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Amateur Radio Operators prepared to help during emergencies

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jun 26, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Connecting with over 700 amateur radio operators across the country during their annual field day Saturday and Sunday, those at the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society's annual field day say they are prepared for anything.

"When the power goes out, when mass or conventional communications such as landlines or cell towers go down or are congested, we can continue communicating with our radios," said Steve Welsh of the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society.

During times of emergency, regular people like Welsh can help emergency operators pinpoint areas that need help when regular communication, like cell phones, are unusable.

The way they communicate: generator power, a radio, and high-frequency antennas.

"We have a wire antenna strung up in between the trees, and that's what you would see during an actual emergency," said Bill Post who is also a member of the society.

The amateur radio society has partnerships across Florida, including the Red Cross, State Emergency Operations, and the Leon County Emergency Management Office, their radio operators are ready to volunteer during instances of severe weather, power outages, or other emergencies.

"They can staff a radio in the emergency operations center on the amateur circuit and maintain communications with the volunteers throughout the community and our neighboring counties to give us latest updates in the field," said Kevin Peters, Leon County Emergency Management Director.

Peters adds he appreciates the dedication amateur radio operators have towards helping their community.

"It's a huge aide for us in the emergency operation center to understand the situational impacts following a hurricane or other natural disaster," said Peters.

For Post, showing their communication abilities to the public is not only important, but also a good time.

"You have a lot of people that are just passionate about technology that are willing to spend time to learn, get licensed through the Federal Communications Commission and then actually put their learning and desire into practice," said Post.