Amateur radio is a great hobby that offers a huge range of opportunities for the hobbyist. When disaster strikes, many hams put their skills and equipment to use providing emergency communications (Emcom) to people and areas that have lost traditional communications systems. During hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis and other types of widespread disasters, phone lines and cell towers, as well as communications infrastructure are often severely damaged making them inoperable. Even traditional fire and law enforcement communications networks can be severely limited or totally inoperable.
Amateur radio operators with their portable equipment can quickly relocate to these areas and provide life-saving communications. This lifeline is not limited to those hams who are on-the-scene because they are backed by a large network of amateur radio operators with stations in their homes, offices and cars. Working together, critical information is quickly routed to people and agencies who can provide help when and where it is most needed.
Although the majority of emergency communications is voice, amateur radio operators also have the capability to transmit data over the airwaves without the need for an Internet connection. This data can be text and email messages, telemetry, photographs and even video of the disaster scene.
It is immensely rewarding when one’s hobby can be used to save lives and ease the suffering of people in need. Join TYARC and get your amateur radio operator license. Then take a free Emcom class and learn how you can become a key player in a critical disaster communications system.