Ottumwa Amateur Radio Club makes contact

At times the wind was blowing the rain sideways

Atop a slight hill, they established a communications village with a network of antennas, aerials, transmitters and six two-way radio stations that were set up in portable screen tents, while humming generators and batteries provided necessary electric power.

Ham radio operators say they will be busy through Saturday night and into Sunday afternoon communicating with other ham organizations throughout the country.

The event was held in Martinsburg, but there are hundreds across the nation. "From the quake and tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, ham radio provided the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events". "The ham guys on microphones can't do that".

"The commercial communications tend to fail during an acute disaster like that", Rocker said, "Ham radio will always work".

One member recalls a disaster when demonstrations like this one became reality. They will provide free books and information.

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Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events world-wide.

He's been able to make contacts as far as Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

"Hurricane Katrina was a big showcase for hams, many of whom traveled to the South in a volunteer effort to save lives and property", Christovich said. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.

"It's going really well", said club president Derek Hawk, "by about midnight we'd made a contact with every state in the USA, and we've made 575 total contacts so far".

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