American Radio Relay League (ARRL) November 28, 2016
From the attacks on 9-11, to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and across the globe to the Tsunami’s in 2004 and 2011, amateur radio operators have served an important and vital role in almost all disasters. Even during times of war a Kuwaiti radio operator passed intelligence traffic to an operator in the United States who passed it to the government.
Why do they put themselves in danger at times for a hobby and one in which they do not get paid? Amateur radio operators are behind the scenes providing that critical communication service and they do it to help people they don’t know, to help their communities, their neighbors, their friends, and to assist first responders.
Amateur Radio, also knows as ham radio, is a popular hobby and service that brings people, electronics and communication together. People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.
Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies allocated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.
Amateur Radio operators come from all walks of life — doctors, students, kids, politicians, truck drivers, movie stars, missionaries and even your average neighbor next door. They are of all ages, sexes, income levels and nationalities. Whether through Morse Code on an old brass telegraph key, voice communication on a hand-held radio or computerized messages transmitted via satellite, all hams use radio to reach out to the world.
You can communicate from the top of a mountain, your home or behind the wheel of your car, all without relying on the Internet or a cell phone network. When all other forms of communications go down, you can communicate around the world if you have a 12-volt battery. You can take a radio wherever you go! In times of disaster, when regular communications channels fail, hams can swing into action assisting emergency communications efforts and working with public service agencies. You can communicate with other hams using your voice and a microphone, interface a radio with your computer or tablet to send data, text or images, or Morse code, which remains incredibly popular. You can even talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, talk to other hams through one of several satellites in space, or bounce signals off the moon and back to Earth!
Cell phone towers may be down or so saturated with other users that you can’t make a call. The Internet may be down, yes it does go down, but an amateur radio operator can send email through his/her radio across the world.
For instance, the Amateur Radio Service kept New York City agencies in touch with each other after their command center was destroyed during the 9/11 tragedy. Ham radio also came to the rescue during Hurricane Katrina, where all other communications failed, and the devastating flooding in Colorado in 2013. Amateur radio operators are there to back up the systems that have gone down.
If you are interested in doing a story on radio amateur operators in Hawaii, please contact me at 808-224-0344 or firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to assist you in getting the story you are looking for.
Here is an example of a story published in Texas with the local media in Beaumont, Texas.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuJHjc_c29Y