When the last resort of outside communication is amateur radio."
There are more than 1,500 Ham operators in the Cape Fear region.