Ham Radio's Helping Hand

"With telephones down and wireless service disrupted, at least one group of people did manage last week to use technology to come to the rescue of those in need," MSNBC notes. " Often unsung, amateur radio operators regularly assist in emergency situations. Hurricane Katrina was no exception."

For the past week, operators of amateur, or ham, radio have been instrumental in helping residents in the hardest hit areas, including saving stranded flood victims in Louisiana and Mississippi...When disaster strikes, ham networks spring into action. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service.In this disaster a number of ham emergency stations and networks have been involved in providing information about this disaster from WX4NHC, the amateur radio station at the National Hurricane Center to the Hurricane Watch Net, the Waterway Net, Skywarn and the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN).On Monday, Aug. 29, a call for help involving a combination of cell telephone calls and amateur radio led to the rescue of 15 people stranded by floodwaters on the roof of a house in New Orleans. Unable to get through an overloaded 911 system, one of those stranded called a relative in Baton Rouge. That person called another relative, who called the local American Red Cross.
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