IWARN to host field day June 22 in Grundy County

Annual ham radio event open to the public


Communication is an essential part of our lives these days. Many of us have cell phones and some of them are smarter than we want them to be. We expect people to pick up or text back right away. What would we do if the towers just stopped working or the power went out? How could we communicate without telephones or computers?

There are a group of people in the area that are planning for just that contingency. Iowa Wireless Amateur Radio Network (IWARN) is a group of amateur radio operators or “hams” from Butler, Franklin, Hardin, Grundy, Marshall and Tama Counties (http://www.iowawarn.net/). The group meets the first Thursday of the month at the Grundy Center Library to plan for emergency communications and to talk to people with the same hobby. We come from all walks of life and have different skills to bring to the group.

Ham radio is a hobby to many people all over the world. In 1912, the United States government started licensing individuals to use select radio waves for communication. There are three levels of license which allow hams to communicate at different radio frequencies called technician, general and extra. To use a ham radio frequency in the United States, you must be licensed by the FCC. If you are interested in getting a license you can talk with the members of the group or visit www.arrl.org for more information.

Every summer, the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) holds its Field Day the fourth weekend in June. Field Day is the annual “shakedown run” for the ARRL’s National Field Organization to test and improve amateur-radio operator’s emergency communication skills and portable amateur radio stations. We set up a portable ham radio operation and attempt to make contact with as many other stations as possible in a 24 hour period. Field Day is also a way for hams to get together and have some fun. This is the perfect opportunity for us hams in rural counties to meet each other.

This year, Field Day will be from 1 p.m. June 22 until 1 p.m. on June 23. The public is invited to visit the site at The Mill (junction of Hwy 14 & Hwy 20). During this time, there will be stations on the air transmitting to other people all over the world, an information table with lots of great information about radio and even a kid’s activity for them to learn more about Morse Code.