Several southwest Iowa Amateur or “Ham” Radio operators will offer the public a chance to meet and talk with those individuals during an event being held this weekend, near Grant. Rob Koppert, 911 Director for Cass County, along with Red Oak Police Chief Drue Powers, who is the emergency communications liaison for Montgomery County, will operate their amateur radio stations at Pilot Grove County Park on County Road H14 about 3 miles west of Grant, from 2:00pm today (Saturday), until sometime early Sunday morning, as part of the annual “Field Day” event.
The Field Day is the climax of the week long “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and backyards around the country. Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.
Over the past year, there have been many reports in the news, of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including in Creston, during a devastating tornado, the California and Colorado wildfires, winter storms, and other events world-wide. Amateur Radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. Often called “hams,” they provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station, all for free.
The public is invited to come to the local event this weekend, and learn more about what modern Amateur Radio can do. They can even help you get on the air. To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org.