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The 25th annual Hamfest returns to Joplin - KOAM TV 7

The 25th annual Hamfest returns

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Outside the Joplin Convention Center Tom Vogel starts his vehicle it's a $200 purchase from his son that he turned it into a moving communication center. 

Vogel is a life-long enthusiast of amateur radio and travels the country listening and broadcasting to people around the world. 

"If you pick the right time of day you can talk to just about anywhere, and the signals do get into outer space but for some reason those people will not answer me at all," said Vogel. 

Members of Ham Radio use three methods to communicate, those include voice, morse code, and by computer. 

Hundreds are in Joplin for the two day convention, vendors set up booths to sell and trade, some say a radio could be the most important tool during severe weather. 

"Sometimes commercial equipment breaks down especially in storms and things like that, plus we have all kinds of radio equipment, and we can bring that to the scene and help out," said Vogel. 

 "We actually have communications with the weather bureau, and we go out as spotters during bad weather and if something happens then we move into the area to provide communication," said Bill Ecton. 

Many tell personal stories and say close calls make it more significant to keep a radio nearby. 

"It's one of those that it just barely misses you, I was outside spotting one day and the roof came off one of the neighbor's home," said Ecton.   

"Let's call it being a boy scout, being prepared is a good thing especially if you're in Oklahoma Kansas Missouri it's not like we haven't  heard of tornados before," said Vincent Hancock.  
 
Many enthusiast say it's a hobby, but one that saves lives. 

"When there's a need we try to help our community and go and provide communication," said Vogel. 

For more information about Ham Radio and the organization click here

 

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