Amateur Radio Across the World (from Missouri)

Edited by: Jay Scherder
Reported by: Ben Kennedy

CALLAWAY COUNTY, MO, Jan. 24, 2007 – From Morse code to the radio, to television and most recently the computer, it just keeps getting easier to communicate with others from around the world. But one group is so dedicated to the radio, they formed an amateur club.

Tom Vaccaro is one of the members of the Callaway Amateur Radio League.

“To me HAM radio is worldwide communication, I’ve contacted every state in the union and 168 countries. There are other members of the club here in the Fulton area that are in the top rank.” Tom Vaccaro, Callaway Amateur Radio League.

Dick White has contacted people in 333 countries out of 337. White has even made contact with a man from North Korea after HAM radios were banned and only one person was allowed to set up an amateur radio station.

“Trying to work that country was a challenge because when you got two or three hundred thousand people calling one guy at one time and you happen to make a contact with him you feel pretty lucky about it,” said White.

White also uses Morse code to communicate overseas, deciding to ‘click’ rather than talk.

“I could sit down for about 30 minutes and do Morse code for 30 and that was my relaxation and I unwound from a hard day at the office,” said White.

Members of the Callaway Amateur Radio League also use their radio in emergency situations to help others. Using his HAM radio White was able to help find people during Hurricane Katrina and has helped many other people including a doctor from Columbia in South America.

“A doctor at a hospital who was from the country of Columbia in South America and had a terrible earthquake in the town he was from and I was able to get him through to talk to his brother to find out that his mother and family were alright. That’s part of what we do,” said White.

The Callaway Amateur Radio League was formed 38 years ago and meets once a month. They are one of the few amateur radio leagues to actually own their own repeater tower, giving them some independence.

“I can do that with a cell phone. But somebody did that for them you know. I put my station together, I bought the equipment, I put the antennas together, I assembled my station and I am the only responsible for operating it and make sure that it operates properly according to the FCC rules,” said White.

The Callaway Amateur Radio League is a unique group, keeping Callaway connected with the entire world.