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Ham radio operators showcase skills and emergency readiness

Ham radio operators set up equipment for 2015 Field Day.

Reflected in a layer of our atmosphere, frequencies are harnessed to communicate with amateur radio operators all around the world.

â??I've personally made contacts in Russia, several countries in Europe, Germany England France, Italy, a lot of South American counties,â?? said Paul Cartwright, Vice President of the Ottumwa Amateur Radio Club.

These harnessed electromagnetic waves are not dependent on cell towers or other traditional infrastructure.

So when everything "hits the fan" during a disaster, and communications are limited it's often amateur radio operators who save the day.

â??I know a lot of amateur radio has helped in the recent Nepal earthquake, during the hurricanes down south, Katrina, Amateur radio really helped get news in and out of the area,â?? Cartwright said.

Each June, ham's all across North America showcase their skills during "Amateur Radio Field Day"

Itâ??s a contest to communicate with as many ham operators in Canada and the United States as possible from their portable stations.

Whether it's outside of a pop-up camper or inside a cabin, emergency crews still rely on hams to get the word out.

â??When all else fails there is amateur radio,â?? Cartwright said.

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