During hurricanes, emergency officials turn to ham radio

Big Island ARRL News, 14 September 2017, 0540 hrs, UTC, Post #309.



Reporter:  Jon Santucci (The Stuart News–Florida).

Accessed on 14 September 2017, 0540 hrs, UTC.

Please click link to read the full story and to view the Hurricane Irma video.


Reporter Jon santucci of “The Stuart (Florida) News” has written an excellent article about the vital communications and information gathering roles played by Florida ham operators during the passing of Hurricane Irma.  “USA Today” picked up the story, reaching millions of readers worldwide.

Etta Lo Presti (KM4KTN), the emergency management coordinator for Indian River County, Florida, says all of the training and drills practiced by radio amateurs are paying off, now that normal communications have been cut and power outages continue:

“But when you have something catastrophic like they do in the Keys and in the west coast of Florida, where you’re not going to have communication, these amateur radio operators take care of things for us.”

“In Indian River County, Paul Bartoszewicz and Willie Thompson work 14-hour shifts during Hurricane Irma. They’re part of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) — a group of licensed radio operators who help with communication during storms.”

“They work in a small room off the main area inside Indian River County’s Emergency Operation Center.”

“Bartoszewicz, 66, and Thompson, 61, do hourly calls to fellow amateur radio operators at each of the shelters in Indian River County.”

Amateur radio operators throughout the Gulf Coast are doing their best to keep information flowing between first responders and emergency management officials.

Speaking of emergency communications, be sure to participate in the 2017 Simulated Emergcncy Test (SET) on Saturday, 21 October 2017, from 0800 to 1300 HST.  For more information, contact cerisanders@gmail.  Please pass the word along to your fellow radio amateurs.

In other Hawaii Amateur Radio news, don’t forget these upcoming events:

Hawaiian Islands Grid Madness 2017 set for Sunday, 17 September 2017, from 1300 to 1700 HST.  For more information on this VHF/UHF simplex contest, visit http://gridmadness.blogspot.com.

All licensed Hawaii Amateur Radio operators and their families are invited to Radio Day II on Saturday, 30 September 2017, at the “Great Organic Lava Farm”, otherwise known as GOLF or the Kapua Farm Lots Golf Course. For more information, contact Kim at wh6kim@gmail.com.

Please send your Hawaii Island Amateur Radio news items to kh6jrm@arrl.net at least two weeks prior to your event so I can notify our local print and broadcast media in a timely manner.

Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section