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By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ham radio operators from the Delaware Valley are among thousands taking part in a nationwide emergency communications exercise this weekend.

Members of the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club are gathering this weekend at Kohler Park in Horsham, Montgomery County.

Bob Josuweit, whose ham radio call sign is WA3PZO, is president of the Holmesburg group.

“It will be a 24-hour test of emergency communications where we’ll set up a station, operating independently of commercial power, making contacts around the United States with about 40,000 other ham radio groups to test our communications should we need it,” explained Josuweit.

field day 2017 Local Ham Radio Operators Gather For Communications Exercise

Members of the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club in the Philadelphia area prepare for their weekend Field Day exercise operation in Horsham. Left to right are Mike Wurgley, N3LXN, Ron Cardullo, K3RJC, and Mark Rothstein, KC3JV. (credit: Carl Gerhart, N3ZZK)

Josuweit says operators from all 50 states are participating in the exercise to test their preparedness.

He says they provide a back-up network of communications in times of emergencies.

“If you lost cell phone communication, if you lost the ability even to charge your cell phone and you wouldn’t have communication, ham radio has a separate infrastructure that it can use to provide communications anywhere, anytime,” he said.

Josuweit says the operators serve at the call of local, state, and federal officials and routinely are called out in times of storms, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

The exercise ends Sunday afternoon.

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