CORY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Outside the Cory Volunteer Fire Department, several people spent much of Saturday stringing up wires and setting up an amateur radio station.

They were joined by groups from coast to coast, all over the country– and even all over the world.

It was all apart of “Winter Field Day,” where amateur radio users set up stations and test their communication. Kevin Berlen, a member of the Clay County Auxiliary Communications Group working in Cory, said it was an event he looks forward to each year.

“We try to talk to as many other stations that are in the same situation that we are,” he said. “There are stations all over the country set up for this event. The purpose is just to test emergency communications.”

Berlen said one of the best parts of the event is getting more comfortable with the process of setting up the radios– one that requires many steps. He said over the years, he’s talked to people all over the United States, and in every province in Canada, as well as other foreign countries.

He said one of his favorite memories was showing his 12 year-old-granddaughter.

“It’s always neat to be able to key the microphone, make the call and get a response back,” he said. “The first contacts we made when she sat down in front of the radio were to North Carolina, and Wyoming, and to see her face light up, it was really neat.”

Berlen said they usually host a similar event in the summer. He said the hobby has increased in popularity over the years.

“There are more than 700,000 [people] licensed in the U.S. right now. There has been a perception those numbers would be dwindling, and in fact, they are actually growing,” he said. “The hobby is going through a growth spurt.”