April 21, 2018

Ham radio operators test emergency communications

26 June 2017, 12:31 | Latoya Patrick

At times the wind was blowing the rain sideways

At times the wind was blowing the rain sideways

"Who ya' gonna call?"

Those interested in becoming a certified ham radio operator can visit the Rockford Amateur Radio Association page here.

"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.

For some it may be a hobby, but for others it is a way to bring people together and to communicate.

In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been Amateur Radio. "We're only missing a few section in Canada and they're not the heavily populated ones", said Hawk.

Club members set up make-shift antennas and brushed up on their Morse code to show that cell phones and computers only go so far in emergencies. "Ham radio is for making friends".

He said ham operators also can provide communications support for community organizations as his club does for the annual Marine Corps Marathon.

The group participated in American Radio Relay League Field Day. Operators must also give the number of radios at the station as well the power source for those radios.

Ed Berkowitz, with the Albemarle Amateur Radio Club, recalls the time when he lived in Oklahoma City and a tornado struck. They invite the public to come and see ham radio's new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.

Just like other radio operator, Ham operators are licensed with the Federal Communications.

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.

"The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communications", said Allen Pitts of the ARRL.

Amateur radio operator Mike Newland has a simple way to explain the attraction of ham radio in the age of smartphones and tablets.

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