This weekend radio hobbyists nationwide will hold an event that’s half camp-out, but also a disaster drill that proves ham radio can still be a vital link, as it was after September eleventh. In New York and other places they used radios a lot because land lines were down. Bob Powers is an amateur radio operator in Boone who’ll take part in the “field days” beginning Saturday. It’s part emergency preparation, running with generators or other alternative power, and part contest, making contacts all over the world. The hams will start about noon Saturday, reaching and logging contacts at other field days in towns all over Iowa, and North America, for 24 hours.Powers says it seems like they often get stormy weather for the event, and sometimes they shut down for safety reasons. Despite the Internet and cell phones, Powers says amateur radio’s far from obsolete.You can send pictures back and forth by slow-scan TV, send voice or Morse code, or use your computer to send messages by ham radio around the world. And Powers says the emergency value of ham radio is proved daily in Iowa. Just last night they had a SkyWarn net activated, because the forecasters can see on radar but call up the hams to ask what it looks like there, and use that in putting out warnings.
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