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Attend Ham Radio University

A ham radio setup is used during The

A ham radio setup is used during The National Association for Amateur Radio Field Day in Benbrook, Texas, Saturday, June 24, 2006. Operators all over the world competed in this event by making as many contacts as possible in a 24 hour period. Photographer: Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg News. Credit: Bloomberg News Photo/

It's not your grandfather's ham radio get-together. At least that's what Diane Ortiz of Amityville says while pointing out the seemingly old-fashioned gadget still has practical use today.  “All those places where people need to communicate, but can’t use a cell phone, they use amateur radios,” says Ortiz, committee member for “That’s what they use at marathons and other big events.” 

This public service wrapped in a hobby is offering the novice and the nosy a chance to learn more from experts from across the country. “Ham Radio University is not a sale or a flea market,” Ortiz says. “There won’t be anything for sale. It will be engineers, electronics experts and others who will be there to share their knowledge and tell us the latest that is going on.”

Think you haven’t had need for or used the services of an amateur radio operator? They’re used for keeping track of the weather, by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Salvation Army and the Civil Air Patrol, to name a few.

“All those places where people need to communicate, but can’t use a telephone, you probably brushed up against an amateur radio operator,” Ortiz said. “Even if you don’t own or want to own a ham radio, you’ll still enjoy it. Amateur radio opens up the world, people you’d never have met if not for amateur radio.”

Ham Radio University is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 9 at Briarcliffe College-Bethpage, 1055 Stewart Ave., Bethpage,, 631-691-1801. Admission is $3.

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