YouTube Video referenced by this blog post (so you can see it bigger…)
And another YouTube Video from WPTV. Kudos! By the way to WPTV for highlighting Ham Radio.
* Just search for “Florida ham radio hurricane irene” like this:
and you will find many stories like this one with a video of a news report on it:
Florida ham radios buzzing about Irene’s east coast damage
* Alan Spicer’s note first: Ham Radio or Amateur Radio, very losely *like* CB Radio (CB Radio Frequencies – on 27 Mhz or 11 Meters were actually taken from Ham Radio “bands” many years ago by the FCC), has a huge amount of Frequency Space (some call “bandwidth” or “band width”) in many many frequency sections, strips, or “Bands” … the most popular being 2-Meters (VHF), and 70-Centimeters (UHF) as well as the long time popular “Short Wave” (H.F.) bands. On VHF and UHF quite elaborate “Repeater Tower” Systems mostly maintained by large groups or clubs are available in the tons (did I say a LOT of them are UP?) covering from individual cities or towns to multi-county wide area systems (example AC4XQ in South Florida – look it up! KI4GQO in South Florida – look it up! KA4EPS in multiple areas + wide areas in South Florida – look it up!) with Crystal Clear “no static at all FM” type of modulation – using Public Service quality Tower or Large Building Sites [some with multiple remote linked TX RX sites] with Professional Two Way Radio Repeater Systems … many with emergency power backup systems. This is the immediate “Local Area Network” type of systems – but many are also on Internet Linking Projects like IRLP, EchoLink, and Allstar Network (and more?) that link the Local Area to other Local Area systems Nationwide as well as around the World. You can be on the VOIP HURRICANE NET with only a computer and (with proper FCC licensing) talk in and out of other Radio Repeater Systems and Users all over with only a software installation. On H.F. Communications Single Side Band (S.S.B.) is mostly used – Marine Captains and such would be familiar with this from Marine M.F. and H.F. SSB Radiotelephone – and once you figure out how “Skip” long distance propagation works you find that several bands are “open” for long distance communications for large portions of the day and night. 20 meters was hopping all day during the hurricane followed by 40 meters at night, and even 75/80 meters into the late late night and early morning hours. Most hams can put up an H.F. Antenna using only lengths of wire (called a Dipole, and similar modifications from the basic Diple) in 15 minutes or less and be on the air on battery power with their radios [many small enough to be portable] and talking around their State, Up the entire East Coast for example, and around the world. Some hams use NVIS – look it up! for shorter area coverage say a metropolitan area or a state – with lower antennas. Others use wire antennas, often made themselves, as well as Yagi Beam Antennas – Rotators – and Towers – to get their signal out. Of course you have to worry about a storm like Irene damaging your own gear … but they are often lowered before a storm passes and raised back up afterwards … and hams can put up wire antennas on a moments notice like I mentioned before. So to make a short story long – hams stay informed! Hams are still relevant in emergency communications! – and hams are knowledgeable in communications which are an asset to their state and local communities. Think about that for a bit!
On to the story at hand…
Posted: 10:48 PM
Last Updated: 6 hours and 26 minutes ago
By: Dan Corcoran
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Ham radios have been around for more than a century and they have proven to be very reliable, even during the severe weather the eastern United States experienced during the last week.
Thousands of ham radio operators are active at any given time and there are more than a half million licensed by the Federal Communication Commission in the nation. Many of them were listening, and even helping, as Irene moved past Florida and up the east coast.
Mark Filla, who lives in Palm Beach County, is part of an often unrecognized network of licensed ham radio operators who can transmit important messages – word for word – when a natural disaster knocks the masses and emergency services into the dark.
“We go basically, what’s called ‘off the grid,’ and we basically communicate amongst each other,” he said. Filla has heard much chatter on the radiowaves concerning damage along the eastern part of the country. “The Carolinas up into Connecticut; all different areas of trees down, power lines down, power outages, hospitals with generators that failed to start,” he said.
Ham radio signals can remain intact even when cellular, landline phones and internet connections are interrupted. Messages from emergency officials can be passed along from one amateur radio operator to another.
Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/weather/hurricane/florida-ham-radios-buzzing-about-irene%27s-east-coast-damage#ixzz1WSZ5QcN5
73 (a Ham Radio short code greeting and best wishes) from KA4UDX, Alan Spicer … one of the crazy Ham Radio people
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom and WiFiYacht.net
communications @ marinetelecom.net