The Lawrence County Amateur Radio Club gathered for a special occasion on Saturday. That is why Steve Das has been interested in ham radio for years.
"If you lost cell phone communication, if you lost the ability even to charge your cell phone and you wouldn't have communication, ham radio has a separate infrastructure that it can use to provide communications anywhere, anytime", he said.
On Saturday and Sunday amateur ham operators competed with just their radios by trying to make contact with as many other stations as possible.
"You contact them on the air, you exchange signal reports", said Rocker, "Then you get a confirmation".
It's that reason, that events like field day are important, so operators can hone their skills for those times when they need them most. Ottumwa's location code is waodx. I used it to learn about the coverage of our local repeater, but also to hear what the effects were when two local radios were both using the same repeater and high power at the same time.
"We've worked all the section in the U.S, and we're only missing five in Canada", said Michael Muldoon. "I got Hawaii around 2 a.m. but I was nodding pretty badly", said Muldoon. They have made contact with over 4000 other stations and took first and second place in its category in the last several years.
"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". "It's been enjoyable", said club member Ed Wright, "it's a good clean hobby and we all enjoy it or we wouldn't be here".