A Point Worth Noting
So often we hear sensational media stories about disasters, but then they fade away. That by no means indicates the troubles and recovery are over. Ask anyone who’s been through Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy. Hundreds of volunteers put in thousands of hours doing nitty gritty logistical tasks on the ground before recovery can begin in earnest.
The point is, for you and me, having a three day kit is barely a beginning. You may find yourself in a situation that calls for weeks of food and supplies. Or you may have to evacuate to a shelter or other temporary housing. Be as ready as you can be, and be as adaptable as you know how to be.
Joe the Ham Radio Operator
Joe became a ham radio operator in 2006 after retirement. A friend talked him into getting licensed. Within a couple of years, he had his Extra Class license, the highest of the three license classes. His experience with public service in the Civil Air Patrol spurred him to public service in ham radio.
Messages and Traffic
Messages can be passed on any part of the ham radio frequency spectrum. Joe’s service in Joplin was on 2 meters–frequencies between 144 and 148 MHz. That’s above the FM band on your radio.
Joe’s few days in Joplin weren’t adrenaline-pumping dramatic. He served as net control operator with SATERN, the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Net. He relayed messages related to the functions of canteens on wheels that supplied water, food and other supplies to people in need.
On the Ground
Volunteers came from several hours distance to help out. Joe himself drove about four hours. Joe says food and accommodations were good, too. The community was very supportive of the efforts done on their behalf.
Once you become a ham, get involved with a local club and any radio nets in your area. Listen, learn, and participate. And make new friends–like Joe.
Find Out More
For more info on resources Joe and I referred to, check out the following:
- Get an overview on the Joplin tornado from Wikipedia here.
- Info about SATERN can be found here.
- For info about ARRL, the ARES organization, traffic handling, and public service training as a ham radio operator, go here.
- Info on FEMA ICS training courses is here.
- Find other communications related links under Survival Communications in my Links of Interest page.
A bit of trivia for you. Joe ended our interview by saying “73.” That’s ham radio lingo for “best regards.” So 73 to you, my reader.