Radio is stepping up to promote amateur radio in times of disaster, explains Howard B. Price, CBCP, MBCI Dir., ABC News Business Continuity & Crisis Management and ham radio operator. The recent devastating tornadoes in the South are yet another reminder of how vulnerable our communities — and their communications systems — are. But when all else fails, amateur radio works.
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the non-profit national organization for amateur radio, has produced a :30 PSA to help recruit new amateur radio operators who can assist first responders and victims in times of crisis (Listen to it, above).
The spot was produced and is voiced by WABC Radio’s legendary Johnny Donovan, himself an amateur radio operator, and a member of BEARS, the Broadcast Employees Amateur Radio Society in NYC. BEARS is the ABC employee amateur radio group, of which Price is acting president, and home to NY’s W2ABC amateur radio repeater system.
Says Price: “We hams salute our professional radio colleagues and thank them for their ongoing support of our volunteer activities in the public interest. And we hope station owners and engineers will consider offering local hams tower space for repeater antennae, and other technical and logistical support, in furtherance of their public safety mission.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Ham radio is especially useful in a regional crisis or disaster, where detailed information can be sent across the country on what’s going on and where the help is needed most. As we’ve seen in the past, the government can only do so much to help. Ham radio can serve as a good backup for communications, aid government efforts, and recruit civilian aid to much-needed areas.