Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

By Donna Westfall – September 23, 2017 –

If you think you’ve got problems, just look at what’s happening to Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria; a key dam northwest of San Juan is in danger of failing which would create a flash flood condition potentially killing thousands of people.  The electricity has been knocked out of most of the island which includes cell phone coverage. Communication systems are a wreck. Relief supplies of food and potable water are slow to come in and be distributed. In the main island of Puerto Rico (which is actually an archipelago), crumbling infrastructure was already a problem.  The crisis proportions of what’s happening there is off the scales.  All the while, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is flying in food, water, generators and temporary shelters.

Emergency operations along with families worried about their loved ones are getting help from Amateur Radio Operators.   As information comes in, “ham” operators are able to spread that information.

Meanwhile, a team of engineers is preparing to board a plane to Puerto Rico  from the American Public Power Association based in Arlington, Virginia. The will send out drones to assess the situation and work towards getting the power back on. But until that power is on, ham operators continue to help from areas inside as well as outside of Puerto Rico.

We have ham radio club here. The Del Norte Amateur Radio club is always looking for new members.  They can be found at: or on Facebook at the Del Norte Amateur Radio Club.​
One thought on “The importance of Amateur Radio Operators during emergencies”
  1. Thank you for reminding the people about Amatur Radio. I am currently studying to get my license and as soon as I do, i’ll be obtaining a radio for installation into whatever vehicle I have next. If I end up keeping my 4WD Rodeo, i’ll just finish converting this vehicle into a fully capable bug out vehicle with a 2-meter ham radio capable of internet connectivity. Many people don’t realize it, but some radios can communicate and protocols to internet-connected repeaters and stations for being able to send/receive email and access other information. It may be slow, but it works. I am not the type to wait around until disaster strikes. I prefer to be ready for anything. Mother nature has her bad days and anyone who thinks it’s not a big deal not to prepare are expendable fools.

    When the power, internet and cellular networks all go down, a stocked and ready 4WD with a nice ham radio just might be enough to get to safety or to aid in rescue. The trick isn’t just having those things, it’s being skilled in using these tools. Besides, Amature radio and off-roading is fun for a lot of people.

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