Interested In Ham Radio? (3)
From Daryl Stout
@618:250/1 to All
on Wed Jul 8 16:40:37 2020
WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
Be prepared...that's the motto of the Boy Scouts, but hams live by it
as well. No part of the world is immune to natural disasters, which
often strike with little or no warning. When disaster does strike,
public safety agencies are often overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of
it all. That's when hams can - and do - provide their greatest public
service. By taking over communication, they permit officials and relief agencies to concentrate on helping people in need and on keeping damage
Neither rain nor sleet...nor hail nor gloom of night are supposed to
stay the Postman from his appointed rounds. But when it comes to
delivering urgent messages in the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, even volcanos, communities across the nation and the world
turn to Amateur Radio.
* March 27, 1954: Alaska is struck by a monstrous earthquake. Normal communication lines are cut. Amateur Radio operators help coordinate
* November 23, 1980: A major quake devastates Southern Italy. For
thousands of Americans with friends or relatives in the quake area,
Amateur Radio is the only way to find out who's OK.
* May 18, 1980: Mt. St. Helens, the long-dormant volcano in Washington
State, erupts with a blast, spreading damage over hundreds of miles.
Hams are on hand to help with the crush of messages going into and out
of affected areas.
* September, 1981: Hurricanes Allen and David sweep through the
Caribbean, heading for the US coast. First damage reports from
battered islands come via ham radio, often a day or more before
normal communications are restored.
* September, 1985: An earthquake levels blocks of Mexico City, killing thousands. Amateurs keep families and friends around the world in
touch with the status of their loved ones.
* November, 1985: Nevado del Ruiz, a volcano in Colombia, begins to erupt. Contact with the town of Armero, in the direct path of the eruption,
is maintained through the Mayor, HK6HTC and many other hams in the area. Although over 25,000 lives are lost, the survivors are aided by the
Nation-wide Amateur VHF network.
* February, 1986: Amateurs on the West Coast are called into service as extensive flooding is experienced in all areas. Hams provide
communications between "Flood Watch" teams, rescue efforts and
* January, 1999: Arkansas has its worst tornado outbreak on record.
Amateur radio storm spotter reports provided extra lead time for
tornado warnings across the state.
* August, 2005: Hurricane Katrina, one of the strongest hurricanes
ever, struck Florida first, then the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ham Radio operators assisted in emergency communications before, during, and
after the storm.
AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY SERVICE
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service, ARES, provides training and
structure for coordinated response by Amateur Radio operators during
disasters and other emergencies. National in scope, ARES is organized
on local and county levels to provide help on whatever scale is needed.
Local ARES officials work closely with government emergency services
personnel and are often provided with special facilities in disaster
ARES is part of the American Radio Relay League which sponsors several "Simulated Emergency Tests" and "Preparedness Drills" on the air each
year. Field Day is an annual exercise in emergency preparedness. It's
also a lot of fun and provides many people their first contact with
Amateur Radio. The idea is to set up a station "in the field", get on
the air quickly and, if possible, without using commercial power. Then
comes the fun of trying to contact as many stations as possible in a
short period of time. Learning how to set up an emergency station "for
fun", makes it easier when it's "for real".
HAM RADIO IN SPACE
The date was November 30, 1983. The voice belonged to Dr. Owen Garriott,
NASA astronaut, Amateur Radio operator, as he called "CQ", ham radio
shorthand for "Calling Anybody". Over the next several days, several
thousand "anybodies" on Earth returned Garriott's calls. It was the
first time a ham had operated his radio in space. Only a few hundred
earthbound hams got through, but more than ten thousand others were able
to listen with simple equipment. The experience of sitting at home or
in their cars and hearing a voice directly from space, was excitement
In 1985, the success of the SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment)
Project prompted a strong commitment from NASA for future "Ham-in-Space" missions. SAREX is a two-way television picture exchange - Slow-scan TV -
from the shuttle to Earth. More than 7,600 school children participated
in the experiment. Thanks to Tony England, W0ORE, on board the Challenger, Slow-scan TV got the chance to show how valuable amateur radio can be to
the success of a mission. While Astronauts Garriott and England's
transmissions from space ushered in a new era in Amateur Radio history,
they were by no means the first Amateur Radio SIGNALS heard from space.
Hams haven't needed one of their own IN space to make use of it.
Who is Oscar? Well, OSCAR is more of a "what" than a "who". The
letters stand for Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio, and
actually refer to a series of ham radio satellites - relay stations in
space. The first OSCAR was launched back in 1951, just four years into
the Space Age. It was the first satelite that didn't belong to
Nearly 10,000 hams around the world have used the OSCAR satellites.
Many have won special awards for contacting hams in 100 or more
countries via satellite. OSCAR-1 was a fairly primitive satellite,
built by a group of hams fromCalifornia. OSCAR-10, launched in 1983,
was an international effort, built by hams from four continents,
coordinated by AMSAT, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. AMSAT is
a non-profit scientific organization based in Washington, DC. Its
primary goal is to further the use of space for ham radio
communication. It depends on member contributions to pay the cost of
such things as building satellites and getting them launched. It
receives no government funds. More information is available from AMSAT,
PO Box 27, Washington, DC 20044.
Keplerian Elements for various satellites are elsewhere in this door
from ARRL, AMSAT, and NASA.
* Synchronet * The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net
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