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Today: Scattered showers and storms heading into the afternoon.
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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

HAM Radio Operators Are Key in Severe Weather SItuations

TROTWOOD -- The world's largest amateur radio gathering is back in the Miami Valley for another year.  Hamvention is celebrating its 63rd year, attracting HAM radio operators from around the world.  This year's convention features presentations on new software development, 3D printing and more.

The event has grown every year. This year's event at Hara Arena is expected to draw nearly 25,000 people from 42 countries and generate $6 million.

''It started off as a little thing for a couple hours and it has grown over the years to what it is a 2 1/2 day worldwide event.'', Louis Long, the Dayton SkyWarn Coordinator told us.

The timing of this years Hamvention is pretty ironic since a tornado ripped through Cedarville just two days before.

"There are so many ham radio operators and when you think about it, even when cell phone usage goes down because of catastrophes and crises, ham radio operators are very often the ones who are able to get through and communicate in emergency situations," said Jacquelyn Powell president and CEO of the Dayton Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"When all else fails radio is there," said Renaldo Leandro who visited all the way from Venezuela. "We can use solar power. We can use wind power. We can use battery in our car if something goes wrong you are always able to communicate."

When tornadoes touch down like the one we had in Cedarville on Wednesday.  Often times the National Weather Service depends on Ham sky warn spotters.

"We were very busy Wednesday night," said Louis Long of Dayton.

"HAM's are ears and eyes on the ground for the National Weather Service and they can see the stuff that the radar can't see," said Hamvention chairman Henry Ruminsky. "Typically there's enough of us around that someone is going to be fairly close to whatever it is it's happening. We've had some weird weather for Hamvention. This is the first time we've had a tornado so close. I think it just reminded everyone that HAMs play a vital part in keeping the public informed on what's going on with the weather."

"We had friends that were chasing the tornado as it was happening and then providing communication for the relief efforts immediately after," said Kevin Thornton, a licensed amateur radio operator from Arkansas who just dealt with their own EF4 tornado three weeks ago.

So While hamvention may be a lot of fun, it's also very necessary.

"I'm a weather junkie and a radio junkie," said Long. "I like the rush and I also like helping people."

"Amateur radio has the opportunity to communicate when other options aren't available," said Andy Holmes who is also from Arkansas. To communicate in those situations can ultimately save lives."

Hamvention will continue on at Hara Arena throughout the weekend.

Connect with ABC 22/FOX 45 Reporter Wale Aliyu on Facebook and Twitter.

 
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